August weather, stadium wind baffling

Unseasonably cool temperatures have made their mark on fall camp; punters may need wind guide

Wisconsin in August is supposed to be a hot, humid place. This year, however, it has felt more like a series of cool autumn days than a hot summer month, putting a whole new spin on fall camp. Rare has been the day when a coat was not necessary on the windy fields at the Bishop O'Connor Center.

"I would have liked to have some warm weather," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "But there's nothing we can do. We just go practice with what we have…You know what, in September, we'll play in some very, very warm weather here, believe it or not. I thought we were supposed to have some 80s this week. We'll see."

Wisconsin's coaches may be cool to the lack of heat, but it likely suits the players just fine.

"I'm sure they like this better than 80s and 80 percent humidity," Alvarez said. "It is much more comfortable getting through a practice with this type of weather."

In Tucson, Ariz., home of the Arizona Wildcats, whom the Badgers will travel to face Sept. 18, the temperature has only dipped below 90 once this month and has surged above 100 on five days, according to the Weather Channel. In contrast, the warmest it has gotten during Wisconsin's fall camp was a high of 81 on Sunday, a day when the Badgers did not take to the practice field.

How's it gusting, coach?

With its closed-seating bowl and giant scoreboard, the improved Camp Randall Stadium should keep noise in significantly better than last season's edition. The renovated stadium, though, could play tricks on punters and kickers.

"I came down just before we started camp. I stood right here on the numbers and I walked out," Alvarez said. "The wind was at my back. A couple of seconds later it is in my face. The flags (on the goal posts) weren't moving and it was a pretty strong wind. If you notice today, the wind was strong but if you looked at the flags they were laying limp.

"I just told the punters. They need to come down and really see what it does up above, when you get the ball up, regardless of what's happening down here on the floor, with the wind, and see if there is a swirl. That's one thing we should do is get some type of a familiarity with the stadium."

Alvarez, though, does not want his punters or kickers fretting about the swirling wind. When asked whether the punters or kickers would be more affected, Alvarez assumed a sardonic guise.

"My favorite subject. We're going to get in depth in checking the wind for the kickers," Alvarez said facetiously. "I'm going to check it for them and get the velocity and direction and tell them where to aim and all that stuff…Better get that smoke (machine) out here and just follow the wind trail."

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