September 2013 Archives

Packer's Perspective: First step for the Badgers

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Monday night was full of excitement and I want to thank all the fans who came out and supported the Badgers in our first showing of the season. Congratulations to Brittany Ammerman in her first game back since being out for almost the entire season last year, and also to the freshmen Ann Renee Desbiens, Sydney McKibbon, Sarah Nurse, and Mellissa Channell on their first game as Badgers. 

The freshies proved to be a solid fit for us from the crease all the way to the offensive zone and we look forward to having them contribute this season. The freshmen were also happy with the way their first game went, and were thrilled with having their first experience finally here. 

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"It was an amazing feeling being able to put on the Wisconsin jersey and play in my first game," Sydney McKibbon said.  "I was surprised stepping out on the ice and seeing all the fans that were there to support us and cheer us on. I was definitely a little nervous at first but once our line settled in it was such a fun game. I can't wait to play next weekend in our first season game against Minnesota State." 

McKibbon's good friend, and roommate, freshman defenseman Mellissa Channell had similar emotions.

"Stepping on the ice the first time was incredible," Channell said. "You could feel how high the energy was in the building. The first couple shifts I was a little nervous, but having such a supportive team that feeling went away. Now that I have the first game under my belt I can't wait to get the season going, and begin the journey with the team." 

One freshman the fans may not know yet, is Jenny Ryan. However, this is a name you will want to familiarize yourself with as she too is sure to be an asset for us this year on defense. Jenny is set to return to the ice with us soon and is excited for her college career to begin.

 "I'm looking forward to putting the jersey on for the first time and feeling the excitement of being with the team," Ryan said. "I'm expecting to be a little bit nervous seeing that I haven't played in a while and this is a little bit different than what I am used to playing, but I think that once I get out there I will be too excited to be nervous and it will be a lot of fun."

 I couldn't agree more with Jenny as it will be a lot of fun to have her out there with us and we look forward to the depth that will accompany her as she takes her place back in the line up!

The team had a great showing all around, especially considering we only had two practices against our belt to prepare for a team we have never seen before. We were moving the puck well, communicating with one another, and accomplished our team goal of playing together for a solid 60 minutes. The team was happy with our first performance, but also will use this as a learning tool as we prepare to kick off our WCHA season next weekend against Minnesota State. 

With the motivation of the regular season in mind, we went right back at it Tuesday, competing in a high level practice to try and simulate a game weekend in our typical schedule. We had a good on ice session with the coaches and then hit the weight room to improve our fitness and agility off the ice. Wednesday will be used as a recovery day. Some hot and cold tub contrast, and the ladies are looking forward to reopening the sauna that is an always a good place to relax and socialize. 

This week will finish off with us back on the ice Thursday and Friday, and then we will head out for a team bonding activity Saturday. The team bonding this year is paintball...with a competitive group like the one we have, I am anxious to see how it goes. The coaches also participate in this activity and it's always fun when Coach Johnson starts firing paintballs at you like Rambo! The paintball activity is one we have done in the past and is a fun change of pace from our typical on ice endeavors. 

Following paintball, we will have our annual team BBQ. This is a much anticipated event, especially for the seniors since the volleyball tournament that takes place each year is always won by the senior class (not saying its rigged or anything). The BBQ is a fun time to hang out, relax, eat some good food, and cheer on the Badger football team as they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

This weekend is a nice way to close out the preseason before we hit it hard next week in preparation for Minnesota State. We have a hard working group, with various assets across the board, and are anxious to start the season together. We have a long journey ahead of us, but the positivity and mentality of our group thus far is looking to be a major bonus as we head into the year. Thank you to all the fans who have supported us, and those who came out Monday to cheer us on. We kick off the regular season on Friday, October 4th at 7 p.m. against the Mavericks and hope all who can make it will come out to support us on our journey. Thanks for reading.

On Wisconsin!

- Madison

Better Know a Badger: Rob Wheelwright

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Freshman WR Robert Wheelwright came to Wisconsin this fall with quite the football pedigree. His older brother, Ernie, starred as a receiver for Minnesota from 2004-07 and his grandfather, also named Ernie, was a running back in the 1960s for the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Having grown up around football, Wheelwright is well-suited for his trial by fire at receiver as a true freshman in the Badgers' lineup, which will continue this Saturday in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, against No. 4 Ohio State.

