Bielema Formats Spring Game

Needing to find a suitable replacement, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema told the media that he will bring the kicking competition front and center on Saturday, including a number of other aspects he is looking forward to seeing during the Badgers annual spring game.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema -

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Bret Bielema: We wanted to be outside tonight but obviously the weather did not cooperate. This is our last practice inside, went half pads, thought the guys flew around pretty good. We're able to get some of the guys, Jonathan Casillas and Nick Toon both went pre-practice and went some of individual. If they go Saturday, it will depend on how they feel tomorrow. Other than that, questions?

Have you solidified a format for Saturday?

Bret Bielema: As of right now today when we had a staff meeting, we're going to talk tomorrow about the format of the game, we're going to do a couple different things with the kicking game to put some pressure on those guys. From right now if we can stay with our numbers, we'll be able to go a full game. If we lose anybody from the defensive line or maybe one more offensive lineman, we'll probably go certain number of series will be a half-line skelly.

In a nutshell, what are some of the things you want to see on Saturday?

Bret Bielema: The things I want to see on Saturday are the things we've stressed all spring. For our offense, just because we've had so many green players at the wide receiver position, just formations to get aligned, assignment correct and be on their assignments. Defensively, we've been huge on communications, alignments and technique. We've definitely gotten better. Some guys have gotten a lot better at things we've been trying to stress. I want to see those things happen Saturday and continue to move forward.

Can you elaborate on what you're going to do in the kicking game?

Bret Bielema: What we've going to do at the beginning of the second and fourth quarters is kind of like what we're going to do at the beginning of practice. We're going to line up in two units and go rapid fire field goals, four with each kicker with each one of the kicks counting as a point. So they'll have an effect on the point total and make those guys kick with people in Camp Randall. With as big of crowd as we get, it'll help us. The first time one of those guys, either with a PAT or a field goal, whether it is next year, it won't be the first time they'll kick in front of a crowd. That's a big thing and punt, we'll do a live rush against a punt situation to see where we are at with our protection.

Which of the kickers are you most comfortable with right now?

Bret Bielema: Well, if we had someone to kick tomorrow, it would probably be Phil (Welch) just because I liked what he did outside the other day. He didn't flinch an inch. This afternoon, he missed his first one and then nailed his next three with his last one being a 46-yard goal that went probably two yards over the top of the goal post. The kid's got incredible leg strength. He's still a freshman understanding how much concentration it takes.

Brad (DeBauche) is going through the same thing. One out of two or three kicks is a sailer and it's all about his drops. I think those guys need to get better on the detail of what they are doing. Matt Fischer isn't out of it. He probably doesn't have a lot leg strength.

I know you haven't done kickoffs but is Welch a guy that could be a weapon with kickoffs?

Bret Bielema: He'll be our kickoff guy I would guess. Just from what he did last year. During the out-of-season, it was a huge point emphasis for him. His leg has gotten a little soar here as of late. We've tried to cut back on a number of kicks he had today just so we'd have a good day on Saturday.

Some of these younger receivers, who has really stood out from the beginning to where we are now?

Bret Bielema: I think David Gilreath just from his attitude. He really wanted to come into spring and get better as a receiver and I think he's done it making a few plays. Isaac Anderson, overall, has made a huge step. He's gained some weight and started to do things better. He had a slow red-zone skelly and came back to make three big catches down here in the red zone. I like what he's doing and those two guys in particular.

Daven Jones is so extremely raw. Did have a little bit of good news. I think Kyle Jefferson, if he's able to run tomorrow, might be able to play on Saturday, which would be great for him to just get some more reps.

Just have to keep him out of the hallways?

Bret Bielema: Keep him out of the hallways yeah. No running in hallways. Your mother taught you when you were little and applies to when you are 18, too.

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