Notes: Mums the Word

Although No.9 Wisconsin has lost two coaches prior to the 98th Rose Bowl and will have to reconfigure the staff heading into next season, those coaches leaving and returning are making sure the focus this weekend stays on the field.

LOS ANGELS - As No.9 Wisconsin football team prepares for the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2 against No.6 Oregon, it's clear that the all the UW coaches want to keep the shifting among the coaching staff off the field away from the preparation as kickoff approaches three days from now.

Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst declined to talk about Bob Bostad coming with him to Pittsburgh, Joe Rudolph declined to talk about coaching the offensive line next year despite UW coach Bret Bielema announcing he would fill at least that role next season and linebacker coach Dave Huxtable was equally evasive, but told the Wisconsin State Journal that he is 100 percent returning next season.

Sources said Bielema could announce new positions and or new hires as soon as January 3.

When it comes to the Rose Bowl though, it's hard to find a guy that knows more about it than Rudolph. A two-time first-team All-Big Ten guard at Wisconsin in the early 1990s, Rudolph earned three letters (1992-94) and help the Badgers to the 1993 Big Ten title and 1994 Rose Bowl victory. Now he's making his third trip and second trip in as many years.

"The first thing you look at is how hard it is to get here," Rudolph said. "It's an amazing mountain you have to climb and it shouldn't be taken for granted. The opportunity to be here is something that's truly special. I think looking back, anytime you look at something where you have a great opportunity, you want to take advantage."

Chryst tried his best to stay out of the limelight of the massive media hoard, talking quietly in a chair in the far corner of the room, but said he's been all about Wisconsin since he landed back in Madison following his introductory press conference in Pittsburgh.

"It means a lot to finish this job," said Chryst. "It's unique and every story and situation is different. You are taking on a new job, but you have to finish the one you are currently in. It timed out well where you go out there, it energizes you and you come back wanting to finish this year out right."

Konz Plans to Start

After going through all the practice reps since arriving in Los Angeles Monday, All-American junior center Peter Konz, who missed the final three games with a dislocated ankle, is expecting to play.

"I am still pushing through a little bit of pain and the good thing is that it hasn't gotten any worse," Konz said. "My ankle actually is starting to loosen up as I do more. I am really happy with the progress. I didn't think I would be this far along.

"I am 100 percent in. I am ready to go. I expect to start and that's what I've been working for. I've been doing everything in practice, everything in film and I haven't taken one rep off. I've been pushing as hard as I can and doing treatments in between. I'm giving it my all."

As for the customary NFL question, Konz said, much like his recruiting process, he wants to keep all his options and make, ‘a smart, sound decision.' From the way he talked about loyalty, though, it seems like he's already leaning toward returning.

"This program has been great to me," said Konz. "So many great memories, great friends, the coaching staff has developed me so well … I don't know if I could have gone anywhere else and produced as well as I have so far.

"That's always been my goal (to be the best center in college football), especially being the best player I can be, and I think I can develop my game a whole lot more. That's the scary part."

Budmayr Confident

After suffering a setback with his right throwing elbow in early December, Jon Budmayr is still waiting for the right answers on another injury in an unfortunate sting of lines.

"It was feeling good and even in bowl prep I started doing some stuff, but that third or fourth practice of bowl prep I had a setback," said Budmayr. "It was different nerves, but kind of the same issue I was dealing with. Right now, I feel good. The symptoms have gone away, but we're going to do some more tests after the bowl game to make sure and pinpoint where the problem is."

Budmayr has suffered through a rash of injuries, including previous arm problems that shutdown his true freshman season. Budmayr was expected to compete with quarterback Russell Wilson leading into the season, but suffered nerve damage to his throwing elbow that required surgery to fix. Now, it's a different nerve in what is becoming a finicky right elbow.

"I want to get healthy and I know I can't play football if I am not healthy and a lot of things I can't do functionally if I don't get this figured out," Budmayr said. "That's my main concern right now. Once I can get healthy, I can start focusing on other things."

While the present concern is on his health, Budmayr has no worries about competing for the vacant starting quarterback position.

"It's not that big of concern for me because we have some of the best doctors here," said Budmayr. "With all the resources that are available to us, it's now just a matter of when before I get back to throwing the football and getting back to doing all the things I love doing."

Extra Points:After suffering a lower leg injury during bowl practices in Madison, senior linebacker Kevin Claxton has yet to practice in Los Angeles, per the orders of head coach Bret Bielema. Claxton plans to practice starting Friday. "It helps me out being a senior and knowing what to do. I have a lot of reps under my belt in bowl prep" … Compared to last year's week leading up to the game, Jared Abbrederis can see a stark difference in how Wisconsin is preparing. ‘The big thing I see different is we know what to expect with what the Rose Bowl has to offer. A lot of guys are staying in the hotel after practices to try and get their legs back" … After eating seven cuts of prime rib at Lawry's Beef Bowl last year, sophomore left guard Travis Frederick upped his personal record to eight Thursday. "We only had a certain amount of time to get in and get out. They were shutting it down as I was finishing my eighth. Otherwise I could have kept going. It's very disappointing."

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