What's it going to be like to be able to go home and play in Columbus?
"It's going to be a great experience, especially to be able to do it with a different team, with a different program, and be able to go back and try to beat my hometown team."

After growing up in Ohio, what made you decide to come to Wisconsin?
"It felt more like home here and I needed to grow up and mature on my own without having family around."

With a brother that played at Minnesota, is there any smack talk between you two now that you're a Badger?
"A little bit. He's here to support me, but when we play the Gophers he said he'd have his Wisconsin shirt on but will have his Minnesota Gophers shirt on underneath. We go back and forth like that, but he's more than likely a Wisconsin fan now."

What have you learned from your brother and grandfather and their football careers?
"I tried to learn everything that I could from them. Everything that they were good at they tried to teach me, and I tried to better myself off of their experiences in the (NFL) and in college football. I learned to take it one day at time, better myself and have a no days off mentality."

As a true freshman, what has it been like to learn and develop in front of 80,000 people every week?
"It has been a challenge, but as you go on, you have people here to help you. Your coaches and teammates are here to help you and so far that has been a great experience. They motivate me and they teach me the good values of being a great receiver."

Which teammates have you learned the most from so far?
"I've learned a lot from Jared Abbrederis, Kenzel Doe and Connor Cummins. They have all helped me in difference aspects of the game. They're all like my big mentors. They've taught be to have confidence, be consistent when I'm on the field and to play out here in front of 80,000 people like you would if it were Little League or if you were playing in front of your family and friends."

- Ryan Evans

The Voice: Relationships don't change reality of rivalry

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It has become one of the Big Ten's more entertaining rivalries, enhanced because both teams have been championship caliber of late. In fact, in the last eight years, either Wisconsin or Ohio State has won the league title.

Taking it a step further, in the last 20 years, the Buckeyes and the Badgers rank 1-2 in the conference for number of victories.

It is the mark of a true, hotly-contested series. Add to it both programs have loyal, vocal fan bases that don't seem to care for one another, and you have the makings for good theatre.

But these days, there is a little twist. Former UW coach Bret Bielema did not see eye-to-eye with OSU's Urban Meyer. In a highly-competitive business, that will happen. However, there is a much different relationship between Gary Andersen and the Buckeyes boss. 

Actually, Andersen and Meyer are good friends and former co-workers. When Meyer was the head man at Utah, Andersen was the defensive line coach. The year they were together, the Utes went 12-0.

Granted, going undefeated is a good way to get along, but both Meyer and Andresen have made it very clear there is much respect and personal admiration between the two men.

It reminds me of the relationship basketball coach Bo Ryan has enjoyed with his Ohio State counterpart, Thad Matta. (For that matter, of much lesser importance, our broadcast team gets along extremely well with the Ohio State radio crew. Knowing that, I am sure you will sleep much better tonight.)

Sure, every one of these coaches is a fierce competitor, and when the teams square off, each wants his squad to beat the daylights out of the opponent. But each is careful to make it about the players, not coach versus coach. 

So, knowing that Andersen and Meyer are buds, does that alter your view of this rivalry?  Does it lesson the hype?  Does it make it any less enjoyable?

Nah, didn't think so. It is still Ohio State. Be honest -- you don't like the Buckeyes -- and they are not fond of the Badgers.

Understandable. Think about some of the recent meetings. It was 10 years ago when Matt Schabert connected with Lee Evans for the game-winning touchdown toss at Camp Randall Stadium. Good ol' 56 Jerk. That was the name of the play, with Evans running an out and up past star defensive back Chris Gamble.

Three years ago, there was David Gilreath's opening haymaker, a 97-yard kickoff return that sent the home crowd into a frenzy. Actually, the crowd had been in a frenzy for hours. The return ramped it up another notch -- or three.

Ohio State has had its moments too, especially recently. Last November Curt Phillips engineered a clutch scoring drive in the final minute of regulation, only to see the Buckeyes win in overtime. Two years ago was even worse, when a Russell Wilson-led rally was washed out by Braxton Miller's 40-yard strike to Devin Smith.

