home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 30, 2011

Bret Bielema


Q.テつ How has the week been for you?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ You know what, it's kind of been a different preparation than a year ago because of the championship game and playing in that environment.テつ Kind of juggle that with recruiting, and you might know I had some things happen on my staff, so to juggle those three things all together independently on the same account, trying to get a team ready to play on January 2nd has been a challenge.
But I like the way the guys have prepared.テつ Obviously have had great weather out here, couldn't ask for anything better.テつ I know it was 45 and sunny in Madison, but 75 feels a little bit better, and I know our kids have been excited all week long.

Q.テつ What do you think about the new uniform?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I love the uniform.テつ As you guys know, I play a little close to the vest on those type of things, and myself and Coach Alvarez partnered with Adidas and we wanted to bring out some subtle things that ended up being big things for us.テつ To play in the Rose Bowl two years in a row back to back is an unbelievable overwhelming feeling and we wanted to give something to our kids, we wanted to give them a feeling that they've changed, as well, and I couldn't be happier with the way it came out.

Q.テつ Do you think it has a slimming effect?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Well, some guys will want it.テつ I'd love to have a slimming effect.テつ I think the part we wanted to do was incorporate the history and tradition of the Rose Bowl.テつ I think because our colors are red and white, it's so unique to blend in that opportunity.テつ A lot of teams in the world of college football have gone with this star effect or this wow effect, and to me I just‑‑ our branding at the University of Wisconsin, I can't tell you how many times I'm walking through an airport, I'm on the road recruiting, whatever, and someone grabs me and said how much they love our uniforms, the simplicity, the cleanness and the tradition of college football that really exists.

Q.テつ I think the general consensus around the country is that this is probably going to be the best match‑up of all the big Bowl games.テつ Would you agree with that?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I do.テつ I think it's a great match‑up.テつ I've known Chip for a couple years, and it's kind of like one of those things they're the complete opposite of what we are, so it's always intriguing to watch, to see how it unfolds.テつ We obviously have never played in a match‑up game against Chip or his team, so to get into the game plan of it, to really watch and study and learn all three phases of what they do is awesome.テつ I think it's just the tale of two cities as far as what you do offensively, obviously, with the time of possession and all that goes into it.テつ It's a really unique match‑up, key match‑up, and obviously one that for us to have success Wisconsin needs to play Wisconsin football, and we need to play penalty free, we need to play clean, we need to control the football offensively.テつ On defense we need to capitalize on turnovers, have success on 3rd down and be great in the red zone.テつ Those things are going to be an important part of the match‑up.

Q.テつ Is that a fun thing about coaching, going up against your opponents?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ It is.テつ I enjoy the challenge of a different prep.テつ One of the things that I pointed out to our guys early on was obviously Oregon over the last several years in their extended prep games, either the beginning of the year or the end of the year and how they fare is a point of emphasis for us.テつ But I really have a lot of respect for what they do.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I have no idea what you're talking about.テつ Don't believe what you read on the internet.テつ I asked Coach Chris and Coach Bostad and everybody is all good.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Yeah, I couldn't be happier with where we're at right now.テつ Players, coaches, obviously any time there's change, there's going to be a certain chemistry out there, but no, I think what you're saying is ridiculous.テつ There's no truth to that whatsoever.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I know Chip is involved with that.テつ One of the things I made as a decision early on as a head coach, I wasn't going to be involved in play calling on offense or defense, I just call the good plays.テつ But I think the defensive preparation, Coach Ash, Coach Partridge, Coach Huxtable, Coach Cross, they've really had some time to process through what they're doing and where they're at, and it's going to be‑‑ the thing that I've really been excited about with our defense all in game adjustments they've been able to do, and obviously Oregon, one of the things they do every game is change up what they do, new formations, new plays, new alignments, so that part has to be adjusted and handled on the sidelines.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Oh, yeah, absolutely, absolutely.テつ Really all three phases.テつ I let guys coordinate and run it, but I'll always have constant feedback on things I like, dislike, and the way I see things unfold during practice.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Yeah, it's a unique challenge.テつ It's one that you obviously can see on film, especially TV version of it, how fast they move along, get going.テつ But it's one our guys are tuned into.テつ I thought our scouts have done a nice job of simulating as fast as they can the prep that goes into it.テつ But obviously nothing will compare to what you see on January 2nd.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I really do think the fact that we have an extended prep is a very beneficial thing for us.テつ It allows them or allows us to slow the game down a little bit as far as, A, how we practice, and B, how we play.テつ So I think this extended prep‑‑ Oregon would be a very difficult challenge in a seven‑day window.テつ If you were playing them in a normal game day schedule with just seven days of preparation, it would be a very difficult task.

