Donning shorts and shoulder pads for their second practice Monday afternoon, the Wisconsin Badger football team broke into scout teams and began preparing for its Sept. 4 opener against the Central Florida.
The trick is, no one really knows what to expect from UCF and its new head coach, George O'Leary, who took over at UCF after serving as the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator last year.
O'Leary was the head coach at Georgia Tech from 1995-2001. His offensive coordinator for four of those seasons, Ralph Friedgen, developed a successful offense predicated on the use of multiple formations to confuse defenses and keep them off balance with both the run and the pass. Friedgen has successfully brought that offense to Maryland, where he is entering his fourth season as head coach. Last season, Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien threw for 2,672 yards and 19 touchdowns against just six interceptions. The tandem of running backs Josh Allen and Bruce Perry led the rushing attack with more than 1,635 yards and 14 touchdowns combined.
"This is a tough preparation," Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez said. "We don't know what to expect. We're looking at old Georgia Tech film. We're looking at some Maryland film because we just feel like that might be the type of offense they run. We're studying Central Florida for personnel.
"The things that they did at Georgia Tech, when George was there, present a lot of problems. They were multiple on offense so there are a lot of adjustments that your defense has to make. We're probably going to have to squeeze things down. We'll review and prepare for so many things, the simpler the better. The important thing to me is we get our guys lined up and they understand responsibilities and they can play fast."
The Badgers dealt with a similar situation three years ago, when they faced a Virginia team coached by first-year head coach and former New York Jets coach Al Groh. The Badgers won that game 26-17.
"We were pretty close," Alvarez said of that preparation.
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