This Saturday night, I have the feeling it will be another close game. If that is the case, perhaps it is the Badgers turn to land the final blow.

Whatever happens, Andersen and Meyer will remain friends. At some point in the offseason, they likely will get together.

Friends and rivals. While not exactly a new concept, it is a change of pace in this series. 

It is just another interesting storyline in what has become a much-talked about matchup between two very good football programs, and two very good coaches.

Packer's Perspective: The excitement continues

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Hey followers! It was a big weekend for the Wisconsin women's hockey team, full of excitement and activity. We were introduced on the football field Saturday as the football guys took on and defeated Purdue, and were joined by Team Japan, our opponent for the game Monday.

 I also had the privilege of sitting on the patio with a few fans from the Children's Hospital. This was an amazing experience. I am always humbled when meeting these young kids who take on life with such courage. They were so full of life and happy to be there watching the game and cheering the Badgers on, despite the battles many of them face on a daily basis in their own lives. These kids are such and inspiration and it was a great experience for me to get to know them. I want to thank them for coming out and supporting Badger athletics and wish them luck and the best as they continue on the road to lead healthy lives.

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There was another exciting moment at the Badger game this weekend for those who did not attend. Army Captain Jane Renee "JR" Lund has been stationed in southern Afghanistan for the last several months, but was able to return home sooner than her anticipated October arrival and surprise her daughter Bella on the field during an intermission. This reunion was one that brought fans to their feet, roaring praise and applaud from the student section, and left several people in joyful tears (including myself). It was a beautiful reunion to witness, and I want to thank Captain Jane Renee for her service. It was an emotional reunion on the field, and one that touched the hearts of many as we stood by watching. I am grateful for Captain Lund and all she has done to serve our country, and wish her and her daughter nothing but the best as they catch up on life that has passed while she was away.
Along with these exciting moments, the Badgers took the ice for our first two official practices of the season. It was great to finally be able to kick off the year. The tempo was high, faces were smiling, and the coaches put us right to work. We went over a number of things to prepare us for the game against Japan, and it was great to get back into the swing of things after a long summer of training and conditioning. Monday night we will see just what our summer training has done as we gear up to face Japan in our first match of the 2013-14 season. I encourage all those who have time to come out and support us, admission is free, and it is sure to be a great experience as playing a national team is not something that happens often! I hope all had a great weekend, perhaps just as exciting as that of the Wisconsin women's hockey team, and we hope to see you out at LaBahn as we take on Team Japan! Check the blog in the days following the game as I will have a post filled with after thoughts and reactions to our first game as a team!

Until then, thanks for reading and On Wisconsin! 

- Madison

Infographic: Badgers plow past Purdue

A graphical look at the Badgers' 41-10 win over Purdue as UW opened the Big Ten season with a victory and ran its win streak in the series to eight straight games:

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Packer's Perspective: Back to the ice

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The time is drawing near and the anticipation of the season is beginning to make some of us restless. We have been on the ice a few times, not in full go practice yet as there are rules and regulations that we have to follow, but the team couldn't be more excited to open up at home next Monday against Team Japan. This weekend is set to be a fun one, with the football guys returning back to Camp Randall to play Purdue, and we get announced on the field, which is always a highlight of the year!!
 
Things have been pretty quiet for us as girls settle into their class schedules, and get ready for the season to begin. The focus and commitment of the team is awesome! We just completed our series of preseason tests, consisting of numerous off-ice strength and conditioning tests, along with the dreaded on-ice shuttles, but the girls rallied together and killed it!

The team has been busy breaking in new gear, and putting the final touches on personal preferences as we prepare for the season to be underway. Our director of ops Paul Hickman had a bit of a scare when freshman, Sarah Nurse, attempted to put black tape on the knob of her stick (a huge no no) but she was straightened out and Paul was able to maintain his sanity.

The first round of exams are just around the corner for some of us, as crazy as it seems. In two weeks or so, about the time of our first regular season home game, many of us will already have one exam under our belt! Whether it be exams, practices, or the quality down time, life is good for the Badgers in Madison. We are excited to head into the weekend and prepare for the upcoming game against Team Japan! Hope to see all those who can make it at LaBahn Arena at 7 p.m. Monday night!

