Notes: Good Vibes in Orlando

While Wisconsin has had more bowl failures than successes since its last BCS bowl triumph, the Badgers have always fared well in Orlando, including a perfect 2-0 record against top 15 SEC opponents in the Capital One Bowl.

ORLANDO, Fla. - While Wisconsin's three straight Rose Bowl defeats have been tough to swallow, it has followed a frustrating trend for Badgers fans, players and the program. Since win Wisconsin's 17-9 triumph over Stanford in the 2000 Rose Bowl, Wisconsin is 5-7 in bowl games.

If there is a silver lining, the Badgers can take solace in the fact that three of those five wins have come in Orlando, including winning the 2006 and '07 Capital One Bowl against a pair of talented SEC teams (Auburn and Arkansas, respectively). Both those teams were top15 opponents, just like Wisconsin's opponent Wednesday in No.8 South Carolina.

After experiencing defeat the last three seasons, senior tailback James White, and the rest of the seniors, would like nothing more than to get a victory to close out their college careers.

"It's tough," White said. "You definitely want to send the seniors out on a high note. I haven't won a bowl game so I'm anxious to get out there and get a win. It motivates me a lot, and I know it motivates those guys (other seniors) as well. With a new coaching staff, we definitely want to get Coach Andersen a bowl win in his first year. It's a lot of fun coming down here for a bowl game, but at the same time it's a business trip."

Unlike the last three years, the Badgers haven't had the distraction during their bowl preparation of an assistant coach leaving for a different job. Entering the final days of practice and preparation, Wisconsin will be able to block out the distractions of trips to theme parks and shopping sprees that have become daily rituals of their trip.

"You just have to stay focused," White said. "A lot of guys here have a lot of big things ahead of them and some dreams to capture but right now you have to focus in on this week. We have one week left, a couple days left and you have to stay locked in and prepare the right way."

After a 31 day layoff between the regular season finale and the bowl game, Wisconsin has spaced practices out and put players through shorter, up-tempo practices to get players' legs fresh while accomplishing their objectives.

"I think the kids are mentally sharp," said Wisconsin running back coach Thomas Hammock. "We've got some good practice time for our developmental guys that we expect to contribute next year. But we try to get them in and get them out (of practice)."

Eyes on the Running Game

White, along with sophomore tailback Melvin Gordon, has become a key part of South Carolina's defensive game plan. Wisconsin ranks eighth nationally in rushing at 283.0 yards per game and is the lone team in the FBS to boast multiple running backs averaging at least 100.0 yards per game in Gordon (122.2) and White (111.4). Opposing teams have found success on the ground against South Carolina by averaging 142.2 yards a game.

Deke Adams, South Carolina's defensive line coach, is getting his line ready for an aggressive game against Wisconsin.

"We've got to be physical up front," Adams said. "We've got to play hard. We've got to play fast. We've got to win the line of scrimmage. (Wisconsin is) big up front. They're physical. We know they love to run the football and that's going to be a challenge for us. We've got to line up and play well. We want to be aggressive as possible like always."

Adams also sees similarities between Wisconsin's offensive line and when the Gamecocks faced against Arkansas during the season, not a surprise considering the amount of former UW coaches on the Razorbacks' staff.

Defense looking for a bounce-back performance

The Badgers showed early in the season that they had no problem adjusting to new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's 3-4 defense, but the wheels fell off during Wisconsin's 31-24 loss to Penn State in the regular season finale. With a lack of pass rush, true freshman Christian Hackenberg picked apart the Badgers' defense.

Michael Caputo, who missed the Penn State game due to a concussion, said it was a good learning experience for the Badgers' defense.

"It's one of those where you learn from it and you move on," Caputo said. "I'm not dwelling on it. I'm not standing here harping on it. It's one of those things where you look at it and say, 'I know I can do this better, do this better, do this better.' You learn from it and move on."

Senior safety Dezmen Southward is confident that with a month off, it has allowed the Badgers to become fresh and refocused.

"We've been preparing for a month," Southward said. "You don't need to come out here and practice for three hours. If you're not understanding and getting better at this point, it's probably not going to happen. We have the game plan. It's about getting us fresh -- getting our legs ready, getting our minds ready -- to go out and play a four-quarter game."

Even with Wisconsin coming off of a frustrating home loss, the Badgers haven't had a change in attitude in preparing for its bowl challenge.

"Nothing really changed," Caputo said. "Our demeanor didn't change other than we're a little angrier and a little hungrier to get back out there. After the announcement came out that we were going to play South Carolina, we zoned in and got right into the playbook and watching film."


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