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Badgers fans fire up at pep rally

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Badgers fans turned out in force Tuesday to fire up for the Capital One Bowl at the team's official pep rally at Pointe Orlando. They were treated to comments from seniors Jared Abbrederis, Chris Borland and James White, along with head coach Gary Andersen, director of athletics Barry Alvarez, Badgers legend Ron Dayne and UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank. The UW Marching Band wrapped things up with a 30-minute performance that included all the usual fan favorites, from the Bud Song to Varsity.

- Photos: Capital One Bowl Pep Rally

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Comedy, drama abound at kickoff luncheon

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Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen put his comedic chops on display -- with some jokes at the expense of South Carolina and Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier -- and seniors Chris Borland, Ryan Groy and James White provided some drama in winning the "Capital One Minute Challenge" over their counterparts from South Carolina at the Capital One Bowl Kickoff Luncheon on Tuesday.

Andersen's one-liners were a hit with emcee Dave Pasch of ESPN and at least half the room -- the side wearing red -- while Borland, Groy and White combined to win two of the three games styled after the game show "Minute to Win It." That included Groy snapping 42 rolls of toilet paper into a basket that Borland held 20 feet away (South Carolina managed 27 rolls in the same 60-second window) and White successfully unrolling a pair of streamers before his Gamecock opponent.

- Photos: 2014 Capital One Bowl Kickoff Luncheon


Badgers meet the media



Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, senior WR Jared Abbrederis and senior LB Chris Borland represented the Badgers at a Monday press conference in Orlando to preview the Capital One Bowl.

Among the highlights:

- Ludwig on the Badgers' offensive game plan for South Carolina: "We're going to play to our strength. We're a run/play-action team. That's the way we're built. So we're going to go into the game with that mindset. I don't think there's any surprise there."

- Aranda on defending South Carolina: "I see great athletes. I see an offense that can go from a power run game to a spread attack. I see an offense that can change plays based upon the defensive structure."

- Abbrederis on head coach Gary Andersen: "I think he just brought back the fun in football."

- Borland on the Badgers being favored in the game: "I was a little surprised. We're confident that we're going to win. It's just this huge SEC, you know, bias out there that they're a great conference -- which they are. But, yeah, I was surprised but still confident -- and we expect to win."

Here's the complete transcript of the Badgers' remarks

Badgers look to score more than points

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The scoreboard will be the focus of the Wisconsin football team during the Capital One Bowl on Wednesday. After the game, however, the Badgers' focus will be on a different tally.

Members of the team will be checking to see how their efforts to get in the end zone on game day helped raise funds for a rare disease through UW's chapter of Uplifting Athletes.

Fans can pledge a specific amount to donate for each touchdown the Badgers score in the Capital One Bowl, with each score multiplying the amount the UW chapter raises to battle the disease Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis X.

Thoese interested can pledge a contribution using PledgePlatform.

"Fans can start by being familiar with the fight against rare diseases and donating. Anything will help," said UW running back and Uplifting Athletes chapter president Jeff Lewis. "Pledges made by our fans and supporters will be compared to South Carolina at the end of the game. 

"Our goal is to have more money raised than they do."

UW's Uplifting Athletes chapter supports fundraising efforts to battle the rare disease Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis X because of the team's friendship with Madison teen Darien Moran, who grew close to the Badgers while receiving treatment for the disease.

Those efforts led to the Badgers to undertake the touchdown pledge drive that will pit UW against South Carolina off the field, as well. The Gamecocks' chapter of Uplifting Athletes raises funds and awareness for Pelizaeus-Merzbacher, an inherited rare disease that affects the central nervous system.

"We started a Chapter at Wisconsin to be part of the good Uplifting Athletes was doing," UW linebacker Chris Borland said. "The desire was strengthened when we met Darien."

Badgers react to Packers' winning TD


The Badgers had a busy day Sunday that began with the Day for Kids at DisneyQuest. Some players stayed at Walt Disney World to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth, but many were sure to pull up a seat at the team hotel to watch the Green Bay Packers' regular-season finale against Chicago. 

The reaction when Packers QB Aaron Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown? Priceless.

Most in the room were thrilled with the Packers' push into the playoffs by securing the NFC North Division title. Except for Bears fan Vonte Jackson, that is. The running back -- decked out in his Matt Forte jersey -- wasn't as pleased with the result.

