MADISON - Wearing his black sandals and Wisconsin track suit, it's evident that Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema is ready to go. More importantly, so are his players.
"It's something we've talked about for two weeks," Bielema said on Tuesday about separation business and pleasure. "There is a time and a play for everything. That's why I want to say the mode of ‘Hey, we're getting off the plane (tomorrow), getting on the bus and getting to work.' We'll come back and enjoy a nice dinner and some time that night.
It won't be all hard work. Bielema and the Badgers are heading to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial on Thursday morning. After Friday, however, UW is on lockdown.
"The hard part for us because it's an extended stay it's like a bowl game," Bielema said. "But the game is going to be on us very quick. We told our guys it's about focusing in on the details of what we need to do to win Saturday."
UW can only take 83 players to the game and other than Josh Oglesby (who won't travel because of his knee surgery), the Badgers have no new injuries to report.
Once 2-6 and thought to be nothing more than a pre-bowl scrimmage for Wisconsin, Hawaii has won four straight, including a 10-point victory over Navy, to get the Warriors on the cusp of a bowl game on Senior Day. Win and Hawaii will play in the Hawaii Bowl against former head coach June Jones and his SMU Mustangs. Lose and Hawaii will watch the game from the stands.
"They have revived themselves very, very well," Bielema said. "They have regrouped and played very well offensively and defensively. They have done some really good things in the kicking game. None of these last four games have come easily, so they've really had to earn each one of those victories."
Athletic Director Barry Alvarez often says the thing he is judged on his head coaches graduate student athletes and keep up their marks in the classroom. Alvarez will have no qualms with Bielema, as it was announced today that the Badgers received 57 Academic All-Big Ten honorees from six different sports, including 22 from the football team.
"That's another record," Bielema said. "It's based off a 3.0 GPA cumulative. Last year at the end when I got the list of those that were a 3.0 or higher, I believe we may have had 35 guys. We had a pretty good chunk and they have to earn a varsity letter to get that. I think it speaks highly of what our guys have taken on not only on the field, but off the field in a big way."
Those honored by the Big Ten were: Zach Brown, Gabe Carimi, Nate Emanuel, Bradie Ewing, Antonio Fenelus, Matthew Groff, William Hartmann, Jordan Hein, Aaron Henry, Tyler Holland, Peter Konz, Andrew Lukasko, Prince Moody, Brad Nortman, Chukwuma Offor, Curt Phillips, Devin Smith, Blake Sorensen, Scott Tolzien, Mickey Turner, J.J. Watt and Drew Woodward.
Extra Points: Bielema doesn't regret moving the Hawaii game back a week, stating it was good to give the team some extra rest and preparation for the Hawaii game … UW thought about practicing today, but wanted the players to get used to hydrating and preparing for the heat. Kickoff is slated to be in the low 80s
A representative from Wisconsin Athletic Communication office stated that only three Wisconsin reporters will be traveling to the game, one from The Capital Times and two from Badger Nation! Follow us Saturday during the game and after for complete post game coverage.