Badgers ready for needed break

Wisconsin football team has week off before playing Minnesota Nov. 6

It has been a long time since the Wisconsin football team got a break. With three games remaining in the regular season, eight straight wins under their belt and a No. 6 ranking in both national polls, the upcoming bye week is a much deserved reward for what the team has accomplished thus far.

"We're up here almost every day, all day it seems like," Wisconsin sophomore quarterback John Stocco said. "So, it's definitely nice to have a little time off when we can relax, and get our feet back under us and just get some rest."

The bye week also could not have come at a better time for the Badgers since multiple starters are nursing injuries. This week off will give senior defensive ends Erasmus James and Jonathan Welsh the chance to fully recover from ankle injuries they endured against Purdue. Both have been essential in Wisconsin's unstoppable defensive front. The Badgers are hopeful they will be ready to go against Minnesota in two weeks.

In addition, Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez said during Saturday's post-game press conference that tailback Anthony Davis is only at 80 percent. Alvarez commented that Davis suffered a bruised thigh against Purdue and is still trying to recover from that injury. Davis already sat out three-and-a-half games this season from an eye injury and the Badgers are hoping not to lose him anymore. Despite the emergence of Stocco and Wisconsin's receiving corps, Davis remains the cog that makes the Badgers' offense go.

The Badgers have also missed starting middle linebacker Reggie Cribbs the past two weeks. Senior right tackle Mike Lorenz has also been on the mend.

Whether they are injured or not, all of the Wisconsin players are looking forward to getting a little time off.

"I need this break a lot. I'm 206 [pounds] playing linebacker so I feel like this break came at a good time for me," junior Dontez Sanders said. "Mentally I'm fine but physically my body's a little tired right now but I get time off so that's good for me."

The bye week will give the players a time to recuperate for the final stretch of the season, but the weekend off does also happen to fall on Halloween weekend, which is one of the most celebrated weekends in Madison. The team will have the opportunity to enjoy the festivities but in the process they know that they have to continue to follow their 1-0 philosophy; even without a game.

"One and 0 off the field, in school work," Sanders said. "Just get the school work done, and don't get into any stupid trouble."

Some players have said they are planning on using the bye week as an opportunity to head home for the weekend. And despite the 8-0 start, the team's best since 1998, the Badgers are still striving for improvement.

"Offensively we have to continue working to improve in the passing game. I think you always have to continue to improve fundamentals. Defensively…I'd like to get everybody back healthy so we practice them all…We haven't done a very good job on kickoff returns," Alvarez said, when asked what he wants to improve upon during the bye week.

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