Q.テつ Can you expand on that?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Well, I think, A, there's two things that really jump out.テつ First, their offense is such a unique preparation, not just from the standpoint of schematically what they do but also the timing of it, the no‑huddle, the speed huddle and all that goes into it, and then on the flipside of it, their defense and special teams is very unique.テつ As gifted as they are athletically, the speed and all that goes into it, it would be a very difficult challenge within a game week to get ready for what they're doing.
They do this 365 days a year every day, and it's really unique to the world of college football.テつ On the flipside of that, I think we are, as well.テつ What we do offensively, although it may not be as pretty or flashy or speedy, it's a unique prep, so I think the extended prep does help, as well.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ We do have some teams in the Big Ten that play the no‑huddle, speed of it.テつ But as far as the speed factor, both the speed of what they get the plays off in time as well as the speed that's on the field, kind of a double dip there, it's a very unique thing.

Q.テつ What do you see from LaMichael James?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Incredible player, got a lot of‑‑ as you saw on film, as the year went along, obviously he missed a little bit with the injuries, but a very gifted player.テつ The thing I always say about kids is if you have a player that can make something out of nothing, you've got a special player, and obviously they have very well‑designed plays to get him in a position to have success, but sometimes those things are cut off and he still makes a great play.テつ That's the part that I really‑‑ that is I think the unique challenge to defending him.

Q.テつ If you had to focus on one key match‑up, what do you look at?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I think on the perimeter just to make sure that we can tackle their skill.テつ Obviously LaMichael gets a lot of attention, but No.6, they've got wide receivers, they've got running backs, they've got guys that can do a lot of different things, and they all present a challenge to just make sure you can get a tackle, to get a hat on a hat and get them down.テつ I think that's the part that really is the biggest challenge.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Yeah, obviously this is a crescendo to this day.テつ This day is always kind of a little jump into, okay, the game is pretty close.テつ But today is like a normal Wednesday of a game week.テつ Tomorrow will be Thursday.テつ I really think our kids going into tomorrow's prep, last night we had the Lawry's, we had the Beef Bowl, it was kind of the last big function that takes away from the preparation as far as on the field.テつ So I think from this point forward, you'll really start to see our guys hone in a little bit.

Q.テつ Did you switch anything up from your prep last year?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Yeah, we did a couple different things.テつ First it was a little bit different because of the Big Ten Championship game.テつ We played a week later in our regular season after Thanksgiving, and on top of that we played in the championship game which extended us almost two more weeks beyond the regular season.テつ So that challenge was there already, and then what we've tried to do at practice, we've kind of scaled back the amount of time we're on the field and tried to increase the speed or the reps that we're getting while we're out there.テつ So that little subtle change as well as the shortened window I think is both going to be beneficial for us.

