UW football: Coaches push Badgers to keep their edge

2011-10-11T04:45:00Z 2011-10-11T06:26:27Z UW football: Coaches push Badgers to keep their edgeTOM MULHERN | tmulhern@madison.com | 608-252-6169 | Twitter: @TomMulhernWSJ madison.com

One of the things University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema likes to hear about his team is it plays with "an edge."

From opposing coaches, to NFL scouts, Bielema has been hearing about the attitude the fourth-ranked Badgers (5-0) have maintained throughout the season. The last thing Bielema wants coming out of the bye week is to lose that edge.

"We want to keep our edge," Bielema said at his Monday press conference. "One thing that's kind of kept coming up was either by opposing coaches or just people saying things to me and watching us practice, even with NFL scouts, that they say our players are playing with an edge, a certain type of ... image that's out there. I'm encouraging our guys to keep the faith."

The players received a lot of pats on the back following their convincing 48-17 victory over Nebraska. Now, they must turn their full attention to Indiana (1-5 overall, 0-2 in the Big Ten Conference), which faces UW on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

"One of the roles we love to be (as coaches) is a humbler," Bielema said. "We got after people pretty good last week (during practices) and challenged them during the course of the week. So I'm sure they're feeling good, but not that good."

Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is an example of that. "I think the bye's a great time to focus on cleaning up some things," Chryst said.

The Badgers are averaging 48.4 points per game, so Chryst was asked if it was hard finding things to correct. "No, we didn't have enough practice time," he said. "It's true.

"I think (the bye) is a great time for individual players to do a self-assessment of where they're at off the film."

That's what senior quarterback Russell Wilson did, watching the first five games, "trying to figure out what I did well, what I could have done better and try to grow from that."

Bielema said the coaches were particularly tough on the players during the Wednesday practice last week. He told the coaches to "make sure everything's perfect and detail-oriented."

"I've got to be careful. I've got a couple of coaches, you tell them to get after (the players) and they get after them pretty good," Bielema said. "I walked off the field on Wednesday and I remember I said to myself, ‘I hope I feel a lot better tomorrow,' just because there was a lot of yelling and screaming, which was good. I think the players wanted it."

Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge made a reference to the Rose Bowl and how the players dealt with success leading up to the 21-19 loss to TCU.

"They got patted on the back at the end of last season," Partridge said prior to practice on Sunday. "How did that play into our bowl prep? So they just got slapped on the back for a week. It's Sunday against Indiana, that's it. I think we have a group that will understand that."

Wilson is not worried anybody on the team will think it's time to coast.

"The work ethic is there," Wilson said. "Coach Bielema is not going to allow us to coast and the captains aren't going to allow us to coast. Our mind-set is to get better every day, to push ourselves to try and be the best we can be on a daily basis."

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