The Camp: Orlando - Episode 2


The latest installment of "The Camp: Orlando" goes behind the scenes of the Badgers' preparations for the Capital One Bowl, from the team's chartered flight on a 747 to practice in Orlando to a Best Buy shopping spree and more.

Some fun for a good cause

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With a day off from practice, the Badgers traveled to Walt Disney World on Sunday. The first stop was DisneyQuest, where the Badgers and South Carolina teamed up to have some fun with Orlando area children in need. The players and the children they were paired with spent nearly two hours enjoying three stories worth of games and activities at the giant interactive arcade.

The impact was easy to see, with smiles on the faces of both the kids and the players.

- Photos: Kids Day at Disney


Photos: Practice #3

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The Sunshine State brought rain Saturday as the Wisconsin football team practiced for the third time since arriving in Orlando. The Badgers' 14-period session at Freedom High School started off on a damp note before the rain gave way to some stray rays of sun.

- Photos: Capital One Bowl Practice #3

UW will take Sunday off from practice and head to DisneyQuest at Walt Disney World to join Capital One Bowl foe South Carolina for a special charity event involving area children. The team will then have several hours to explore the Disney grounds on their own before returning to the team hotel for a brief walk-through.

Quoting the Badgers: Caputo, Southward

FB_131228_Southward_Dez.jpgThe Badgers were back on the practice field at Freedom High School in Orlando on Saturday, drilling through some light rain as they continued to work toward Wednesday's Capital One Bowl matchup against South Carolina. Here's a sampling of what safeties Dez Southward and Michael Caputo had to say after practice:

Senior S Dezmen Southward
On Badgers' approach to bowl prep: "We've been preparing for a month. You don't need to come out here and practice for three hours. If you're not understanding and getting better at this point, it's probably not going to happen. We have the game plan. It's about getting us fresh -- getting our legs ready, getting our minds ready -- to go out and play a four-quarter game."

Sophomore S Michael Caputo
On ending season on high note: "We definitely know we can compete in this game and know we can do better than we did in our last performance."

On the loss to Penn State:
"It's one of those where you learn from it and you move on. I'm not dwelling on it. I'm not standing here harping on it. It's one of those things where you look at it and say, 'I know I can do this better, do this better, do this better.' You learn from it and move on."

On how Penn State loss affected team: "Nothing really changed. Our demeanor didn't change other than we're a little angrier and a little hungrier to get back out there. After the announcement came out that we were going to play South Carolina, we zoned in and got right into the playbook and watching film."

Quoting the Badgers: Hammock, White

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Members of Wisconsin's offense met the media following Friday's practice at Freedom High School in Orlando. Here's a sampling of what the Badgers had to say, from senior RB James White and assistant coach Thomas Hammock:

Running backs coach Thomas Hammock
On South Carolina's defense: "They're certainly as good as advertised, I'll tell you that. Their defensive line is really, really stout. Jadeveon Clowney is as good of a player as I've seen on tape (this year) and we have to be ready to step up to the challenge."

On being in Orlando: "The weather is nice. It may be raining right now but I don't mind being out here. It's been a good experience. It's a great bowl trip. Everything has been first class. We're just excited to get to the game. As a coach you get antsy and you're ready to play, put this work behind us and play against great competition."

On staying fresh with a month between games: "We've spaced practices out. We've had shorter practices. I think the kids are mentally sharp. We've got some good practice time for our developmental guys that we expect to contribute next year. But we try to get them in and get them out (of practice)."

Senior RB James White

On losing the last three bowl games: "It's tough. You definitely want to send the seniors out on a high note. I haven't won a bowl game so I'm anxious to get out there and get a win. It motivates me a lot, and I know it motivates those guys (other seniors) as well. With a new coaching staff, we definitely want to get Coach Andersen a bowl win in his first year. It's a lot of fun coming down here for a bowl game but at the same time it's a business trip."

On closing out his senior season: "You just have to stay focused. A lot of guys here have a lot of big things ahead of them and some dreams to capture but right now you have to focus in on this week. We have one week left, a couple days left and you have to stay locked in and prepare the right way."

ON WISCONSIN