Q.テつ Why did you make that change?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ That's how I'm wired.テつ I knew that I didn't want to tell our players in August that I expected them to be playing in the Big Ten Championship game, but as a coach, I felt that.テつ So it was important for me to do some pre‑planning, reach out to teams that had played in championship games before that were playing in BCS games, look at their schedule.
Traditionally we've gotten anywhere from 20 to 24 practices from our last game to the Bowl game every year before this year.テつ This year because of the timing of the championship game, or finals and when we'd have to leave for this game, I knew we weren't going to get anywhere close to that.テつ I believe we'll get in 14 practices total, so it's a little bit of a different change that.テつ But that's my job as a head coach.テつ That's what I have to do.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Well, we'll find out on the 2nd.テつ You feel good about it.テつ I though our scouts have done an outstanding job, our coaches have done a great job of getting everything out there and playing at a tempo that they could do it, but we won't really know until game day.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ On the Oregon roster?テつ There's a kid on our roster that Oregon recruited, Jesse Hayes, I remember was a heavily recruited kid, a D‑lineman out of Cincinnati.テつ But other than that, I knew a lot of the names but that was really it.テつ Two totally different styles of offense, defense, special teams.テつ We don't have a single player on our roster from California, so it‑‑ it's probably more geography than anything else.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Absolutely.テつ We kind of have a small recruiting class this year, but to be on a national stage two years in a row in a BCS game is worth its weight in gold in recruiting and all that goes into it.テつ Obviously with some of the transition that I had within my staff, to show the stability that we have right now, to have three seasons of ten wins or more, in the world of college football there aren't many teams that have won more games than us, Oregon being one, over the last three or four years.テつ All that added together makes it pretty special.

Q.テつ How has Russell Wilson impressed you just as a human being, beyond his athleticism?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Russell Wilson impressed me in the way that he just has consistency.テつ The guy you see here today is the same guy I saw two months ago, three months ago.テつ He's very even keel in his approach, in his demeanor, and I think that's why Saturdays are very easy for him, because nothing surprises him.テつ He's the same guy every day.

Q.テつ Can you walk us through the process of getting him?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Getting Russell?テつ Very unique.テつ In the NCAA manual we've got a book everybody sets on the edge of their desk, about 250 pages, and it's all about high school recruiting and junior college recruiting.テつ There's not really a section on fifth year turnovers.テつ It was a unique situation.テつ Had to get a lot of clarity from the NCAA to be quite honest on how to treat him, how to handle him, how we could recruit him.テつ I asked a lot of questions, had a lot of contact with him via electric communication, emails.テつ We were allowed one phone call a week.テつ He was playing professional baseball.テつ Every day I'd get up and I'd read his stats from the night before when he was playing baseball and try to build‑‑ I don't really like baseball but I was trying to build a relationship with him.テつ So it was pretty unique.
But I think the great thing was when he finally came to campus and you saw the type of person he was and you saw the environment he was going to be walking into, the story of Russell Wilson is great.テつ Obviously Russell is a huge part of that, but the environment he walked into, the culture that we have here at Wisconsin is what made him so comfortable and what made him so comfortable and made him have success.

Q.テつ He said he saw the size of the offensive linemen and he felt comfortable.テつ What was it?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I think twofold.テつ Russell as you can tell is a very people‑oriented person.テつ I thought the kind of people he was going to be around were very important, so the first night of his visit I had him all around the offensive skill, so he was with James White, Montee Ball, Bradie Ewing, Nick Toon, Jared Abbrederis, Jacob Pedersen, all my wide receivers and skill players on offense.テつ And then the next day, knowing that a quarterback likes big linemen, I let him watch our offensive line work out in the morning and then they all paraded in a room and sat down around him, and I don't think he had ever been in the accompaniment of that many big people like that that are good football players.テつ I think those two things were huge in his decision making.

Q.テつ What's he best at?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ I think Russell Wilson is best when people around him are at their worst.テつ He really does make great players play well in difficult situations.テつ His two best quarters of football might have been the fourth quarter against Michigan State and Ohio State.テつ He was absolutely phenomenal, and we just weren't able to come through.

Q.テつ Do you have any concern that Oregon's helmets may cause a disorientation thing on game day?
COACH BIELEMA:テつ Yeah, I've heard about it.テつ I haven't seen it in person yet, but definitely something you've got to deal with, and obviously if it all goes through and it's all legal, it'll be good.テつ But I don't know where it's going to stand at that point.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297