Hague back for next challenge

Defensive back Mike Hague has had one injury after another throughout his career, whether major or minor. Although he suffered another injury against Boise State, the Cougar senior says he is ready for Wisconsin's physical offense.

Robertson Daniel holding down the field side of the defense has been very big for the Cougars this season, given the attrition the secondary has suffered. Having Daniel (or "RD" as he is now known as among his teammates) stay healthy and compete at a high level has had a positive ripple affect among the team.

"It's huge," Mike Hague said. "I mean, if you look at it if we don't have him, with my health issues and Skye [PoVey] pouncing around, it adds depth. It helps us get better at each position because then it allows me to train at three or four positions, and so, I mean, it's a huge deal. For him to stay healthy is huge, and he's done an absolute great job all year, so I couldn't be more proud of him. He's doing well."

Throughout Hague's career as a hard-nosed defensive back, he's suffered concussions, shoulder injuries, an IT Band injury, and now a new nagging injury has surfaced.

"I got some foot things going on right now that [are] just old-man issues," said Hague with a laugh. "I'm playing a young man's sport."

Daniel should probably be given more credit for the challenges that he's overcome. As for Hague, he suffered a slight injury during the Boise State game nearly two weeks ago. This week in preparation for Wisconsin, Hague has improved drastically and should be ready to go.

"I've just been banged up but I've taken the necessary precautions this week and I thought if I got a really good practice in today [Wednesday] it would really help me," said Hague. "I went out today and felt 100 percent, which I was not expecting to, but I felt really good. So, to answer your questions, yes I'm going to be ready to go and I'll be healthy. Unless something crazy happens."

"I hope he does, no, I'm planning on him playing right now," said Coach Howell. "We need him to play. His head's okay and he has a few things lingering still, but he should be ready to go. I'm planning on him playing right now. He practiced good today."

BYU's secondary will need Hague for his coverage and run-stopping abilities. Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis is expected to return against BYU after suffering a rib injury the previous week against Iowa.

"You know, I think Jared Abbrederis … is a good player," said Hauge. "I expect him to be a target, and then I expect them to be Wisconsin. Just like when I said Boise [State], I expected Boise to be Boise and they were Boise that game. I expect Wisconsin to be Wisconsin and a physical game. It's going to be a hectic environment and it's going to be fun, so when I go out there it's going to be exactly what I expected."

As the primary receiving threat for the Badger offense, Abbrederis plays both sides of the field at the x- and z-receiver positions. He's often moved inside to the slot position.

"He does everything," Hague said. "He lines up at the field and at the boundary. Then he'll also line up at in the slot too and run a lot of under routes. He's one of those hybrids that can do anything.

"I think he spreads the field out when he can. Just as far as their downhill running game, they run play action off of it and that kind of stuff. That adds a whole new dimension, and he's a really good blocker. Their tight ends are really good blockers and really good football players."

Responsible for getting Abbrederis the ball will be 6-foot-5-inch, 225-pound sophomore quarterback Joel Stave. While Wisconsin might be primarily known as a ground-and-pound rushing team, Hague has seen on film that Stave has the ability to distribute the ball.

"Yeah, he can throw the rock, you know?" Hague said. "I think one thing they bank on their quarterback being able to do is … we always joke that these big play-action teams' quarterbacks are javelin throwers because they run the football and then they set up the play-action pass and then chuck it. The quarterback definitely has a good arm. I haven't seen him underthrow many people."

So, BYU fans can expect Hague to be out on the field and ready to play come time for kickoff at Camp Randell Stadium. He isn't worried about the bye week layoff. When he steps out onto the field, any lingering pain will quickly vanish.

"Yeah, truly I don't feel it, honestly, when I step out onto the field," Hague said. "The biggest thing is just practice, making it through practice, but you also know that you need to get the reps. If I don't get the reps then I won't be game-ready. That's why I need the reps. If I can make it to game day then it's a whole different story once the blood gets flowing. I'll feel it Sunday morning, but Monday I'll be ready to go again, so it's the way it goes. I don't think about my body when I'm playing football because if I did I wouldn't be a effective as I am."

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