Plenty to be Excited About

From issues about Lance Smith, the report from the injury front and the maturation of Daven Jones, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema had plenty to smile about after the Badgers wrapped their first practice of the fall season.

Select Answers from Bielema's press conference

How was the first day?

Well the biggest thing is that practice on day one is always complicated from a NCAA point of view because we can not put on pads. So today was strictly helmets and we tried to emphasize communication, alignments and doing all the little things right to get us where we are. I will say that there were three guys not out there that you were expecting to be if you got the roster.

The first is Lance Smith. He won't be out there. We've had discussions with Lance and his high school coach and have basically made the decision that he's going to move on and extend his playing career somewhere else. We're currently working with him on several opportunities because he's complete eligible by NCAA standards and he's able to compete right now at the I-AA level and would have to sit out a year at the I-A level before participating.

Josh Nettles currently does not look like he is in a position academically where he needs to be for us in a fall. So we are currently in a holding pattern and he isn't going to be with us until we get the final word. He definitely won't be with us in fall camp.

The other guy is Chris Garner, a signee that we had a year ago in our signing class. Based off the things he was able to do the course of the spring semester, put him in a position to be here. Because of a family decision, he decided to stay either at home or move back down south where some of his family is. It is kind of in his hands. He won't be with us in the fall or anytime in the near future.

Do you think this is a good position for Lance?

Obviously Lance has a long history here and the one thing we explained to Lance a year ago at this time with the position he was in, the stance that not only the football program but within the university. There are a lot of things going on with him right now and I believe that a fresh start would be in his best interest. Obviously as a head football coach, we had conversations that will remain between Lance and I but I am trying to do everything I can. I know in the last 96 hours, I have placed as many phone calls as I ever have in my life. There are a lot of people that would like to have him on their football team and that's what we're trying to pursue.

What is it your decision or his to be removed from the program?

It was my decision that was supported by everyone that was around him. I think, obviously any time you remove yourself from a program, there's going to be feelings you go through, and I'd say Lance was very shortlived in those feelings. He proceeded to move forward very shortly and his best option was to work with us as a way to get out of town.

Have you gotten any indication that the guys that have missed time are improved?

I went around and watched seven guys during individuals the first 10 minutes of practice just to see how they were moving. Matt Shaughnessy was running off the ball and had some numbers two weeks ago in the weight room that were above when he got injured. I think mentally he was into it. Aaron Henry and Allen Langford did a lot of good things while they were out there. Travis and Garrett had done so much stuff during the spring that we felt comfortable. Their biggest thing is when we have contact because they have been moving fine. Matt is fully cleared to practice. He really has progressed nicely and we're going to let their bodies tell us what we need to do.

Question on Freshman Recruit Mike Taylor

Mike came into camp and was having some reoccurring issues he suffered his senior year not only through football, but he was an outstanding wrestler and had some complications through that. When he got on campus and did an extensive physical, we found some things that could easily be corrected with surgery. He had surgery, I believe, Julyt 22, and he'll be out four to six weeks. He'll be out for fall camp but will be rejoining us in the fall. Probably, every indication will be a redshirt for us, which is disappointing because I know that Mike really wanted to play. Early indications and reports was that he was doing an outstanding job in the weight room from our trainers and players.

Question on the the Reps of the Quarterbacks

These first two days in particular is to get everybody reps because it is more than a two-man race. Scott Tolzien has shown well in his opportunity. As camp goes, we are going to press the issue with Dustin that this is an opportunity that he sees it. Allan, because of the way he is and the position he has on the football team, it's his kind of show and he has to capitalize and be consistent in what he does. The x-factor, Scott Tolzien, does everything the way it's suppose to be done, doesn't really do anything bad and doesn't raise any eyebrows but manages the game well.

Question on the Improvement of Daven Jones

Daven is a big wide receiver. He's strong. As big as he is, he even plays bigger than what he is. I felt that after a year of learning in the fall and the spring and just hearing the formations and the calls has been important to him. He was here all summer and you could tell in practice that he knows what he's doing. I feel pretty exciting about the growth he's made and hopefully that will pan out in the next couple weeks.

Badger Nation Top Stories