Thanks for reading, On Wisconsin!

-Madison


Better Know a Badger: Joe Schobert

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After graduating from Waukesha West High School, Joe Schobert was set to walk on to the North Dakota football team. That was before a breakout performance in a Wisconsin state all-star game that drew the attention of UW coaches, however. Now, the sophomore linebacker is coming off the first start of his career after making a rapid rise up the depth chart at Wisconsin.

What's it been like to go from walk-on at North Dakota to starter at UW?
"It means a lot to me to be playing for my home state team. Playing for the Badgers is what every Wisconsin kid dreams about growing up watching games every Saturday. It's crazy to think about where I could be if the opportunity to play for UW didn't present itself, and to have the chance to start last Saturday was a great feeling."

How did it feel to get the call from the Badgers saying they were interested?
"It was a little hectic at the time, as I was set to head to North Dakota, but it all worked out once everything settled down. It was a great feeling and was a big relief that I would be closer to my family and they'd be able to come watch games, even if I wasn't playing." 

You were a four-sport athlete in high school. Why did you settle on football?
"After my junior season of football, we did really well and won a state championship and I had a good year, so coaches started calling and sending letters. That was the first time I realized I could play Division I football and could achieve that if I worked hard and put time into it."

What led to your rise up the depth chart beginning in the spring?
"Unfortunately we had a number of guys get hurt during camp, and while that was unfortunate for them, it provided me with an opportunity to step up and make plays. All you have to do is make a couple of plays and the coaches will take notice and stick you in more situations. You have to keep coming in every day and working like you don't have another day and try to take advantage of every opportunity they give you."

What's it like playing in a 3-4 defense? What adjustments have you made?
"The best thing for me is the new defense since everyone is on the same level playing field, in terms of learning. Last season I came in a receiver, then a safety and eventually moved to linebacker at the start of the season, so I was always in catch-up mode. I didn't know exactly what I was doing all the time and was always trying to catch up in the playbook. This year, everyone started out on the same page and everyone was learning at the same pace. I think that really helped me."

What makes you suited to play the field-side linebacker in the 3-4 scheme?
"It's more of a hybrid safety-linebacker position. I have prior experience as a safety covering tight ends and playing in space. I'm fast enough to take the offensive tackles by surprise sometimes on speed rushes and blitzes. I also have leverage on the outside against the run. We have one read and we know what we're doing and we get to make plays off of that."

QUICK Qs WITH JOE

Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter

Favorite Meal?
Victory meal of lobster, crab or filet mignon

Favorite Athlete?
Clay Matthews

Favorite Quote?
"I've failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan 

Favorite Spot on Campus?
Memorial Union Terrace

Secret Talents?
Playing video games


- Ryan Evans

The Voice: Reaction reveals Badgers' true character

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Before I started writing this column, I thought maybe I should move on to another topic. The old line "The horse is dead. Get off of it," comes to mind.

Then again, as an observer I have a luxury that a coach or a player does not have -- I can hang on to a topic a bit longer.

In the aftermath of last Saturday's baffling ending in Tempe, it has been amazing to see how UW head coach Gary Andersen and his players have dealt with it. Of course fans are upset. I was ticked off. Still am. 

Yet try to imagine how they feel. The players and coaches who worked all week, and all night, at Sun Devil Stadium only to have a bungled piece of officiating deny them a chance to win the game fair and square.

Leaving the stadium that night, one could not help but be impressed by how the head coach and the players handled the media session.

I was thinking about that, and about how the officiating crew simply ran off the field, with no worries about facing questions from reporters.

What is wrong with that picture?

Look, when talking about officials, a team's radio announcer is walking a tight rope. We are all homers, right? So I'll stop there and focus on other matters.

Such as the postgame interviews. On our radio broadcast, we always interview the head coach and when possible, a player. Last Saturday night we did our usual interview with Andersen, which included a few questions about the final play. He answered the questions on point, and was a complete professional.

After thanking him, I stalled for a few moments, not sure whether we would be able to talk to a player. I then went into a rather lengthy commercial break. Just as I went into the break, our sideline reporter, Patrick Herb, informed me that Chris Borland would be available. I told Patrick to relay the message that the break would last a few minutes, and with the team wanting to get home, we would understand if Chris just wanted to move on.

