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October 17, 2011

Notes: Discipline and injuries

MADISON - If there is one thing Bret Bielema preaches, and it's the same thing that has to drive him absolutely mad when neglected, it's discipline.

It's simply not what happens during the course of a game that defines you. It's how you react to what happens that does.

Michigan State, on the other hand, seems to have instilled the idea that it needs to be the aggressor that triggers a heated reaction.

So much so that one player, sophomore defensive end William Gholston, has become the brunt of much criticism for a couple of plays during MSU's 28-14 win against the Wolverines.

Gholston received two personal foul penalties in the game, one for jumping on the pile late just to twist the facemask of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and the other for throwing a punch at the head of Michigan's offensive lineman Taylor Lewan well away from the play.

During his weekly Monday press conference, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema was asked whether he thought either penalty is worthy of a suspension from the Big Ten.

"It's not in my hands," Bielema said. "That's obviously something between Michigan State and the league office."

To prepare for Michigan State's aggressive style, Bielema will likely give his defensive scouts the ability to talk and fight a little bit with the offensive players. Nothing ridiculous or over the top, but because MSU is notorious for playing through the whistle in an attempt to intimidate opponents, Bielema feels the need to simulate it.

"We kind of embrace it," Bielema said. "We don't run from it. I want guys to have the reaction that they need to have on Saturday. Unfortunately the only way you do it is to practice it and rep it. Even in that short reactionary second of time, when something happens, our guys have to be aware.

"It's not what happens it's how you react to what happens."

Injury update:

-Senior wide receiver Nick Toon will return to practice Tuesday afternoon after missing Saturday's game with a sore foot. Though there was some concern considering Toon aggravated the same foot that kept him out of spring camp, it can be put to rest after Toon ran Sunday morning.

"He shared how excited he was," Bielema said. "He felt really good. He felt good on Saturday and we probably could have played him, but I really felt that our other guys repped during the week and I wanted to see how Jeff Duckworth was going to perform as well as Manasseh Garner, Kenzel Doe.

"I wanted to see those other guys perform and they did very, very well."

-Senior defensive tackle Patrick Butrym suffered a low ankle sprain against Indiana. His status for Saturday's game is still up in the air.

"It wasn't a high ankle sprain so that's a good thing," Bielema said. "Patrick told me on the bench during the game that it's a good-bad or however he phrased it. He felt really tight on Sunday but it was better today.

"He's got a goal in his mind to get out there and run around on Wednesday and hopefully practice on Thursday."

Butrym is one of the more veteran players on the roster. So the fact that he would miss a decent amount of practice while recovering from his injury really wouldn't cause that many issues in regards to being prepared for Saturday's game.

"He's so smart with the gameplan," Bielema said. "I would really feel good about him playing even if he didn't get any real time until Saturday itself."

Game MVP's:

Montee Ball was awarded with the Big Ten offensive player of the week award following his performance against Indiana. Ball rushed for three touchdowns, threw for another and compiled 213 yards of total offense.

Though he was clearly the standout player during that game, the team MVP went to fellow running back James White. He rushed for 13 times for 87 yards and a touchdown.

"He had a great bye week," Bielema said. "Then a great week last week coming off the bench."

Defensively, senior cornerback Antonio Fenelus, who logged an interception, earned the recognition.

"He's playing as good as any corner we've had since I've been here," Bielema said.

Brad Nortman and Jared Abbrederis split special teams player of the week honors.

"Nortman continues to amaze me," Bielema said. "It's not only the long punts but the pooches and all that good stuff."

Freshman Frank Tamakloe and Tyler Marz earned defensive and offensive scout player of the week awards, respectively.

Homebodies:

Yes, Wisconsin did leave the comfortable confines of Camp Randall Stadium once this year. But that game against Northern Illinois, set in Chicago's Solider Field, featured way more Badger fans than Huskie fans. It cannot be considered a true road test.

Of the 25 teams currently ranked in the BCS top 25, Wisconsin is the only one that hasn't played a true road game.

Knowing that, is week eight too late in the season, with too much at stake, to be playing for the first time in a hostile environment?

"We did kind of have a warm up there with Northern Illinois," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "We practiced crowd noise there and we practiced crowd noise a couple of times during fall camp and then again during some of our home games.

"We've got seven days to hone in on it and hopefully our guys really buy into it."

The last time Wisconsin played its first true road game at Michigan State, just a year ago, it lost. That came in week five of the regular season.

This year it doesn't come until week eight.

"We don't care when it comes," UW sophomore linebacker Chris Borland said following the win over Indiana. "It is going to be a road test. They're a tough team and it's a tough place to play.

"We'll be ready and we'll prepare the right way."

Quotable:

Bielema on telling players to avoid a war of words leading into game with Michigan State:

"I know there was a tweet early on when Russell signed. I already made a point of that so they're aware of it. I know some stuff popped up on Saturday. Our guys are kind of in a mode. I don't really worry about policing these guys. I think they know the difference between right and wrong."




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