Sure, it is just San Jose State, but there is still plenty to be excited for come Saturday morning. Here are just a few of the ideas that crossed our mind at View From the Bleachers.
• Get on the James White bandwagon. Like, right now. Seriously, I'll wait as you climb aboard.
The electric running back wowed in fall camp, ripped off an 18-yard run on his first collegiate carry and finished second on the team in yards from scrimmage against UNLV last Saturday. He is the Real Deal — capital letters necessary. If you want to show off to your friends Saturday, predict a big play the first time you see White line up deep in the return game.
Running backs coach John Settle has already made the "Thunder and Lightning" comparison with John Clay and White, but it isn't just coach speak. There is a 60 lb. difference between the two, and the Badgers haven't had a back with White's skill set since Brian Calhoun. And with Clay still dealing with conditioning issues, White will have plenty of opportunities early to make an impact.
So hop on now. Thank me later.
• One game, a season does not make.
But with that giant caveat, it still remains a little concerning that against an overmatched UNLV team, Lance Kendricks finished the game catching just one of Scott Tolzien's 15 completions. Kendricks is a mismatch against any linebacker or safety. While being fully aware that offensive coordinator Paul Chryst did not want to expose too much of his future game plans, it still seems easy to take advantage of Kendricks skills for more then one five yard grab.
Last season Kendricks finished five games without making a significant statistical impact — including both losses to Ohio State and Iowa — had four games of only recording one catch and produced just two games of over 35 receiving yards. A flawed sample for sure, with Garrett Graham as the No. 1 tight end. But there is at least a little bit of worry that Kendricks doesn't have the mentality to dominate week in and week out.
• Bielema said Thursday he did not know if linebacker Chris Borland would play Saturday, as the sophomore linebacker could not practice all week with an injured shoulder.
This should be a very simple decision. Borland should not play. At all. Under any circumstances.
What is the point in risking further injury to one of your most valuable players against San Jose State?
Borland has already proven he is tough. He constructed a home-made shoulder brace last season to try and hide his injury from the coaching staff. You know he will try and get in the game in any way he can, even if that means stretching the truth about his pain come Saturday.
While this quality undoubtedly makes Borland the quality linebacker who won Big Ten Freshman of the Year, it also makes Bielema's decision easy when talking to Borland Saturday morning.
Sit this one out.
• Bielema caused a stir Monday — which he slowly backed away from as the week progressed — when he said right tackle Josh Oglesby needed to clean up some mental mistakes, or "their would be changes."
It didn't take long scanning message boards and comment sections on various media outlets to find fans with the opinion of "bust" and "Oglesby" in the same sentence.
Which leads to the question, would Oglesby be considered a failure if a five-star rating didn't come attached to his name? Look at the credentials: Entering his junior year, Oglesby played in 23 games on one of the top offensive lines in the country, for a school that routinely produces NFL offensive linemen. He has two more years ahead of him.
What part of that says bust?
• Finally, if you get bored during the blowout Saturday, focus in on fullback Ryan Groy for several plays in a row. Just enjoy the sight of the 307 lb. fullback clearing a hole . I know I will.