GREEN BAY – Like many players on Wisconsin’s roster, Vince Biegel identifies himself as a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, so it’ll be hard to view Saturday morning’s spring practice as just the sixth one of the season.
Instead of a morning workout at Camp Randall, Wisconsin will practice at the Don Hutson Center Saturday morning and get a tour of Lambeau Field and the Packers Hall of Fame.
“Some of these guys don’t even know what they’re about to experience here,” Biegel said. “I’m a born-and-bred Wisconsin guy. It’s always been my dream to go play at Lambeau Field. Even just to be around the facilities is going to be awesome.”
Of Wisconsin’s spring roster, the Badgers have 52 players hailing from in-state, most of whom will likely be in heaven during the two-hour practice (starting at 10 a.m.) that is closed to the public.
The Badgers open their season against LSU at Lambeau Field on Sept. 3 in the first major college football game at the historic venue. St. Norbert College has played three times in the stadium but not since 1983.
It will be the third straight season UW will open the season in a N.F.L. venue, opening 2014 against LSU at NRG Stadium in Houston and last season against Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. UW lost 28-24 to the Tigers and 35-17 to the Crimson Tide.
The Badgers also played their last two bowl games in N.F.L venues, winning the Outback Bowl over Auburn in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium and the Holiday Bowl last December over USC in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium.
UW typically doesn’t get an advanced tour of those venues prior to game day. By heading up Friday, Wisconsin will be able to get comfortable at the team hotel, dressing in the visitor’s locker room (LSU will use an auxiliary one) and get all the jitters out now.
“There’s no question that I believe it’s going to help us,” Biegel said. “Any player who goes into a new facility has the oohs and aahs. Last year going into Jerry Jones’ land, it was big lights, big stage and kind of a taken-back moment. Being able to go to Lambeau Field, we’re going to stay at the hotel we’re going to stay at for the game, we’re going to get comfortable with all the facilities, see what it’s going to be like on game day. That’s going to be an edge for us.”
The game promises to be a hot ticket for Wisconsin fans, as the cheapest ticket prices on Stubhub.com Thursday started at just over $400.