Nope. Borland waited out the long break, and we had our interview. 

It may be a minor thing, but to me it is just another example of what Chris Borland is about, and what this program is about. Credibility and accountability.

Every Monday, Andersen meets with the media. As you would expect, this week's session was very well attended, and everyone was eager to hear more from the coach regarding Saturday's bizarre ending.

Perhaps he was still steaming on the inside, but on the outside, he was cool, calm and collected. He made it clear that, while the outcome of the game will not change, he wants accountability. Just as he expects from himself and his players.

As he was answering question after question, I just kept thinking to myself "This guy is good."

By the nature of our jobs, Gary Andersen and I spend a fair amount of time together. We conduct various radio interviews as well as a couple of segments on his weekly TV show. Still, I can't say we really know each other that well yet. 

However, with each passing day, I am more and more convinced the Badgers football program is not in good hands. It is in great hands.

So to the fans, go ahead and be upset about how the game ended. But I would hope you are proud of how your team, led by its coach, responded after a game ended by circumstances beyond its control.

Matt Lepay is the Voice of fhe Badgers and provides play-by-play coverage of Wisconsin football and men's basketball on the Badger Sports Network. Read "The Voice" each Thursday in Varsity, the official digital magazine of Wisconsin Athletics.

Better Know a Badger: Sam Arneson

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The tight end tradition at Wisconsin is well-documented as the Badgers have sent numerous players at that position to the NFL. UW again boasts a promising crop of tight ends this season, including junior Sam Arneson, who hopes to put his name among Wisconsin's historic list of standouts at his position. Arneson, a Merrill, Wis., native, has two catches for 17 yards this season.

Your dad, Dave Arneson, played football at Wisconsin in the 1980s. What does it mean to you to be able to follow in his footsteps and wear the Cardinal and White?
"It means a lot. Like every other kid in Wisconsin I grew up as a huge Badgers fan. With my dad being a former player and my mom having gone to school here, I grew up coming to Madison all the time. I have been going to games since I was 4 years old. I've always had the dream of being a Badger and I worked hard and was fortunate and lucky and be able to come here and follow in my father's footsteps."

What has been the highlight of your Badgers career so far?

"There have been so many cool moments that I've been fortunate to have. I've been able to be a part of two straight Big Ten championship teams. Obviously scoring a touchdown in last year's Big Ten championship game was pretty darn cool. The Rose Bowl is always a special event. Not many guys get a chance to play in a game like that, so going out there twice was very special."

Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has said he feels like his has four tight ends that he is confident in. How does that level of depth at your position help the offense?
"You've seen us use three tight ends on the field at a time this season, which has been awesome. You've seen us be able to rotate guys in and out if someone is tired or nicked up or something. We have so much depth at tight end that we're all ready to step up and not miss a beat. That is great to have. We also have so much experience at the position with three fifth-year seniors and myself, a junior. Tight ends have really been a strength for our offense so far and we're going to continue to try and get better and keep building that."

Wisconsin has produced a number of NFL tight ends in recent years. It's had both blocking-type players, like Jake Byrne, and noted pass-catchers, like Owen Daniels and Lance Kendricks, latch on with NFL teams. What type of tight end do you see yourself as?
"I see myself as a mix. I wouldn't say one or the other. Somebody who was here recently and did both, like me, is Garrett Graham. That's somewhat the style that I play. They'll line me up as the Y, but they can also split me out wide. That's the key, to be versatile, that way they can use me at any time. One of my first coaches always said, 'don't limit yourself, be able to do both.' So I've really worked on being able to both block and catch passes and I think that has helped me see the field as much as I could."

What has the new coaching staff brought to the offense this season?
"The offense hasn't changed too much. We're back to, even more, stressing the details again. There is more of an emphasis on all the little things, all the time. That's what's going to make us a good team. When you're tired, focusing on the little things and making them happen is what will make us a successful team."

The defense has gotten off to a strong start this season. What challenges to they pose to the offense in practice?
"You can't get much stronger than back-to-back shutouts. We went against them all spring all fall and that defense is a son of a gun to go against. That 3-4 (formation) presents some things that you don't see that often. Most of the Big Ten teams are 4-3 teams, so you're not used to seeing it and also, we have some good players on our defense. They play hard and are well-coached, so I can see why they've been successful so far and I expect them to keep it up."

