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November 21, 2011

Notes: Injuries, depth chart

MADISON - Immediately following Wisconsin's 28-17 win over Illinois, Travis Frederick, with his neatly addressed beard and loquacious personality, quickly pointed out his self-described poor play at guard.

He thought the move from left guard to center had more to do with his performance than it did with fill-in center Ryan Groy's.

Groy, on the other hand, thought the move had everything to do with his play. He thought the communication error that plagued his errant snap forced offensive line coach Bob Bostad to make the move.

While Groy did say it impacted his confidence, he was way more upset at himself for playing at that level.

During his Monday press conference head coach Bret Bielema made it clear how the move will stay that way throughout the remainder of the season, or until Peter Konz is able to return from his injury.

"There were two back-to-back plays there where (Groy) got a little rattled with the football in his hands," Bielema said. "The good thing is Bo (Bostad) recognized it right away and made the switch. Travis finished it out very, very well.

"Ryan is a pretty confident player and he's been waiting for this opportunity so he'll continue to play well and hopefully do the job on Saturday."

The recently released depth chart has Frederick slated at center and Groy at left guard entering Saturday's regular season finale against Penn State.

Offensive line depth a problem:

Backup guard Zac Mathias, a seldom used reserve, didn't travel to last week's game at Illinois as he was recovering from a back injury. That will likely keep him out of Saturday's game against Penn State, too.

"He's had some recurring back problems," Bielema said. "Hopefully he'll kind of get it under control this week. But, unfortunately it seems to be one of those things that comes up in the world of college football.

"A very bad back."

With Mathias battling his respective injury, expect senior Jake Current to backup Groy should anything happen at left guard.

Injury report:

Junior left tackle Ricky Wagner suffered a second-degree MCL sprain. Bielema said that's an injury that typically removers players from playing in a particular game. Wagner missed just a handful of plays before returning to the lineup against the Illini.

"The doctors assured us structurally there wasn't anything wrong," Bielema said. "He probably played as good a second half of football as he's ever played. Just peer gut, willpower, intensity and desire to guide him there."

Bielema also indicated the need for further testing, but that he's encouraged by the way Wagner responded during the second half of play.

"He's having an MRI today just to rule out anything," Bielema said. "We might sit him Tuesday, but he'll practice Wednesday and Thursday.

"He'll be good to go."

Other than Wagner, it seems as though the Badgers came out of Saturday's slugfest will Illinois rather clean. There aren't too many injuries cropping up.

"We came out of the game a lot better off injury-wise than we had the week prior," Bielema said. "We actually gave our guys Sunday off. We'll get great workdays in Tuesday and Wednesday. No changes, really, just stick to the normal schedule because kids are in classes."

Obviously Thursday is our nation's day to give thanks. Though there's a national holiday smack dab in the middle of game preparation, Bielema made it a point to tell his team they have to stay to the norm.

"We'll stick to the same plan that we did for Northwestern (last year)," Bielema said. "But it's really in their hands. If they want to do something that they don't normally do during a normal game week, they're putting themselves in a position to have a setback on Saturday.

"They've got to stick to what they know and how they know to do it. Hopefully it'll come out in a positive way Saturday."

Quick hits:

-Montee Ball was named the Big Ten co-offensive player of the week with Michigan's Denard Robinson. Ball was also tabbed UW game with Bradie Ewing for their performances against Illinois.

-Ball was also named a finalist for the Doak Walker award, given nationally to the nation's premier running back. Alabama's Trent Richardson and Oregon's LaMichael James are also finalists.

-Chris Borland was named Big Ten defensive player of the week for his efforts against Illinois. Senior Antonio Fenelus earned UW defensive game MVP.

-Offensive scout went to A.J. Jordan. Defensive scout went to Michael Caputo.

-Brad Nortman and Philip Welch earned special teams game MVP for their performances at Illinois.

Quotable:

Bielema on Montee Ball listening to headphones during halftime of Saturday's game:

"It's amazing to me how if you get kids out of their rhythm, out of their routine, how much it screws them up. Montee is very focused. He wanted to get his mind right and whatever he listened to, shoot, I might listen to it now. It was all pretty good."


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