Bielema: I wanted him to focus on Penn State

Talking about the outside expectations of John Clay and Josh Oglesby, the injury report and shielding the quarterbacks from the media, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema talks briefly with the media Thursday evening.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema -

Opening Comments

Obviously the biggest thing we had to do this week was get better at Wisconsin football and I thought we did that. Other than the situation at left tackle, Gabe Carimi didn't practice today, but with the game experience he has we'd let him go on Saturday before Josh (Oglesby). If not, Josh had a good week. From an injury standpoint, everybody practice this whole week. Garrett Graham practice Tuesday, Wednesday and we let him rest a little bit today but he should be good for tomorrow and obviously Saturday. Everybody (practiced), except Aaron Henry.

Nagy is the guy in the ‘Jumbo' package correct?

Correct and he actually got reps in the Michigan game and did a great job. I just thought he was a guy, our kids kind of feed off Billy. He's well liked and this is going to give him an opportunity. If Gabe can't go, Josh would be at left tackle and Billy would be the guy.

With Brendan Kelly out, is Louis Nzegwu the next guy in at end and how much can he give you, if anything, this week?

Especially in pass rush situations. In reflection of the game this past weekend, I really thought he could be a factor in the fourth quarter. You have those guys rep, rep and rep. Louis isn't at the level of those guys from an every-down snap in a normal down and distance situation. In the fourth quarter, you need a pass rusher and you need something out there. That's one thing we've really tinkered with this week is trying to give him an opportunity after the first half to be in there and be fresh legs.

You said Josh needs to mature a little bit. Was there anything specific you meant?

In the recruiting process and you guys have interviewed him, he's a jovial kid who likes to have fun. Last year when he was able to redshirt and become a more complete football player, a student, all the things a college football freshman goes through, I thought it was beneficial for him to redshirt more than anybody else. He handles it the right way and I liked the way he handled the game. I liked his approach this week.

Him and Clay are kind of similar experienced with in-state expectations. How do you think they have handled those and have you talked to them about that?

When they first came in, both those guys as highly recruited as they were and as well known as they were in the state. One thing I always try to do during the recruiting process after they sign and it becomes legal to talk is not build up any expectations. I try to handle everybody about the exact same. I thought both those guys handle it and obviously John was a little bit different with his academic situation and the coverage that that received, let alone before anything happened on the football field.

Those guys are rare in the state. Do you think Wisconsin recruiting that those are once in a lifetime guys or a sign that the talent in the state is improving?

Ever since I got here, I think there probably is that outside perception that Wisconsin football players aren't well known nationally. Right when I first got here three of the best football players on the team were from Wisconsin – Brian Calhoun, Joe Thomas and Jim Leonhard. Those are three Wisconsin players that I think anyone would have on their football team.

Can you explain the decision to not have Evridge or any other quarterback talk to the media this week?

Easy explanation. I had a press conference Monday where I addressed certain issues of what I look at after a defeat and what you try to analyze as coaches. I talk about schemes, different things we'll do from a coaching standpoint and personal; and personal included everybody on the roster.

Obviously once I mentioned the quarterback's name that became a story within a story for everybody in the media. I never once at any point but any point of blame on Allan for our two defeats. It was referenced that way, especially by one particular writer and I took exception to that. Rather have Allan come in and talk to the media and have to defend all that, I want him to concentrate on him playing against Penn State. It was basically one writer, one article that really set the tone, I knew he'd be there and I didn't want to have him answer that question.

Has Allan responded with a good week of practice?

Allan has a really good Tuesday and practiced fairly well yesterday and was out there and really good today. As far as preparation wise, he's handled it as good as anything. I don't know if you understand that he really just concentrates getting good as a football player. I don't know how much he lets the outside world come in or come into his life.

Off the beaten path a little bit, how's Mike Taylor doing?

He is actually practicing and practiced for the first time two weeks ago, not full contact, as he's still in a green (jersey). All of sudden, I turn around and he is in team (drills) yesterday and trying to get in the mix of things. All the surgery went well. The feelings that he had have subsided. Hopefully by another two weeks, we'll be able to pull the (green) jersey off and be able to compete.

He aggravated some issues as a high school football player and then as a wrestler. He was just constantly in this pain and once he got here, he was having some issues and we decided at that point that he should have surgery so we can get him back.

Xavier Harris has been working out. Is he on track to get back?

Yes. Xavier really, in the last month, all the symptoms he was having before the surgery have subsided. He feels really good and he's out there at every practice now listening, following along, sitting in meetings and doing everything he can. We should have him for spring ball.

Badger Nation Top Stories