- Ryan Evans

Badgers make appearance on "Wake Up Wisconsin"

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WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Although practice has yet to begin for the University of Wisconsin swimming and diving team, there was good reason to be up at 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning...and it didn't involve any type of aerobic activity.

The four Badgers (Ivy Martin, Michael Weiss, Drew teDuits & Nick Caldwell) recently named to the 2013-14 U.S. National Team, were invited to join Lindsay Veremis as guests on Wake Up Wisconsin, a daily show that appears during the mornings on WKOW.

The short trip to the west side of Madison consisted of a short stay in the main newsroom and brief tour of the WKOW studio. Below are a few tweets from the morning of the interview: 

Badger Blog: Hall of Fame week

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In today's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy writes about the start of a new school year and Andrea Kirchberg's induction into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame.  

Welcome back Badger softball fans. We are thrilled to have everyone back on campus and to kick-off the 2013-14 season. This first week of classes has been filled with activities, events and inspiration in Madison. We'll try to share some stories and photos from our exciting first week.

On August 30, Andrea Kirchberg became the first Badger softball student-athlete inducted into the Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame. In her amazing career, Andrea set numerous school records for wins (87), strikeouts (1156) and more, while leading her team to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2001 and 2002.

Our entire team attended the Hall of Fame reception. We were so inspired, hearing about Andrea's determination, grit and legacy. She's faced a great deal of personal adversity throughout her life, and those challenges have never stopped Andrea from achieving unseen heights in athletic accomplishments. 

We were all touched when one of Andrea's teammates, Boo Gillette shared a few stories about what Andrea meant to her as a leader in the Badger softball program.  

"Andrea was one of the first ones to take me under her wing and show me campus and a FUN time! She always made sure I was taken care of at practice and not pushed around by the upper classmen. She was the one who made me realize that I could be a true leader as a freshman and win a starting spot.
 
Andrea was a work horse for the team. We always knew if she was on the mound; we had a shot to win. She threw the majority of the innings while she was there and never complained. She pitched through broken ribs, an injured forearm and many other soreness issues from over use. She was very fit and pushed herself to always be stronger in the weight room.

Andrea had a really hard childhood. She never used that as an excuse. She used it as a motivating factor. She is one tough cookie! I love Andrea Kirchberg ... and always will. She is the type of friend that you can go months or years without talking to and when you see her, it is as if you were with her the day before. She was such a stud on the mound and such a loyal friend in life. Andrea truly has it all: beauty, smarts, athletic ability and a kind heart. I am so proud of Andrea for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. She is by far the greatest pitcher in Wisconsin softball history and no one is more deserving of this honor."

Watching Andrea get inducted into the Hall of Fame, and seeing how current and former Badger softball athletes responded to the event was really inspirational. It's always incredible to meet someone who changes the course of history and the trajectory of a program. Andrea helped put Wisconsin softball on the map and her records still stand today. Her ability to battle adversity with grace and courage is incredible. Even now, you can sense her competitiveness and drive. She's such a strong role model for our Wisconsin softball family. We're all blessed for having the opportunity to hear her story and share in the pride and accomplishments she's brought to the Badger softball program. 

Packer's Perspective: Back to school

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The time is finally here! The first day of class, we are all so excited to be back in school...On a more enthusiastic note, the team is geared up and ready to hit the ice for the first time together as a squad in the 2013-14 season in the upcoming weeks. As summer came to an end we had a few barbeques as a group, enjoying the outdoors, and the above average grilling skills of senior goaltender, Ilana Friedman. 

We also appeared as the guest team at the first Badgerville of the 2013 Wisconsin football season. After a few onstage words from myself, and motivation for what is to come from junior forward, Blayre Turnbull, a number of us put on our festive Badger apparel, and headed to Camp Randal to cheer our fellow Badgers on to the football team's first win of the season over UMass. It was a fun weekend, and the first Jump Around of the year is always a great tradition to take part in.

