A new NCAA rule allows for football coaches to have contact with their players during the summer and Wisconsin Badgers coach Gary Andersen wants to take full advantage of it.
ESPN Wisconsin reported Monday that with a lot of unproven players heading into 2014, the Badgers are in a prime position to benefit from some extra coaching that would have been unavailable in the past.
“They’re going to be able to get with their coaches,” Andersen said. “They’re going to understand the drills.
“You can’t go out and take a ball and throw it around but you can do what you did in the old times in January and February and spring conditioning time. So there is drill work that can get done.
It’s past running sprints. It’s past what the strength guys do. It is more intensive toward their position group and their ability to learn is extreme on the field.”
It’s a total of 64 hours of contact that is allowed under the new rule, eight hours per week over an eight-week period in June and July.
The Badgers had five seniors starting on offense at the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 and seven defensive starters, including the entire front line and three of the four linebackers.
So, yes, having some extra time for players like Alex Erickson at wide receiver and Joe Schobert and Vince Biegel at linebacker to prepare to take on larger roles this season will be important for Wisconsin, which finished 9-4 last year and was 6-2 in the Big Ten, finishing behind Ohio State in the now-defunct Leaders Division.
With the arrival of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten this season, the Badgers will be in the new West Division along with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue.
It’s inexact, but here’s how that group finished last season:
The Badgers have to hit the ground rolling—they take on LSU in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff on Aug. 30 in Houston. They will play Western Illinois, Bowling Green and South Florida at Camp Randall Stadium before opening conference play at Northwestern on Oct. 4.
In addition to their divisional rivals, the Badgers will face conference newcomers Maryland and Rutgers.