University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema had a hunch sophomore wide receiver Fred Willis’ heart was no longer in the game since the end of last season.
That turned out to be the case, as Willis elected to quit the team just prior to the start of preseason camp.
Willis, who is from Milwaukee and attended Brookfield Academy, played in four games as a true freshman in 2011, mostly on special teams.
He did not catch a pass. He will continue to attend UW, Bielema said.
Willis, from Milwaukee, attended tiny Brookfield Academy, winning Division 3 state titles in the 100 and 200 meters as a junior and senior.
“I think football was this thing that all of a sudden he was really good at,” Bielema said. “Then all of a sudden, (he) says, ‘Wait a minute, I can have a full scholarship and get my education for free?’ ”
“I had some indication this might be coming forward,” Bielema added. “He just kind of lost the love for the game. Those were his words.”
Special game jerseys ‘Unrivaled’
UW unveiled the special jerseys it will wear for its Big Ten Conference opener at Nebraska in prime time on Sept. 29.
The uniforms are part of the “Unrivaled Game,” an annual matchup of top adidas programs.
The white uniform features red shoulders, a red “W” on the chest and “Badgers” on the back, where the nameplate usually is.
The helmets are bright red, with a white stripe down the middle, a block white “W” and black face mask. The block “W” goes back to UW’s 1962 Big Ten championship team, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this fall.
The pants are fairly standard: white with two wide, red vertical stripes. The black shoes feature red and white elements that are reflective.
“There’s not a lot of flavor to it,” Bielema said of the basic style. “We tried to honor some of the teams of the past, during Pat Richter’s era.
“A lot of debate went over the helmet. ... I’ll tell you this, our kids loved it. There are some things with the shoes. ... It’ll be off the charts.”
Four players left off camp roster
Four injured players were left off the camp roster: junior quarterback Jon Budmayr (elbow, hip), freshman quarterback Bart Houston (shoulder), freshman cornerback Hugs Etienne (shoulder) and walk-on wide receiver Connor Cummins (sports hernia). Bielema said NCAA rules permit the players to rehabilitate at the team facilities during camp, but not to practice or attend meetings.