UW keeps 1-0 mentality

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoOne of the more difficult jobs of any head coach is to help the team put the previous game’s result behind them and prepare for the next opponent, especially after a loss. Bret Bielema has now experienced his first loss as UW’s head football coach and must decide what steps to take to pick his team up after the defeat. “The biggest thing that you have to do as a head coach is understand exactly where you’re at and where you think you can be at the end of the week and give [the team] that plan,” Bielema said at his press conference Monday. “I took our nine team goals that [the team] voted on before the season and did a quick review of where we’re at and what’s left in front of us.”The top goal on the list was keeping the 1-0 mentality, the idea of focusing on one game at a time instead of the season-long picture. “[Next Saturday], they have an opportunity to go 1-0 again,” he said. “I don’t see our guys getting off that track at all.”Offensive Struggles: The Badgers were beaten on both sides of the ball against Michigan, as well as on special teams. Perhaps most glaring were offensive struggles as the Badgers punted on eight straight possessions beginning late in the second quarter, including six straight three-and-outs. The most productive drive that the Badgers could manage in the third quarter was a three-play, 2:49 drive which gained a mere four yards. Many of these possessions to start the second half began with little or no gain on first down, leading to second-and-long situations. “We have to put ourselves in a position to have success,” Bielema said. “As we develop as a team, you have to understand what players you are going to be able to rely on to give you that first-down play. It’s been seen that P.J. (Hill) can run the ball on first down, but on the same account he hasn’t been 100 percent on his reads. If you throw on first down, you’ve got to have pretty good confidence, if you’re going to call something that’s going to be there, that you want that ball to be caught as well.”The lack of production by Badger wide receivers is also notable. Of the 22 receptions against Michigan, only eight were completed to wide receivers, while running back P.J. Hill and tight end Travis Beckum recorded five each. While some may see this as a cause for concern, Bielema is encouraged by the stats. “Some things got spread around, and I’m excited,” he said. “It was a growing experience for our guys to get to where they are right now. Even in [Sunday] night’s practice, I noticed just a little bit more increase of an intensity to get the timing of everything down between the quarterbacks and receivers.”Hoeppner returns to sidelines:Next Saturday, Wisconsin travels to Indiana and Hoosiers head coach Terry Hoeppner is expected to be on the sidelines for the first time since his surgery to remove a brain tumor Sept. 13. While Indiana’s Memorial Stadium won’t be as hostile as the atmosphere at Michigan’s “Big House,” both Hoosier fans and players will have a little extra incentive as they welcome Hoeppner back, and Bielema expects Indiana to come out with more emotion than normal. “I learned very early on in my career that it’s not guaranteed that [the players] respect you just because the word ‘Coach’ is printed on your shirt or your coat; it’s how you handle them and how you react to things that go well, as well as things they don’t do well,” Bielema said. “My guess is they’re going to be able to put a four-quarter game in because of the respect they have for Coach Hoeppner.”last_img

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