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Labor Day was spent at the Friedman's home in Middleton, where we relaxed in their amazing garden, complements of Ms. Friedman herself. We enjoyed everything from brats and burgers, to five star chicken marinated by sophomore defenseman, Courtney Burke.

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The first day of classes is always crazy, our freshman were pretty good about not getting lost on their first day, but you can always count on someone to go to her Monday classes on Tuesday, and this year it was SENIOR Ilana Friedman...she will learn, just may take graduating to get there. My schedule is pretty prime, no classes too early, and not an overwhelming load, but for the engineers in the group such as juniors Katy Josephs and Katarina Zgraja and sophomore Jorie Walters, the class schedule feels a bit more overwhelming I would assume. Classes are a just starting to kick off and it should be a fun semester as everyone seems pretty comfortable and confident about their course load!

The group is a pretty special squad this season, and every get together is full of laughter and inside jokes. The team is motivated and ready to go to work this season, and can't wait to see the fans out at our first game against Japan in just a few weeks! Now that the season is gearing up, the blog will be updated more frequently, and will include a behind the scene look at what this Badger squad is doing on our journey to the top this season! Until next time, On Wisconsin!

-Madison

Infographic: Badgers blast Tennessee Tech

A graphical look at the Badgers' 48-0 win over Tennessee Tech to improve to 2-0 on the season and become the first Big Ten team to record consecutive shutouts to open a season since 1963.

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Which teams are Badgers' NFL favorites?

Varsity_130905_Cover_Image.jpgWith the NFL season kicking off Thursday, this week's edition of Varsity magazine posed the question to a number of UW student-athletes: Which NFL team is your favorite?

You can read the responses in Varsity, but here are a couple from members of the UW football team that didn't make the magazine. Also be sure to check out our Badgers in the NFL page for updates on all 30 former UW players that made NFL rosters.

Bart Houston - Redshirt Freshman QB (Dublin, Calif.)
"Even though I'm from California, I'm a Green Bay Packers fan. My dad is a lifelong Packers fan and actually named me after Bryan Bartlett 'Bart' Starr. My full name is Bartlett, but I've always chosen to go by Bart."

Rob Havenstein - Junior RT (Mount Airy, Md.)
"The NFL was never really my thing. My brother really liked the Baltimore Ravens, so I cheered for anyone who was playing the Ravens. Then I came to UW and didn't have anyone to root for, so I started cheering for the Ravens again because they were winning. But don't tell anyone that. I've been telling everyone I'm a lifelong, diehard Ravens fan."

Corey Clement - Freshman RB (Glassboro, N.J.)
"It was the Philadelphia Eagles, but once my man Terrell Owens left I went with the Dallas Cowboys. But then they fell off and T.O. left, and after that my NFL fandom fell off. So, I really don't have a favorite NFL team right now."

Better Know a Badger: Tyler Marz

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Sophomore OL Tyler Marz (61) found a home at left tackle in the Badgers' season-opening 45-0 win over UMass last Saturday. The 6-foot-5, 321-pound Marz got his first career start when he lined up at left tackle against the Minutemen after bouncing around a number of positions during fall camp.
 
Your last name is pronounced (MARE-its) nothing like its spelled. Does anyone ever get it right on the first try?
"I don't think so. No one did through high school and no one has during college. It's become a first day of school tradition of sorts. It's a 100 percent German name, or at least that's what my parents told me."
 
You've had the opportunity to sit behind some NFL-caliber offensive linemen in your career at Wisconsin. What have you been able to learn from them?
"A lot of technique stuff like hand and foot placement, as well as learning to dive into the playbook. They always gave me pointer here and there, such as what defenses are going to do against you -- they were all very smart that way. It has been a positive to have those guys in front of me and leading me on."
 
What is it like to block for the high-caliber running backs at Wisconsin?
"Having those three guys (James White, Melvin Gordon, Corey Clement) back there, and knowing that they are hard runners, is awesome and it's great to block for them. It is our job to do that, so we come in here every day, work hard and do that. Hopefully the outcome is that they all do get 100 yards every time out. That's our duty and that's the goal we have for them every day."
 
