Teams across the country have been working to adapt to new rules, and particularly the differences in clock management. With the game clock and play clock starting when the officials have the ball placed following a kick or punt, coaches and players have been troubled in having their units ready.
At times in Saturday's victory over Western Illinois, Wisconsin showed that it is still learning to be prepared for the new situations. Most notably, the Badgers took a delay of game penalty following a turnover-on-downs late in the fourth quarter.
"We need … to have a better understanding of what is going on," head coach Bret Bielema said. "It's a lot to do with the mechanics of how the clock is going to be started on a change of possession. There's a little bit of inconsistency as far as when that thing is actually starting to roll and the communication to us.
"We can't have that happen in Big Ten play."
Starting quarterback John Stocco seems to be adapting fairly well to the new rules, but he is not a fan of the change.
"It's tough. I don't like it personally, but it's something we can't control," Stocco said.
One way that the Badgers are combating difficulties with the change is huddling on the sideline at the beginning of the drive rather than huddling on the field. However, they did just that when Tyler Donovan was under center for the penalty in the fourth quarter.
The play clock was already down to the five-second mark before Wisconsin even got to the line of scrimmage.
"It's just weird," Stocco said. "Maybe I'm just not used to it. As an offensive guy, it limits the amounts of plays in the game, but it's something we just can't control."
Injury limits Cooper's playing time
Junior defensive end Jamal Cooper saw limited action in Saturday's win over the Leathernecks. Joe Monty and Matt Shaughnessy started at the end positions and Cooper did not register any defensive statistics in the victory.
He came out of the lockerroom after halftime with a jacket and spent the rest of the day on the sidelines.
"He had an injury that he aggravated during the course of the week," Bielema said. "I know Coop's cleared to play and he can go ahead and do that, but if he re-aggravated it in any way, I wanted to just go ahead and sit him unless we absolutely needed him."
Don't call me rookie
Bielema said after the game that there were a few instances—particularly the inadvertent whistle which negated a fumble recovery on a Badger punt—where the game's officials were not particularly clear in their explanations of the situation.
"Nobody knew the answer," Bielema said. "I was very emphatic with the officials during the coach of the game. I know I'm a rookie coach and everyone else in that stadium knows it … but I don't want to be treated like a rookie coach."