Notes: Examining the Schedule

After taking three days to prepare for No.3 TCU in the 97th Rose Bowl, No.4 Wisconsin takes a break from the practice field to focus on a big week in the classroom.

MADISON – As if preparing for No.3 TCU wasn't hard enough, senior All-American lineman John Moffitt has two papers he needs to complete.

Senior Lance Kendricks has to put the finishing touches on a project, freshman linebacker Marcus Trotter has two more hurdles to clear and freshman receiver Marquis Mason has three exams, but is nervous about his Theatre 120 final in which he has to remember what certain plays are about.

Shouldn't be too hard for any member of No.4 Wisconsin to remember plays, but it's a different animal having to balance the preparation for a BCS bowl and the stress-related week of finals.

"Coach hit on it (Tuesday), that when you are off the field, handle your business and when you are on field, just come ready to do what we do," Kendricks said. "It's certainly tough to balance the two if you aren't prepared for it.

With exams starting Friday, the Wisconsin coaching staff is giving the players off Thursday through Saturday and having 90-minute workouts Sunday, Monday and Wednesday with an off day Tuesday.

"We've already mapped it out," UW Coach Bret Bielema said. "We're going to practice three times, four times with the developmental practice during that seven day window. We'll make all our kids fill out a form so that we can try to take the least interference as possible."

Even with finals looming, Bielema hasn't seen a slip up of focus or attention to detail, citing that some of the developmental practices have been incredibly positive with high intensity.

"They're able to snap into that mode," Bielema said. "We definitely encourage and remind them about some things, but I think that's where our senior leadership is really going to come through."

Doeren's Balancing Act

Two days after officially be announced as the new Head Coach at Northern Illinois, Wisconsin defensive coordinator admits his schedule is as busy as busy comes.

"There's not a lot of sleep going on right now," he said with a chuckle.

In addition to preparing a game plan for the Badgers' defense to corral the Horned Frogs high-scoring offense, Doeren spends his nights calling Northern Illinois commitments and mapping out the direction he wants his new program to head.

The good news is that Doeren hasn't had to travel through airports and make long road trips to speak to UW commits, as he's handed that role off to other assistants.

"Normally, (it) would be hectic, because I would be recruiting for here and balancing the bowl and traveling," Doeren said. "Now, I'm not traveling (for recruiting). I've kind of replaced some of my normal duties with other duties (for NIU). It's just a matter of being organized and balancing it."

It only seemed a matter of time before Doeren, who was hired by Bielema as his co-defensive coordinator for his first staff in 2006, would get a head job. He had turned down an opportunity previous at Montana, where he coached the secondary for two seasons, and interviewed this year at Indiana and Vanderbilt.

"It was the right fit for me and my family," Doeren said. "It's a great opportunity with a program that has a tradition of winning. There were a lot of things that made it right."

A Calendar Gift

If the Rose Bowl couldn't get any better for Bielema, the fact that it's being played on Saturday is perfect for the head coach that loves to stick to his routine.

During the season, Wisconsin has a light practice Sunday followed by an off day Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday are physical practices with Thursday and Friday serving as lighter, walkthrough practices for its Saturday game.

With its bowl game being played on different days in past years, Wisconsin has had to alter its preparation schedule. That's not the case this season, a huge benefit according to Bielema.

"When we're going through bowl prep and it's not on a Saturday I always say I know it's Tuesday, but it's like a Wednesday," Bielema said. "So we don't have to go through that whole speech. I think our guys will lock in. Tomorrow is Tuesday and Wednesday practice."

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