Badgers host second annual Football 101

<b>Head coach Bret Bielema</b>


Head coach Bret Bielema

June 17, 2010

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MADISON, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin football coaching staff teamed with the Madison area Susan G. Komen Foundation to host the Badgers' second annual Football 101 event to raise awareness of breast cancer on Wednesday night at Camp Randall Stadium.

A record 300 women gathered at the Badgers' home for a football equipment presentation, player panel question and answer session, behind-the-scenes tours of Camp Randall and the McClain Athletic Facility, X's and O's with the coaches and on-field practice drills.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation with 75 percent of the funds raised staying in Dane County. The remaining 25 percent will go toward research at the Susan G. Komen Foundation headquarters in Dallas.

Badger football head coach Bret Bielema and his staff enjoy putting on the event nearly as much as the women enjoy participating in it.

"It's definitely different than working with 120, 18 to 22-year-old young men," Bielema said of interacting with 300 women. "You can really feel the energy. This is something that we'd like to build upon. The knowledge that these women have is unbelievable, but the passion is really what's special. It's a great way to rally together and raise awareness of breast cancer."

The event opened with a social hour, during which participants mingled with Bielema and the coaching staff, who all wore pink polo shirts, in the Buckingham Club. The women also enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and beverages while taking advantage of photo opportunities with Bielema and Bucky Badger.

The women then broke into three groups, red, white and pink, that rotated through different sessions before all of the participants gathered on the field inside Camp Randall.

Each group took part in an X's and O's session with Bielema and watched a video in the Dichter-Deutsch Conference Center, exactly where the players learn their playbook. Bielema was joined by offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and defensive coordinator Dave Doeren, who discussed offensive plays and tackling, respectively. The coaches answered questions from the women and even shared the team's "one clap" approach to applause - an idea that some caught on to more quickly than others.

The women also had the opportunity to tour the team's locker room and see the players' equipment up close. Some participants even tried on the equipment to see just what it feels like to wear the gear. No one could believe how big the players' shoes are!

From the locker room, the women moved on to the Badgers' weight room. They participated in strength training exercises with head football strength coach Ben Herbert. Junior running back John Clay was on hand to pose for photos and talk with the women in the weight room as well.

The third session sent the women to the student-athlete dining hall, where the group participated in a question and answer session with five players. Clad in pink sombreros, John Moffitt, Jay Valai, Aaron Henry, Ethan Hemer and J.J. Watt fielded questions from the women about everything from football and family to Madison weather and childhood heroes.

The women learned that Moffitt's childhood hero was the Terminator and that he is definitely the team's biggest prankster. Valai and Henry talked about coming to Madison from warm climates in Texas and Florida, respectively, but both agreed that toughing out the cold winter is worth it in exchange for the rest of the Badger experience. The group disagreed about whether playing offense or defense requires more thought, but Watt had the final word in favor of the defense.

Football 101 ended with a practice session on the field under the lights. All three groups of women gathered together to run through the tunnel into Camp Randall Stadium. On the field, the women participated in practice drills with the coaching staff and players, sharpening their throwing, catching, tackling and hitting skills along with doing some agility drills.

The group took a break to celebrate with "Jump Around" on the fifty yard line before finishing their drills and gathering in the stands for a final word from Bielema and Laura Richards, Development Director of the Madison area Susan G. Komen Foundation.

After recognizing the breast cancer survivors among the group of women, Bielema and Richards thanked everyone for attending and making the second annual event a huge success. The staff handed out door prizes, and the evening concluded with the entire group singing "Varsity" together.

A clear indication of the event's success, participants are already looking forward to next year's Football 101.

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