What has it been like to work with new offensive line coach T.J. Woods?
"He's been great. He's really good at teaching the defensive looks, a lot like what the upper classmen linemen will do. He's really good at teaching technique, even if it's the slightest thing like working your feet, or balance. Overall he's just a great coach."
 
You had a rapid ascent up the depth chart during fall camp. What's it like now to have the opportunity to be a starter?
"It's a great feeling. All of my hard work up until now is paying off. Now I have to keep adding on to that and keep building. I got my first start out of the way on Saturday and got some of the nerves out. Now I can keep building on that because there is a lot that I need to keep working on. I'd like to improve my technique, speed, physicality and dive into the playbook even more and overall become a better player."
 
You were a three-sport star in high school (baseball, basketball, football). What was your favorite sport?
"I did a lot of basketball growing up, I was in AAU stuff and I played spring and summer baseball. Football was actually the sport I took up last, but I started to focus on it more as I started getting some looks from colleges."

- Ryan Evans

Archived Gameday Blog: Football vs. UMass

The UWBadgers.com Gameday Blog had all the coverage of Wisconsin's 45-0 season-opening win over UMass on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Recap the action as it happened here: Gameday Blog: Wisconsin Football vs. UMass
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Well Badger fans, our regular season is well underway! We have already completed our first road trip and just finished another series against the University of Oregon as well as Oregon State. It is safe to say that the first two series were a definite success and a great start to the year with three wins and a tie.  Not only was the soccer successful, but also the traveling has been a blast with the team.

Our team has come up with a game called "What are the odds?", and it provides endless entertainment, especially while on the road.  The game is played by asking a specific player what the odds are of completing a certain crazy task, similar to a dare in the game Truth or Dare.  The player in question then responds with an odds amount, such as 1 in 10.  

At the count of three, the person who is being asked, as well as the person asking the question must say a number that falls within the two numbers that were chosen.  If the two teammates say the same number, the task must be carried through, no questions asked.  After beginning the game in preseason, we have witnessed some hilarious things, such as wild hairstyles, unusual outfits, or even jokes to be played on the coaching staff.  

The game has been an amazing team building exercise and always delivers a ton of laughs. One highlight of the game so far has been seeing freshman goalie Meghan Ledin sprint through the Madison airport pretending to miss her flight to Oregon.

Another activity that was a memorable one for the team was touring the athletic facilities at the University of Oregon.  Although there is no doubt that we consider them our enemies since we faced off this past Friday night, there is also no denying that their facilities are some of the coolest we have seen, outside UW's of course.  

Thursday morning we got to practice right outside the gates of Tracktown USA and the famous Hayward Field.  Seeing the huge posters of Prefontaine was especially exciting for Kinley McNicoll, who considers him her favorite athlete of all-time.  After practice we headed to their game field to get a feel for the turf and the stadium as a whole.  Upon seeing all of the "O's" surrounding us, it was only fitting that we got a team picture in the shape of a W to show them that we had arrived and meant business. 
 
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Once we completed our walk-around of their field, we were given inside access to their team's locker room and film room.  A definite highlight of the tour was seeing the duck-shaped candy that was available in the team's locker room.  As Nicole La Petina commented on her Instagram picture, we couldn't wait to "bEAT the Ducks".  The last stop on the tour was Autzen Football Stadium, and even though it was an amazing field, in my mind there is still no competing with Camp Randall. 

After traveling from Eugene to Corvallis, we ended our stay in Portland on Sunday afternoon/evening.  Once we no longer had a game to immediately focus on, the team got the opportunity to unwind with some shopping in downtown Portland.  The Nike store was a must-see, so it was only fitting that very few girls left without a shopping bag in their hands.  With our wallets empty, we returned to the hotel for a quick night of sleep before our 5:30 am flight home.

Traveling coast-to-coast has been an amazing experience with this year's team, just like the rest of preseason has been.  Not only did we see new places and face unfamiliar opponents, but we ended the preseason undefeated, which is a huge feat for such a young group.  Although the trips have been filled with both on-field success and off-field fun, we are ready to turn the page and focus our sights on our huge game Friday night against Vanderbilt.  

The match will be our regular season home opener and also our promotional PAC the MAC game.  We can't wait to return to Madison to keep the unbeaten streak alive, and more importantly, protect our home turf.
ON WISCONSIN