Badgers Looking To Make History

ORLANDO, Fla. — Wisconsin's players thought it would be funny to wear each other's uniform numbers at Thursday's practice, thereby confusing the assembled media and NFL scouts.

Defensive tackle Nick Hayden, for example, wore free safety Roderick Rogers' No. 22, even though the 311-pound Hayden outweighs Rodgers by 124 pounds.

"We were just being goofy," strong safety Joe Stellmacher said.

Badgers coach Bret Bielema went along with the merriment, but he turned serious after practice when he reminded his 11-1 team that it had a chance to be the first Wisconsin team to win 12 games in a season by beating Arkansas on Monday.

Hayden got the message.

"Twelve wins," he pondered. "It would be nice to go down in history."

Stellmacher, one of four seniors on the Wisconsin defensive unit, bought in, too.

"Getting our 12th win on Jan. 1 in my senior year — that would be a great way to go out," he said.

Toward that end, the Badgers had a typically thorough practice on a relatively dry Olympia High field, after which Bielema said, "I liked our team's attitude. We looked focused."

Bielema praised Arkansas tailbacks Darren McFadden and Felix Jones again this week, but at the same time put in a plug for Badgers freshman tailback P.J. Hill.

"P.J. is a guy who rises up in game situations," Bielema said about his 5-foot-11, 242-pounder. "He can scoot. He has great hands, too. Our first touchdown against Michigan was his (29-yard) reception."

Bielema added that he just needs to keep Hill away from Orlando's "all-you-can-eat" beef restaurants.

Wisconsin's first-year head coach was asked how he planned to combat 6-6 Hogs receiver Marcus Monk.

"We can't really double-team him because Arkansas' running game is so strong," Bielema said. "I was hoping Monk's height was inflated in the game program, but it's not. I saw him when he spoke at the FCA breakfast this week."

Bielema acknowledged the Big 10-SEC rivalry inherent in Monday's Capital One Bowl, saying, "I'm sure that will be quite the talk on all the talk shows."

But he reminded, "This is Wisconsin against Arkansas, two teams that proved they were better than people thought this year. The game should be a verification for both teams. Arkansas was a couple of plays away from being a BCS team, so for us, we're playing a BCS team."

The Badgers, who attended Wednesday night's Los Angeles Lakers-Orlando Magic game, took in the Universal Islands of Adventure on Thursday afternoon.

"We're doing all the same stuff as last year," Stellmacher said. "But I've enjoyed every minute of it."

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