Notes: Negatives Outshine Positives

There were plenty of positives stemming from Wisconsin's game last Saturday at Michigan, except for roughly 18 minutes in the second half and the final results. On Monday, head coach Bret Bielema begins the process of reinforcing that to his players.

MADISON - After fielding a half dozen questions during his news conference involving Wisconsin's loss to Michigan on Saturday, head coach Bret Bielema finally got a question involving the Badgers' upcoming match up against Ohio State.

With his simple ‘thank you' muttered response, Bielema is ready to move on from what has been a head scratching couple of days.

"Sunday after a loss is probably the worst day in the coaching profession," Bielema said. "From the standpoint, you watch the video for the first time yourself after replaying in your head many times the night before. You watch it with the staff and obviously watch it with the players. It gets to be a long day. We need to move forward to Ohio State."

After watching the film, Bielema was able to see some positives on both sides of the football that shined through the rubble.

Saturday, Wisconsin's defense lined up on 68 snaps against the Michigan offense and on 60 of those plays, the Badger defense lived up to their own expectations and shut down the Wolverines. On roughly eight snaps, however, the Badger defense failed to execute and changed the outcome of the conference opener.

"We felt we could have changed the outcome of the game if we had (those plays) back," Bielema said. "In Big Ten play, every play counts. I don't care who you (are), every play counts and you never know when that one play is going to have a huge effect on the game. We didn't want to have a learning experience but we did on Saturday."

Bielema also was honest about the lack of hustle in a couple of instances, particularly on the interception that Michigan returned for the game-winning touchdown. Bielema noted that after the interception, Wisconsin had players in the area that could have made a better effort to try and stop the Michigan convey into the end zone.

"From an offensive standpoint, I don't know if you appreciate how much every point counts," Bielema said. "In my opinion, if we just submarine and have guys go down and people fall over us, we would have been in a first and goal situation from the five. We never gave our defense a chance to make a stop."

While the Wisconsin wide receivers were soundly criticized by fans and media for fumbling with numerous passes, two of which led to Wolverine interceptions, Bielema was pleased that three wide receivers (David Gilreath, Lance Kendricks and Nick Toon) bounced back from their drops, some of which cost Wisconsin first downs or touchdowns, to catch their last pass.

"Everybody is going to look to the negative but I am going to point to the positive in this week moving forward," Bielema said. "They didn't catch their first ones and could have maintained the chains moving had they made those. For those guys to move forward, I look more to how they played their last snap."

Clay Not There Yet

Another question Bielema had to deal with was the use, or lack there of, of redshirt freshman John Clay. Going into Saturday, Clay was second on the team in rushing average, running for 62.5 yards per game. Against Michigan, Clay's first carry went for 46 yards, the longest play from scrimmage all day for Wisconsin, and his next carry found the end zone.

After that, Clay had only one more carry the rest of the game because of the lack of close-game experience that Clay has at this point in his career.

"One play people don't see is when the game was extremely tight, he went the wrong direction," Bielema said. "It goes unnoticed out there but as coaches, you know every play count and you are in the third and fourth quarter and you know P.J. Hill has been there and done that."

The coaching staff felt heading into the week that Hill was the best option for the Wisconsin running game, no matter where the Badgers were on the field or the down or distance, with Zach Brown option number two. Bielema alluded to Clay being the option for short yardage and goal line situations until his experience increases.

"John Clay is a tremendous football player," he said. "On Saturday when he was asked if he should have gotten more playing time, his response was ‘the coaches give us a plan and we go out and execute it.' He does exactly what we ask him to do and that's why I am so excited about him for the future."

Injury Report

Tight end Garrett Graham (foot) did not dress for the Michigan game, is expected to return to practice on Wednesday. Graham practiced on Tuesday last week, was limited on Wednesday and the doctor's recommended that he be held out till Wednesday.

Fellow tight end Travis Beckum, who missed most of UW's loss to Michigan because of a lingering hamstring injury, practiced Sunday and is expected to be available for full duty against the Buckeyes.

Wide receiver Maurice Moore (groin), who also did not play at Michigan, should also be back Tuesday after hurting himself during the bye week.

Aaron Henry continues to struggle with his recovery and a decision will be made by this week or next, as the NCAA mandates that a redshirt decision needs to be made by week six.

Wisconsin did not award an offensive mvp, Jonathan Casillas was the defensive mvp, and Antonio Fenelus was the special teams mvp.


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