UW Health Sports Medicine 

Notes from Bielema news conference

IMG_9278_sm.jpgCoach Bielema met with media on Monday. A complete transcript and video from the session are available here. If you don't want to read the entire thing, here are some topics he touched on:

Linebacker depth
"At the mike position, (Chris) Borland's there. I think Marcus Trotter has popped into that position, and a guy that we're really excited about through two practices, and we got to see them all fall.

"Derek (Watt) has handled that spot, had a great practice on Tuesday. We'll get reps out there with the ones out there today when Chris isn't in there, just really instinctive, makes a lot of nice, just natural football plays that you love to see. So I think he's in there in conjunction with the possibility of maybe Jake Keefer and, obviously, Marcus Trotter."

WR Marquis Mason
"Nobody made a bigger jump, in my opinion, in a certain couple areas from Thursday to (Saturday) as Marquis. I mean, he made a couple nice catches last Thursday, but he's playing the old high school ball with a ball out here. And he's got such big mitts.

"I remember the first (day), at the beginning of practice, we do this thing called pat-and-go. And I just kind of was standing there. I was watching everybody kind of move around, and all of a sudden this big body ran in front of me. And the ball was behind him, and he just reached back with this left hand, caught it in mid-air, did a complete 360 and took off running. Didn't put his other hand on it.

"He's so freaky athletically. He's, basically, a full year removed from the ACL (surgery), and he's a kid that I think had to battle through a lot upstairs as well as with his knee. Those basketball guys ... you've got to take your time with them. And we brought that mentality."

"Two things, I think, with our quarterbacks. I just want to see that composure in the huddle, being able to communicate, "Hey, this is the verbiage. This is the language." And that's been outstanding. I think both of them, even the players around them, have noticed that right away going into the first practice last Thursday.

"And then the second thing is just post-snap reads and reactions. Obviously if we're running a run play, there's not much to it. They know where it's going. They know how to hand it off and let everything else happen. We'll do some adjustments at the line of scrimmage, whether it's going right or left like we've always done.

"But in the passing game, being able to recognize pre-snap what the coverage is, being able to execute post-snap (with) decision making, and both of them have been outstanding. I believe we're looking at over a 70-percent completion percentage through two practices, which we've never been at that level with those kind of quarterbacks at this point through two practices, so it's been pretty amazing to me."

***Buy tickets to the Badger Spring Game on April 28 (4 p.m.)***