Notes: Decker Delivers a Punch

Minnesota senior Eric Decker has been known to Wisconsin fans ever since he punched Jack Ikegwuonu in the lower extremities two years ago. With Decker having a standout season for the Gophers, the Badgers hope to deliver a similar punch this week to Decker like they did the week before to Blair White.

MADISON - Last weekend, the Badgers shut down the conference second-leading pass catcher and receiver in Michigan State's Blair White, holding the talented senior to only one catch for eight yards.

Now, the Badger secondary will get a chance to flex their muscles against the top receiver in the conference and one of the best in the nation in senior Eric Decker.

Choosing to comeback to school for his final season, Decker leads the conference in receptions (35), yards (499) and shares the lead in touchdown catches (4).

"Eric is an extremely talented football player, much to the same as Blair White a week ago," Bielema said. "They do a really good job of trying to find ways to get him the ball. I believe I heard (Minnesota head coach) Tim (Brewster) said they try to script 10 plays that they have designed specifically to get (him) the ball."

"They are never necessarily the same plays. He's done everything from catching the ball to throwing the ball to reserving the ball to being a decoy. It's amazing how much they have in the offense for him."

Wisconsin hasn't been too intimidated by opposing offenses through the first third of the season. Even with a few blips on the radar, the Badgers have forced 12 turnovers through four games, including seven interceptions. None of those big plays, however, have come from the hands of sophomore Aaron Henry, who was deemed to be Wisconsin's top corner despite missing all of last season due to a knee injury.

Through four games, Henry has made only nine tackles and one pass deflection, but will likely draw Decker as an assignment this weekend. Although he still is struggling to find his groove, Bielema has seen indicators that Henry is moving forward.

"I think Aaron has gotten better, especially last week," Bielema said. "On Wednesday, I sat and watched practice and I saw Aaron Henry got his hands on four balls. That was an indicator to me that he's was breaking on the ball and starting to do things better. He played a little bit better in the game last week against some talented wide receivers."

Becoming a Strength

Having allowed only two sacks for a measly 13-yard loss through four games this season, it's not a surprise that Bielema could quietly be seen knocking on the wood table he was yielding questions at.

With the amount of injuries his offensive line has overcome in two short months, health and success are the two big things Wisconsin is lucky to have back in the trenches.

Injuries have forced the Badgers to juggle the line on more than one occasion since fall camp opened, as Gabe Carimi, John Moffitt and Bill Nagy all missed significant amount of time during camp, the latter two missing camp completely. The injury to Moffitt was especially challenging for the Badgers, seeing as UW didn't have a backup center past freshman Travis Frederick. With freshman Peter Konz already having taken reps at guard and tackle, Bostad moved Konz to center on the second team as an insurance policy.

When Frederick went down early in the first quarter against Fresno State with an ankle sprain, Konz stepped into the mix and has started the last two games, allowing the Badgers to move Moffitt to left guard, where he played during his freshman season, to give UW more versatility.

With Carimi, Moffitt and Nagy recovered from their fall camp injuries and Josh Oglesby having played his best game on Saturday, the Badgers' line, coupled with Scott Tolzien's efficiency to distribute the ball to multiple sources in order to keep the defense on its heels, has become a strength once again.

"I wanted our offensive line to be a strength – it needs to be a strength always at Wisconsin – but I didn't really envision it being the way it is now," Bielema said. "I give credit to Bob Bostad for being able to piece guys into the right position."

"The protection is where it needs to be, but we need to firmer on some other things. The quarterback understands where the ball needs to go and the timing of it."

Ex the Text

Last week, Bielema made it known that he has used the technology revolution to his staff's advantage, following opposing coaches and players on twitter to possibly find things out about his opponents on Twitter.

Bielema, who's Twitter feed has 1,947 followers, wants to be sure his players don't Tweet anything that could be used against them this weekend.

"After the game on Saturday, I always talk about next week's opponent," Bielema said. "Because of the little interesting stories about this game, I kind of warned them about text messaging, tweeting and that they don't want to give anything out there that could be bulletin board material for our opponents. I think this is a great rivalry game."

Extra Points: Scott Tolzien was named Wisconsin's offensive player of the week, Jay Valai and O'Brien Schofield were named UW's co-defensive players of the week, Phil Welch was named UW's special team's player of the week, Ryan Groy was named UW's scout offensive player of the week and Shelby Harris was named UW's scout defensive player of the week …Wisconsin's football game at Ohio State on Oct. 10 will start at 2:30 p.m. CT and be televised by ABC. Saturday's game against Minnesota will be televised by ESPN.


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