One of the hardest weeks of Jeff Mack's college career was last Saturday. Instead of making the trip down to Bloomington, Ind., he made the few minute drive to his parents' home in Madison, where he watched the game on television.
Mack, who missed half of the 2001 season with a back injury, suffered a stinger against Penn State and was held back from last week's game. Mack said he's fighting to get back for this week's game, but he has not been cleared. There are some doubts about whether he will make it back against the Buckeyes.
"It's a safety issue," Mack said. "This is a tough injury to get past at my position. So we're going to have to wait and see if it's feeling better."
Mack's return would be a huge boost for a defense that had many breakdowns last week in the linebacking corps and secondary. Mack said everyone has tried to follow the coaching staff's advice to put the game behind them and keep the mood light at practice this week.
"It's an attitude change. It's what you have to do in tough situations like this," Mack said. "We lost two pretty close games. We let a big lead slip and we lost by three points to a pretty good Penn State team. Two losses by a total of six points. With those types of losses, you have to stay positive in each and every way possible.
"What we've tried to do is lighten the mood up. We have a lot of games left and we still have to win those games. We're just trying to stay positive and prepare hard for Ohio State."
Mack said the worst thing to do would be to let things spiral out of control as they did last year, which resulted in the Badgers staying home for the holidays.
"Everyone knows what happened before. History is a good teacher," Mack said. "Most of us were here for that last year, and we don't want that. So we have to do the opposite."
Jeff Mack Update
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