Notes: Duel Preparation

Heading into their final conference home game of the 2009 season, Wisconsin is familiar with the skills that Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier brings to the table. When it comes to Denard Robinson, the Badgers know that they will have to contain a talented athlete.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema -

MADISON - When it comes to Michigan freshman quarterback Tate Forcier, there are very few mysteries as far as Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst are considered.

Spending a great deal of recruiting Forcier two summers ago, even having the dual-threat quarterback come to a Wisconsin summer camp, the Badgers know that Forcier can be a powerful weapon in both the run and passing game.

When it comes to freshman quarterback Denard Robinson, the Badgers are hoping to unravel the mystery before Saturday's kickoff.

With Forcier nursing a tweaked right knee, it appears Robinson will get the start against Wisconsin, although it's expected the Badgers will see a heavy dose of both signal callers.

"You can see (the differences in the offense) in what each player's abilities are, but also with what the coaches try to do with the game and the decision that's made," Bielema said Thursday. "I know we are going to see both of them, so we have to be prepared for both."

Forcier is 10th in the conference in passing yards, throwing for 1,636 passing yards and 10 touchdowns while running for 246 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while Robinson is slightly better in the ground game, running for 284 yards and five scores.

Passing is a different story, as Robinson has four interceptions in just 22 pass attempts, but still is an elusive threat.

"Very dangerous," Bielema said. "He's a very gifted athlete. It's like dealing with a Juice (Williams) or a (Kellen Lewis). You may have the right answer and he can make you (miss)."

Bscherer to the forefront again

Right tackle Josh Oglesby will be a game-time decision with two aching knees, meaning junior Jake Bscherer and freshman Ricky Wagner will fill in if necessary.

After starting the first three games at left guard, Bscherer has seen limited action since junior John Moffitt returned and moved to Bscherer's position. With Oglesby going down, Bscherer played the 2 1/2 quarters in last weekend's win over Indiana, providing stellar results in shutting down Indiana's pass rushing specialist, Jammie Kirlew.

"He actually did pretty good," Bielema said. "I was pleased with the way he hopped in there and called into action. This is the year of the d-end. Indiana had two very good defensive ends and (Jake) held his own pretty good."

The coaching staff moved Bscherer back to a reserve tackle role over the bye week, recognizing that Bscherer seemed more comfortable working at the tackle position, a move that could prove vital this week if Oglesby can't go.

"I think this is where he feels more natural," Bielema said. "Body wise, he's probably more designed for tackle play. I like Jake from the simple standpoint that he came in, played not as much his freshman year, to battle through it and he's always been very selfless and concentrated on being a good football player in the program."

Frederick Continues to Improve

After becoming the first true-freshman in school history to start a season-opener on the offensive line, Travis Frederick has been on hiatus, making a brief cameo in the blowout win over Purdue. Frederick, who injured his ankle early against Fresno State, was replaced by redshirt freshman Peter Konz, who has held the position since week 3.

While the coaching staff doesn't appear willing to shake up the line's chemistry in the midst of a successful season, Bielema has recognized that Frederick is getting better each week, especially getting some reps on the field goal and PAT units.

"The great thing about Travis is he's right there," Bielema said. "He's on the verge of playing either one of those (guard) spots and center. It's going to be a huge bowl preparation for him because he's going to get a lot of work. One of the great things for Travis, he's got game experience and that will move forward, but he's always had the ability to redshirt like Jake Bscherer did, as well."

Thinking warm thoughts

In less than three weeks, Wisconsin will have its first practice on the island of Oahu, as the Badgers will close on the season with a non-conference match-up against Hawaii, December 5. With the Badgers being handcuffed with the number of players they can take, it's a situation that is already proving to be a difficult to decipher for Bielema.

"Obviously, you want to reward seniors and all that stuff but the way it works out, we'll actually practice on that Wednesday we first get there, that Thursday and that Friday," Bielema said. "We'll have three practices and when you aren't bringing your entire roster, you've got to be smart with what you take."

One of those players who appears to have earned a seat on the plane is redshirt quarterback Jon Budmayr, who much like Curt Phillips did a season ago, is proving to be a valuable commodity on Wisconsin's offensive scout team.

"He's been great," said Bielema. "For us, what he's been able to simulate during scout team preparation, like this week he's done both quarterbacks, and just a great kid, good personality. He'll get knocked down and everybody will ride him. He's got a nice spirit to him."

Quotable

"I think they are small in numbers, but they are big in size. Just look at the captains and the way they've played. I have always learned this early on in coaching. I heard the head coaches talk about this at the beginning of the year. If your seniors play well and play there best football there last year, you have a chance to be a very good football team. That's exactly what's happened. Even a guy like Jeff Stehle, he's playing his best football right now at the defensive tackle position and has been invaluable for us on the defensive side of the ball."

- Bielema on his 18 seniors.

Extra Points: Running back John Clay, cornerback Kevin Claxton has practices all week and are expected to play.


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