Badger Trio Boast Big Expectations

One day after head coach Bret Bielema was the center of attention for the Wisconsin media, seniors Travis Beckum, Andy Kemp and DeAndre Levy stepped in front of the microphone at the Big Ten's Annual Media Day.

CHICAGO - With the players being the main attraction during day two of the Big Ten's annual media day, Wisconsin's Travis Beckum, Andy Kemp and DeAndre Levy had a variety of questions to answer and stories to tell. Badger Nation's Ben Voelkel reports on the rumblings in Wisconsin's camp.

Beckum exceeding expectations

Thank goodness for Badger fans Bret Bielema didn't heed Joe Cook's warning.

According to tight end Travis Beckum, Cook, who coached the tight end at Oak Creek High School, didn't think catching passes was in Beckum's future.

"One of my coaches … talked to my head coach in high school coach about making the transition to tight end and he said, ‘No, Travis wouldn't be a good tight end.'"

Now an All-American caliber tight end, that story is a testament to just how amazing Beckum's transition from linebacker to tight end has been.

One-and-I guess so

He might get very tired of the cliché, but linebacker DeAndre Levy begrudgingly admitted that the 1-0 mentality pushed by UW head coach Bret Bielema is his modus operandi.

"I hate to say it, I'm tired of hearing it, but it's true," Levy said. "You've got to focus on what's in front of you."

That means Levy says despite UW's preseason rank of second in the Big Ten, he hasn't set a conference championship or Rose Bowl berth as goals.

"I think that's the thing we got caught up in the last couple years, thinking about where we're going to end up, not focusing on where we started," Levy said. "Who's next. That's what we have to work on. Who's next, not who's last."

Prove it on the field

Thursday, Kirk Herbstreit spoke with reporters for over 20 minutes about topics ranging from the national perception of the Big Ten ("overrated" and "overhyped" were words he said he hears all the time) to the proliferation of the spread offense (he likes it) and small speedier defenses (the wave of the future).

One interesting comment Herbstreit had pertains to the Wisconsin defense.

"I thinking on my way in here about their defense, and I know Bret is kind of one of the Wizards of Defense in the country," Herbstreit said. "... You look at the players and the names and you're like '[Wisconsin] could be the best defense in the Big Ten, based on who's coming back.'"

When told of Herbstreit's comments, Levy didn't exactly pump out his chest in pride.

"Just as much as we could be the best defense, we could be the worst defense," Levy said. "It's about what you do. It's not about what you say or what people predict or how it looks on paper. It's about what you do on the field on Saturdays."

Considering the dichotomy between predictions and actual results of last year's defense, you can see where Levy is coming from.

Welcome rest

The Badgers will have a week off after the first three non-conference games and their Big Ten opener on the road against Michigan. That in-season bye, originally scheduled as a game against Virginia Tech, will be a first for all the players currently on the roster.

"That's huge," left guard Andy Kemp said. "It's going to be nice to get a good break on our body, let everything go mental-wise, prepare a little longer. It's going to help start off the Big Ten season."


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