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October 13, 2011

Notes: Bielema pens letter to fans

MADISON - There's an infamous chant that likes to circle its way throughout the Camp Randall corridors on a weekly basis.

Maybe you've heard it.

It's the one that perfectly splits the student section in half and it's the one that pits one group of students against the other. The only form of verbal ammunition comes by the way of a particular four-letter curse word.

Well, apparently after Tom Osborne chastised the Badger faithful for that chicanery earlier this week, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema and athletic director Barry Alvarez worded a letter to fans calling for the end to that chant.

The original letter can be seen on uwbadgers.com.

"We think you are more creative than this," the letter read. "We believe you want to represent yourselves, your university and the football program in a classier manner than this. We believe you can have a great time at Camp Randall without chanting four-letter words."

Bielema was asked about the letter during his Thursday meeting with reporters.

"The negative part about it is you don't want the profanities," Bielema said. "We've actually had to restructure where we sit recruits at times. If you come into the stadium for the first time and you've never heard it it's kind of shocking.

"We have so many positive things and such a great student section. It has an effect on the game ant that's big."

When asked, Bielema did say that the negative chanting during a particular game doesn't help when it comes to recruiting.

"It's not a positive thing," Bielema said. "The ones that get me are when it's a parent that has a small child that now has to explain what's being said or try not to explain what's being said. I can deal with recruiting. It doesn't help us.

"But it's those stories. When you're in college you don't think big picture and you're not supposed to. Being in college is being in college. That part is the negative aspect."

Reducing scholarships:

A report came out Thursday afternoon stating how the NCAA is exploring the idea of cutting football scholarships from 85 per team to 80. According to the report, the proposals continue to be tossed around at a very early stage.

Still, the idea, though it's just that at this stage, doesn't sit well with Bielema.

"I would be adamantly opposed to it," Bielema said. "I was never around for the other side of it, but the older coaches that were involved with that just talked about how much it affected the game. It's been well documented how I couldn't find scholarships for Jared Abbrederis and Ethan Hemer.

"It's at a perfect number. If it ain't broke don't fix it. We've got a good game right now."

Quick hits:

-Most of the injured guys, outside of the players that are out for a longer period of time, are set to play Saturday afternoon. Kevin Zeitler (ankle), Brian Wozniak (contusion) and Jeff Duckworth (mild concussion) have practiced all week and will play Saturday.

Shelton Johnson also seems to be back in the fold. Dezmen Southward will likely start against Indiana, but Johnson will be available.

-Senior linebacker Kevin Claxton will likely start at outside linebacker against Indiana.

-Bielema mentioned earlier in the week how his team would practice less without losing any of the intensity. It seems as though that mentality has carried through to this week.

"We backed off just because we had extra work on Indiana," Bielema said referring to the bye week. "Tuesday was about the same as Nebraska prep and Wednesday was just a little bit shorter."

-Peniel Jean, who has been thrust into nickel situations due to the injury of Devin Smith, will play in front of his family for the first time as a collegiate athlete this weekend.

"On high school film he was probably one of the most physical corners I had ever watched," Bielema said. "I didn't know about his cover skills but he would definitely whack you. It's a big one for him. His mom and dad from Haiti are coming in.

"They don't live in Haiti now, but they're coming in."

Quotable:

Bielema on the progress of Fred Willis:

"He's just grown so much in the last month. Going back to camp we didn't know much about him. He comes into high school camp and runs a sub-4.4. We were like, 'Where is this guy coming from.' He really takes to coaching. He's very conscientious. Mom raised a great kid and he's very detail oriented. He's just caught the ball really well.

"Last week I kind of beat him up because he dropped a couple balls. I said in front of the team that if he keeps making plays like that he'd be a defensive back before you know it. He looked at me and everybody started telling him stories about Niles Brinkley and all those guys.

"He's caught everything since then."


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