Bielema Institutes Negative Reinforcement

Instituting punishment for sloppy plays, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema demands perfection from his players, which is why Bielema talked to media about the benefits of putting his players through the ordeal.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema -

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Bret Bielema: We got a couple of guys back. O'Brien Schofield came back. You can see he's got the big club on. Nick Toon and Blake Sorensen went through individual but Nick still isn't really to go full go, but we got Blake and OB back so that helps us in our depth.

It feels good to get out in Camp Randall. It's a little blistery but it's good to be out here. Good energy from the kids.

Have you liked what O'Brien has done with the club?

Bret Bielema: Yeah. It's kind of tough because he can't do certain things like block protection but for him to tough it up. I know it's still a little painful. Anytime you have a broken bone and it gets hit, you still feel it. My hat goes off to him. He wanted to get out here on Saturday but I knew he'd be out here today.

What happened to Kyle Jefferson?

Bret Bielema: Last night, typical spring, he was running down the hall, I don't know why he was running down the hallway, and ran into a concrete thing that was out from the wall and just gashed his leg wide open. I think he had six or seven stitches but nothing structurally. He can't go until he gets those stitches out so we probably won't have him for the rest of spring.

You haven't had many chances to get outside, how have the quarterbacks handled tonight's practice?

Bret Bielema: I was excited just because of the way we started. I thought Allan was really throwing the ball pretty good and the receivers adjusted well. There is a significant wind out here so I thought it was a pretty good job of adjustment. The center exchange issues were rough because it was a little bit cooler. It's a nice fall night out here right now.

Are you any closer to knowing what you have with each of these guys right now?

Bret Bielema: Obviously Saturday, Allan in particular, played fairly well and some guys did some certain things. Scott Tolzien continued to come along. As far as a definite being able to say this is our guy, I don't think we'll be there by the end of spring ball. I think they have definitely made progress.

How is Travis Beckum's status?

Bret Bielema: Travis and all those guys met with the doctors today and everybody is moving forward pretty good. Travis in particular, his surgery wasn't as extensive as Garrett (Graham's) so we should get him back a little soon. But he's doing pretty well.

Are you worried about Allan and the hamstring for the spring game?

Bret Bielema: He's always got it. He's a guy that wants to think about it, get enough training room hours, gets in and does what he's supposed to do. Not right now but if there was something that changed during practice or if he gets soar, it shouldn't be an issue.

Did you get a sense that John Clay is feeling more and more comfortable?

Bret Bielema: I think he is feeling that he knows things better. Checks at the line of scrimmage, even Coach Chryst changed the play I believe and Coach Settle didn't know it and (John) was right and he felt pretty good about himself because he was right in that situation As he gets more and more comfortable, what really hurt him was we had good gains with him and then that concussion during the bowl game, he missed really three weeks of preparation which was like another spring ball.

Are you looking at any specific players for Saturday's game or competitions at all

Bret Bielema: Well, we've had great competition at positions on defense in particular. Especially when the corners know that Aaron and Allen come back in the fall, they want playing time. At the safety position, Jay Valai and Aubrey (Pleasant) have been battling out pretty good. At the mike linebacker, Culmer (St. Jean) was making some progress, Elijah stepped forward a little bit more on Saturday and they have a good battle going on there.

Offensively, I really think we have solidified the core of our formation. Those wide receivers, Maurice Moore continues to make strides. It's going to be interesting to see how those kids handle the game situation.

You've talked about young backs like Clay always want to bounce it outside. Is that a tough habit to break sometimes with young guys?

Bret Bielema: Again it's like we said early, he's understanding what we want. In certain plays, you've got to press the line of scrimmage to make the play work. If you're looking to bounce it right away, you can't set up the right reads. A lot of times backs in particular have to learn what the play is suppose to do and they get better at running that play. Like P.J. has gotten so much better in spring. It's his third spring and same coaching points and where the track is and where their feet need to be.

Have you liked how Gabe Carimi has continued the momentum he had from last year?

Bret Bielema: Gabe has made progress. He's made progress but the guy that I have been really impressed with his Andy Kemp. Just from the standpoint he's doing a great job of mentally handling his football but he's trying to give us a little bit more in leadership. He's a guy that I've seen make a really big jump.

Do you guys talk about teaching, opportunities, lessons? When you talk to Otis today and see him not finishing plays, what are you trying to reinforce?

Bret Bielema: You know, Otis has got a lot of gifted talent just because of the way he was made. He's had a tendency to slack off at the end of plays. He was on a man route there, he got picked and basically just gave up on the play. I said ‘Hey next year when we're playing Michigan, you get picked, you can't give up in front of 80,000 people. If you're going to do that, you're not going to do it on this field.' So I said jog two laps and get back in there.

He's a guy that we're hopefully he's going to get something but he's going to need to take a step forward. There's two things on the football field, Dave (Doeren) made a great point, no one can take anything away from your effort and your attitude. That one right there is something we can control.

Making him jog, what does …

Bret Bielema: Embarrass him. We're not putting him in conditioning. It draws attention to yourself and obviously when everyone else is standing, they are cat calling him when he's jogging around. It's not an enjoyable experience.

Is that for receivers too after a drop doing up-downs?

Bret Bielema: I like reinforcement for negative actions and I like positive reinforcement. I like the way our defense swarms when they make an interception but I think negative reinforcement, especially with younger players. I want them to know that they just messed up.

One of my greatest memories, I was at Kansas State and a kid dropped a ball and he did five up-downs during a game. That was conditioned in him. I think it holds them accountable so they can't ‘Oh I just messed up,' clap your hands and go in the huddle.

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