Confidently Prepared

Addressing injuries, position battles and preparedness, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema is ready to get on the field Saturday.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema -

BB: Just an update on a few injury situations. Right now, Chris Pressley and Travis Beckum will be a game-time decision. I know both those guys really want to play but we'll make a decision on where they are at the time on Saturday. Jonathan Casillas will go throw some warm ups but probably will not play unless there's a change in him in the next 48 hours. Those three guys mainly and everyone else should be good to go besides Aaron Henry. Aaron Henry is out as well.

Antonio Fenelus?

Antonio hasn't worked too much with the defense being sidelined during drills just because we weren't sure. If he doesn't play this week, I expect him to go by Tuesday.

Can you assess the kickers?

Yes, absolutely. Good question. The PAT/field goal will be handled by Phil Welch along with the opening kickoff. We may run Matt Fischer out on some kickoffs depending on how the game goes and work him into field goal PAT situation as well. Phil right now is the starting kicker in all phases.

Based on what you've seen, I am assuming he's come on as of late?

I guess it was Monday night, Coach Partridge and I had a conversation about what we had seen in practice and basically went forward and told them during our meetings and ever since then, Welch went 7-for-7 today and made all of his field goals in the team situation. I think he's really taken a huge step forward and helped him confidence wise, knowing that he's got the job secure.

When you bring in a first-year punter, even a good one, how much do you have to work with him on timing?

That's one of the great things about him. In his first week here, I'd say his get offs were 2.2-2.5 range. With Ken DeBauche, we were a sub 2.1 all the time. We emphasized to the team that we needed good, solid protection but on the flip side of it, his operation time has really increased and all of his punts this week in team situations have been below a 2.1. He really has become conformable and really just had to get used to the snapper. He strictly works with Dave Peck and knows where the ball is coming out and everything.

Are you considering redshirting Bscherer?

No. Somebody else hit me up on that. There's been no conversation of that whatsoever.

Who is the No.2 quarterback?

Right now, we're going to go with Dustin but Scott Tolzien and Dustin could be coming down to the situation of the game. They are really close and had a great week of camp and excited to see what those guys can do when they both get the opportunity.

How exciting is the first game for you?

As a head coach, I am just excited that it is finally here. I really believe that our guys over the last two or three days begin to understand that game week is here. As a head coach, I get excited because it's the first time you get to make those decisions, those crunch decisions. From now until Saturday, all those decisions I've made are strictly what color pants we are wearing.

What concerns do you have with Akron matchup wise?

The offense presents a lot of challenges because the quarterback has experience. He's made a lot of decisions, started nine games last year, and the coaches are happy with the way he's performing in the offense from the line of scrimmage, which is huge for them. That's the part I think we have to be ready for, especially with inexperienced defensive backs.

What would you have to see from Casillas to get him in the lineup?

For Saturday, I would have to see a dramatic improvement. He's made such great strides in the last two, three days that everyday is a different story with him. I'd be shocked if he were on there on Saturday but I know it is important to him, Chris and Travis because of the first game their senior year to be involved. I'd be very shocked to see him play.

You say there's no discussion with Bscherer redshirting right? Is that from a coach's standpoint?

It's never been discussed in any meeting that we've had. That's one of those mythical things you guys create and put out there …

Well, he told me because I talked to him the other day …

It's an option. It's an option obviously if there's something down the road. Right now he's in our lineup as a No.2 tackle at a couple spots.

Who's going to be your starting wide receiver?

We're going to go with Kyle and David out of the game, assuming we have two wide receivers on the field. Moore will be in there very very quick as well as Daven Jones and Nick Toon will be in the rotation as well.

Do you think you guys are prepared as you possibly can be?

I know this. Because you've got so much time during camp, we've tried to overemphasize the kicking game. If we were playing these guys in a normal game week, they (Akron) have such a good return game, kickoff returns and punt returns, I am very happy with our preparation there. Offensively and defensively, I know our coordinators are very excited. We have one more walk through (today) but I feel great.

You can over coach, especially Dave (Doeren), his first game as a coordinator. Just like we were talking about our first-time punter, there's a first-time coordinator. I remember the first game I was ever calling plays, there was an anticipation, anxiety. He was going to call signals himself and I really discouraged that. He was during the spring but I got him to change his mind two weeks ago just because it allows you to have freedom a little bit and don't have to make the actual calls. I am excited to see him handle game day as well but I think you can do too much. Just like NFL teams when they have a week off, how you can have too much time to prepare for an opponent and you start thinking about too many things, too many gadgets and try to have an answer for everything.

Who will call defensive signals?

Charlie Partridge and Dave, just because of where he is on a certain part of the field, they'll both call at the same time. Plus, there was a big story about a NFL team stealing signals, college teams do that as well. Especially during the course of the game, you'll see guys looking at our call coach and get down defensive signals by the end of the half.


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