Coaches Address Fall Camp Changes

With the NCAA-mandated changes to fall camp this year, eliminating freshmen-only practices and forbidding consecutive days with two practice sessions, the Badger coaching staff has met and decided on how it will handle those challenges.

Earlier this summer, Coach Barry Alvarez met with many fellow Division I head football coaches in Phoenix, attempting to tackle an NCAA-mandated change that he's not in favor of.

This year, programs are not allowed to hold freshmen-only practices, which have been a staple of Wisconsin's fall camp every year. The four freshmen-only sessions before the varsity reports were considered vital to the early adjustment of the incoming freshmen to college football.

"I think it was a mistake to eliminate that, but we have to live with the rule," Alvarez said."

As a result, Alvarez said the staff has decided on a contingency plan to minimize the damage the rule will have on its plans.

"We're going to take our freshmen out early the first day, probably a half an hour, and walk them through the entire practice by themselves so they have some familiarity," Alvarez said. "When the varsity comes in, it won't be like ambushing them. They will have an idea what's expected, and hopefully that will suffice."

With further limitations on the number of practices a team can hold in a certain time period, the format of Wisconsin's fall camp in August will look different than in previous years.

"In Phoenix, we primarily talked about how we're going to implement the changes in practice days. During two-a-days now, you never go two consecutive days with two-a-days. Now it's two (daily practices), one (daily practice), two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one."

Offensive Coordinator Brian White said of the changes pertaining to freshmen-only sessions, there isn't much the staff can do to circumvent the problem.

"Just by the dynamics of the rules, you really can't (get around it), so we won't," White said. "We'll just have to coach them like we always coach them, and get them involved. The structure of our practices are designed to give a lot of reps to freshmen. And the ones that surface, we'll get ready, and the ones that need more time, we'll redshirt."

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