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September 8, 2011

Notes: UW ready for Oregon State

MADISON - Though Oregon State suffered one of the more embarrassing defeats of college football's week one, though it's best wide receiver won't play and though it's top running back won't even make the trip to Madison, don't expect the Badgers to fall into the age-old trap of overlooking their opponent.

Their head coach won't let that happen.

"Kids are going to be an outside influence on our kids beyond here," Bielema told a handful of reporters Thursday night. "I was really trying to guard our edge. One of the great things that has been publicized out there is the (relationship) with Mike Riley and Paul Chryst.

"He's been there 10 years and won a lot of ball games."

It just so happens last week wasn't one of those games where the Beavers wound up on the left side of the ledger. Instead, a team that many thought had the potential to raise some eyebrows throughout the Pac 12 season, suffered a loss not many this side of Sacramento saw coming.

With a coach as tenured and experienced as Riley, Bielema knows what's coming to Madison this weekend.

"They're going to come back," Bielema said. "And they're going to try to be the most improved team in college football. That's what our goal should be too."

Prepping for the Beavers:

As mentioned above, Oregon State will be without the services of their explosive running back. Malcolm Agnew, a freshman who ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns a week ago, will not make the trip to Madison as he attempts to recover from a hamstring injury.

"I read that," Bielema said. "But it's more about what we do. He did a really nice job in that game so it would be a shame if he is injured.

They'll also be a squad that will play two quarterbacks. On the surface there seems to be a lot to prepare for, but that isn't exactly the case.

"We have to understand who is in the game," Bielema said of Oregon State's two-quarterback tandem of Ryan Katz and Sean Mannion. "But there really wasn't much change in their offense between the two when they're in there. I did read some of Mike's comments where he said they both have stronger traits in certain areas, but both seem to be pretty accurate and both of them have good composure and both can run a little bit.

"To me, there isn't a lot of difference in preparation. Whoever is back there we're going to have to defend."

Staying healthy:

As mentioned earlier this week, sophomore wide receiver Manasseh Garner is set to make his return to game action Saturday afternoon against the Beavers. Bielema said he won't play him every down, but he will see a good amount of reps.

"He's not going to go in there and play 60 plays," Bielema said. "I think Nick Toon and Jared Abbrederis were both at 30-40 plays last week so as long as it stays in that same stage it's not going to be an issue."

-Travis Frederick, UW's starting left guard, will probably not play Saturday afternoon even though he was able to practice Thursday.

"I don't think he'll play unless it's one of those types of situations," Bielema said.

-Melvin Gordon did get nicked up earlier in the week, according to Bielema, but he should be fine to play Saturday.

-Marcus Trotter, UW's backup middle linebacker, re-injured the same hamstring that plagued him throughout fall camp earlier this week. He'll be replaced by freshman Josh Harrison as the No. 2 mike linebacker against Oregon State.

-Sophomore linebacker A.J. Fenton will make his season debut Saturday. He's been dealing with ongoing hamstring issues throughout camp.

An update on Greg Russo:

Yes, Greg Russo, a two-time Iraq war veteran that earned his way into Badger spring camp, is on the roster as the Badger season is underway. Unfortunately because of eligibility issues he will be unable to play during his one and only season with the Badger program.

"He's kind of like a transfer student who can practice but not play," Bielema said. "He'll never get on the field, but he was very passionate about (being here). Our players really took to him and liked what he did. I could only carry 120 on my roster so I had to do some jockeying just to get him in camp."

So Russo is able to practice. That, at least in his situation even considering his dream of one day running through the Camp Randall tunnel and onto the field will never occur, might still be good enough.

"He told me that this dream was something that he used to motivate himself while he was doing tours in Iraq," Bielema said. "I wasn't going to take that dream. I would love to have him run out and play one play, but unfortunately any games he plays in we would lose (forfeit).

"He's just happy practicing and being a part of the team."

The following is the audio file from Bielema's meeting with the press:
Bielema, 9/8/11


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