On Saturday, Sherer was 17-of-34 for 161 yards, but threw two interceptions and forced a number of balls into high-traffic areas. Sophomore Scott Tolzien came in late in the fourth quarter and completed 4-of-7 passes for 90 yards and an interception.
Regardless, head coach Bret Bielema believed that Wisconsin's best chance to win right now is with Sherer as his quarterback when UW (3-4, 0-4) hosts Illinois (4-3, 2-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday "Dustin didn't play a clean game or by any means set the world on fire," Bielema said during his Monday news conference. "I know just reading his comments after the game he made that assessment of his own play. There were some things. Obviously accuracy was an issue on some of his throws but he brought some things to the table. His preparation, I liked that (Sherer) was into it and we would like to see how much growth he can have with another week being the starter."
Sherer, who started for the first time since he was a senior in high school, admitted after the game that he was forcing the ball trying to make things happen. Sherer went on to say that he needed to play better and the team needed to play better in order to break this four-game losing streak Wisconsin is in, its longest since 1996.
Bielema is hoping that by naming Sherer the starter for this week that the junior quarterback will not be worried about being supplanted and have another solid week of practice. However, Bielema is not ready to name Sherer his starter for the remaining five games of the season.
"I haven't said for the rest of the year but he definitely knows that he has another opportunity to go out there and prepare and do what he needs to do to get himself right for a game on Saturday," Bielema said. "He did excel once he knew that he was going to be the guy last week."
Wisconsin listed Tolzien and Allan Evridge co-backups and Bielema gave the indication that Tolzien will receive the majority of the reps with the number two unit, a sign that Evridge's career at Wisconsin is on the back burner.
"We'll give a large amount of the reps outside the ones to Scott Tolzien and watch him continue to progress," Bielema said.
Freshman James Stallons, Wisconsin's fourth quarterback, is not in the mix to get a start this season, as Bielema said that he's not ready to contribute.
What needs to be done
After reviewing the film, Bielema was clear on what Wisconsin needs to do in order to get back on track. The first issue he addressed was correcting the misalignments and penalties that are costing UW. The Badgers were flagged for seven penalties for 75 yards against Iowa and have been flagged for eight pre-snap procedure penalties during their four-game losing streak.
In addition, Bielema commented that the Badgers need to clean up their details, a rarity with a Wisconsin program, get off the field on third downs, limit the mental errors and that needs to have its best players out on the field to give them a chance.
One of the issues where Wisconsin has struggled recently is special teams, where the Badgers have had plenty of fundamental breakdowns that have led to big plays, including a 63-yard touchdown punt return against Penn State and a blocked punt against Iowa. Despite the recent troubles, Bielema said that there are no immediate plans for him to relinquish his duties as special teams coach.
"After every year we reassess," he said. "There's been a few fundamental breakdowns (the last two weeks). The general consensus is when things aren't going well, there are quick reasons to point out why they haven't. You have to believe in what you know and how you assess it. As of right now, there are no plans to change."
The Sky is Falling?
Starting with the collapse at Michigan and following through the blowout in Iowa, fans have begun to call for Bielema's firing, something that the head coach is well aware of.
"The fan can share and appreciate with everything that everybody in our program is disappointed with the results of the last four weeks," he said. "Nothing has changed. From a head coaching standpoint, I didn't get into this profession for the salary, notoriety or for endorsements. I got into this profession to win and to help young men have success when their playing days are done."
"This is my life. This is what I love everyday, 365 days a year. I know that I have to stick probably to what I believe in more so now than ever before and that is the only way that gets us to where we need in the end."
Although admitting that he doesn't read blogs or message board and only newspaper stories, Bielema has heard that people are starting to rip on his lucky windbreaker, something that he's worn on the sideline since he started at Wisconsin.
"I remember back to my freshman year when the merchandising people told me that they couldn't keep enough windbreakers in stock," Bielema said. "It goes to show that when you are winning, everybody agrees to what you are doing. When you're not, everybody has the answers because the right answer isn't out there. Thank God that we have fans that care."
Injury Report Running back John Clay, cornerback Mario Goins and linebacker Blake Sorensen will be ready for this weekend's game. P.J. Hill didn't practice after re-aggravating his foot injury and is questionable for game day. Gabe Carimi and Kraig Urbik should be ready to play by Saturday, as Bielema didn't want the pair to travel on a long bus ride to and from Iowa.