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October 7, 2010

Badgers set for Minnesota

MADISON - Bret Bielema said his team showed a lot of long, upset faces last Sunday afternoon, just one day after his squad dropped its conference opener at Michigan State.

He also saw them refocus themselves as the week went on in preparation for the 120th edition of the most played rivalry in college football.

"I thought they did a good job of flushing that out of their systems Sunday night," Bielema, who has never lost to the Gophers, said. "We turned our attention to Minnesota and had some really good practices Tuesday and Wednesday and another one today."

In addition to having a solid week of practice, the Badgers are also healthy entering an important stretch on the schedule. With Minnesota this week, a team struggling in the early portions of the season, UW has an opportunity to re-establish any momentum it had prior to suffering defeat from the Spartans last Saturday.

"We really don't have anything significant coming out of last week's ball game," Bielema said. "A couple of guys got banged up a little bit, but nobody should miss any time going into the weekend."

Josh Oglesby, who has been sidelined with a knee issue since week two, still isn't quite 100 percent. So for the second consecutive game, Ricky Wagner will get the start at right tackle.

"He had a little setback Tuesday when it swelled up on him a little bit," Bielema said. "I know he is getting frustrated with it, but he's been out there all week. He's still probably not close to 100 percent. Maybe he's a 90 or 95 percent."

Brian Wozniak, a tight end who suffered a shoulder injury early on in fall camp, is set to return to the lineup this weekend. While Bielema didn't figure he'd play much of a role in the regular rotation (barring injury), and that if he saw playing time, it would likely be on special teams.

"He practiced all this week and he's got no restrictions," Bielema said. "He's two-deep on three of the four phases, but I don't know if he'll get in for sure. He has had a good week."

The Garner factor:

Against Austin Peay, freshman Manasseh Garner saw plenty of game action on both sides of the ball. Then against Michigan State, he was nowhere to be seen. Come Saturday, against Minnesota, Garner should be ready to receive game reps again.

Bielema, when asked about his role this week, said Garner probably would have played last week but when the defense practiced on the grass field outside Camp Randall and the offense practiced inside the stadium, it was hard to get him involved on both sides of the ball throughout the week.

"It was really as simple as that," Bielema said. "It sounds silly but he's No. 2 in our sub package. Offensively, I know they're going to get him involved in the game plan."

Phillips probably won't see action:

Though he's been cleared for contact, Curt Phillips probably won't be put into game action any time soon.

"I don't know if we'd feel confident putting him in the ball game," Bielema said. "It's just not quite there. Unless it was an absolute necessity to get him in the ball game, he won't be out there. He's definitely not at the level that you guys (reporters) have seen in the past to be thrown out there right now."

Quick hits:

-Aaron Henry will continue returning kicks. Bielema is excited by what he brings to the table, especially if he were to see space in that regard.

-Nick Toon, who made comments earlier in the week regarding his level of involvement in the offense, has not drawn the ire of his head coach. Bielema actually sees a level of maturity throughout the entire process.

"I don't know which part of the week it came out, but he said 'I think people would be disappointed if I didn't catch the ball,'" Bielema said. "That's the difference I see in Nick Toon versus what I've seen in the past. He's a confident player that wants to have success.

"He knows if he has success we have success."

-Kickoff is scheduled for 11:00 A.M. Saturday morning and the game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.

Bielema, 10/7/10

Bielema meets with reporters, Oct. 7 from Jordan Schelling on Vimeo.





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