Bielema Likes When True Freshman Provide

Wisconsin head coach addresses more injuries, another player leaving the program, the progression of Jake Byrne and Jake Current and whether nights games are coming to Camp Randall.

Full Transcript:

Bret Bielema: I wanted to try and move the practices from this morning to this evening just to get better spirit and I think that's definitely been accomplished today. This has probably been one of our better tempo practices from the start to where we are right now, just the way guys are flying around and being active. So, I think that's a positive move. We'll probably stay with this format for the rest of spring ball.

Have you gotten any updates about the latest guys who have fallen today (Niles Brinkley, Mario Goins, Josh Nettles and O'Brien Schofield)?

Bret Bielema: I guess to address the four (hour rule for the media not to report anything until four hours after practice) … don't comment until we comment again. You can say they were injured but not to the severity.

At some point, do you have to consider doing something with the spring game if you keep losing bodies like this?

Bret Bielema: Well, if we don't have a two-deep…but actually, one of the benefits of - Mario and Nettles have been playing their best at corner while Prince Moody hasn't gotten very many reps since he's been in the program. He's had a pretty good spring, but he hasn't been into the corner depth so now he gets his opportunity. It's just another chance for a guy to get onto the field.

We (reporters in attendance) nominated Josh Neal for MVP of the spring with all the positions he's been playing (Bielema laughing). Really though, he's a guy that might not play many reps but he's helping you get through the spring.

Bret Bielema: He's getting us through spring and he's got a great personality. If there's anybody all the defensive guys, I think, rallies and cheers around, its Josh, just because he's been able to do a lot of different things for us.

Bret, what's wrong with Daven Jones?

Bret Bielema: Daven; we haven't got lab results back yet, but he might have strep (throat) or mono (mononucleosis) or something. Nothing serious, he just started swelling up and sickness.

Bret, what have you liked about Jake Current so far?

Bret Bielema: The way he finishes. You know, he got in a couple skirmishes on Saturday just because if he gets a hold of you, he just keeps (going) until the whistle blows, he doesn't stop. I think that's the one thing we noticed right away on film in high school, he plays extremely hard. Because of his size, he doesn't have great height or great size, but the more he plays with a motor, the better he'll be.

Has he surprised you at all with his ability to step in here and compete like he has?

Bret Bielema: Well, he has. He's been in the two-deep just by sheer numbers. The thing that's surprised me about the three freshmen coming in is the way they've all worked it. They haven't been shell-shocked at all by anything. It was kind of interesting, we had a recruit in, another player that we were recruiting at another school enrolled at the semester like they did and they talked about how overwhelming it's been for them, and I don't think our three kids have backed down one bit.

Physically, (Jake) Byrne looks the part already.

Bret Bielema: Jake Byrne, yeah, he does. It's the first day he's played without the club. He's been catching the ball pretty well and we didn't know if we wanted to take it off of him. But he's been competing. Again, there's another guy because of injuries to Garrett (Graham) and Travis (Beckum), it's been tremendous for him to get those reps.

There's so much depth at running back, do you see yourself utilizing Lance Smith differently this season?

Bret Bielema: I'd put him at d-end. Nah I am just kidding. Lance, he's got to become more consistent at everything he does. He shows flashes. He does some things and has a nice run, but then puts the ball on the ground. So, there are certain things that we just have got to be able to understand and be consistent.

Is Evan Millard out there today?

Bret Bielema: No, Evan's not out there today. Evan came in and, you know, he's basically a walk-on from Florida, and due to personal matters right now, he's taking some time away. I wish him the best but it's just unfortunate. Sometimes it just doesn't always end up the way you want it to. He's given us everything he could, but unfortunately was not going to be able to finish for us.

How would you even ask that question? Are you tracking Evan Millard?

He's been actually getting a lot of snaps …

We've seen a lot of the spread this spring in practice. Is that a look we're going to see at all this season?

Bret Bielema: Again, we're doing it mainly to help our defense but if there's certain things we can do offensively that fit into out system and you know, a couple of our quarterbacks have that background in them. More so than we've had in the past. John Stocco, if we ran the spread with him, that probably wouldn't be a good coaching decision. T.D. (Tyler Donovan) could do some certain things and that's what we try to do with him. We had quarterback draws and different things in last year, as well with some of our quarterbacks this year, obviously.

Can you confirm if the OSU and Penn State games are going to be night games?

Bret Bielema: I can't confirm. It will be an official release from our athletic communications as soon as everything. I know we've had some preliminary talks, but I haven't got any official word that has come across my desk.

Is that something you push for?

Bret Bielema: Any time we can have a night game at Camp Randall is something that can be a positive. Fortunately, I think the networks have agreed with us in the past. The way the rules are, basically if there's a request by ESPN, ABC, CBS, whatever it is, if they come to terms and make a decision this early, no school can deny it, but after—like a couple years ago when we were going out to Penn State when some things were starting to happen—the school can refuse one way or the other.

What basically happens is that if it's going to be a home game, they accept and the other team declines. But at this time, they'll set out a certain number of night games and there's nothing anybody can do about it.

Have you been happy with the progression of John Moffitt?

Bret Bielema: Very excited. Even going back to what we saw out of him in bowl practice and, you know, the addition of the shotgun. Quite honestly, one of the reasons we didn't do shotgun last year was because it really didn't fit what we were able to do from a snap standpoint. This year, John's really been concentrating on that during the off-season with the quarterbacks and it's something we'll be able to bring to the game.

Badger Nation Top Stories