Making a Flu Recovery

While the game-week preparation hasn't been the smoothest in Bret Bielema's tenure, Wisconsin head coach is pleased with his team's recovery from nagging flu symptoms and feels his team is ready to take on Fresno State this Saturday at Camp Randall.

MADISON - With a week full of headaches, body aches, fever, nausea and other flu symptoms, it appears that the flu bug that has pounded Wisconsin's football team over the past week has finally waved the white flag.

With Wisconsin's game against Fresno State less than 48 hours away, it appears the Badger personnel have made a near full recovery and should be 100 percent come Saturday.

"People started feeling a lot better yesterday afternoon," Head Coach Bret Bielema said. "Players really responded well not just getting themselves healthy, but the medication and everything that went into it … Everybody's body recovers a little bit differently."

From the two-deep depth chart, Jake Bscherer was the only Badger still with the flu, coming down with symptoms after yesterday's meetings. Bscherer did practice on Tuesday and is expected to be back Friday. With him being the only major casualty, Bielema hopes the Badgers are through the worst of it.

"I hope so," Bielema responded. "There's always the element of surprise. Somebody could pop up Friday or Saturday morning. This morning we sat on egg shells and I think there are only two new cases – Jake and a member of the scout team."

Although they have lost players this week, the coaching staff doesn't feel his squad is behind in its preparation, as UW modifying individual reps instead of team drills and adding repetition Thursday to balance out the week.

While the rumor mill circulated of the possibility that the game be postponed, Bielema said Athletic Director Barry Alvarez spoke to Fresno State's Athletic Director, who said that the Bulldogs wanted to go forward with the game this Saturday at 11 a.m.

"I want them to be aware … because we are getting through it, but they are going to be the ones close in proximity," Bielema said. "Our guys are going to cough and we're not going to wear little face masks out there. It was a different scene in here Tuesday with guys wearing masks and try to stay quarantined."

"Obviously they made the decision to play and move forward."

Appleton Ready to Roll

After missing last week's game with a hamstring injury, freshman Kraig Appleton is ready to go and be a playmaker in the Wisconsin offense.

"He lacks no confidence," Bielema said. "I was walking through the locker room today and said, ‘Mr. Appleton, are you ready to catch a pass?' He responded, ‘If you throw it to me.' He is very mature, very confident and expect him in certain situations – a baby package for him."

Even though the Badgers rotated in five different receivers last week in the opener, an uncharacteristically high number for Wisconsin, the coaching staff feels that they have enough options at wide receiver to have a more consistent rotation of six players.

On Fresno State

"I really believe Fresno's skill is very, very good. I think their center is one of the best we've seen, their right guard and right tackle is exceptional, their running game because of what Coach Hill believes in has always been solid. They've got probably two, maybe three, running backs that play a lot for them and get a lot of reps. Their wide receivers are good, skilled players. They know why they move the football, because they run the ball."

Walking Wounded

It appears junior center John Moffitt is still one week away from returning to the starting lineup. Although his pectoral muscle has fully healed and he has been taking reps, Moffitt still is working on getting up to game speed, something Bielema doesn't want to rush him into, primarily with the solid play of freshman Travis Frederick last week.

"He practiced yesterday and today, but (the trainers) are a little bit worried about him being able to protect himself," Bielema said. "I think he functionally could do what we ask him to do, but just to make sure that he doesn't put himself in a position that he injures it or re-aggravates it, we'll probably sit him this week and go into next week."

At the defensive end position, Brendan Kelly (groin) practiced the last two days and Louis Nzegwu (shoulder) may be available on Saturday if the Badger absolutely need him.

"He may be available for a pure emergency situation, but he hasn't practiced as of yet," Bielema said.

The coaching staff is also going to start true freshman defensive end David Gilbert on two special teams unit, as well as on normal down-and-distance situations and on third down.

Zach Brown is 100 percent after getting banged up in the practice leading up to Northern Illinois and is expected to share the carries with John Clay in the backfield.

Tyler Westphal, who is not on Wisconsin's 103-man roster after having shoulder surgery, is getting close to returning and being a part of the active roster.

"We thought he'd be able to return sometime last September, early October and he's in progression to do that," Bielema said. "He was actually one of the guys to get really hammered by the flu bug this past week."

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