There was quite a climate shock for the Badgers as they left Madison Friday as the snow was starting to fly and temperatures were in the mid-30's. Touching down in Tampa a few hours later, the team was greeted to a mostly sunny sky and a high of 74.
Running back Corey Clement put the first day's practice as ‘kind of brutal'. He did say that the team did eventually get acclimated to the heat and humidity and could then focus on the task at hand-namely finding a way to beat Auburn on January 1.
“As far as our corners and safeties, we're doing a lot of defensive things because we know Auburn is a high-octane offense. So we're doing two rotations at a time to get them conditioned. So for us, we're doing a lot of down blocking, basically doing the same thing because we are a run first team and a pass second.”
“We've done a good job of preparing and staying focused on the game plan, said QB Joel Stave. “We've got to go out and have some fun-see the Tampa area-but I think for the most part its just been focused on the game and really trying to get used to the change in climate.”
The team is practicing this week at the University of Tampa football field. One advantage the Badgers are enjoying is having one field for the offense and one for the defense. “We're not so crammed on the field as one, said Clement. “We can actually use the whole field if we feel like it. Looking at the defense, they're able to make a lot more corrections, transitions, get a lot of guys on and off the field easier. It just makes, communications-wise, a lot better, because we're not hearing two or three whistles at the same time because we don't know who that whistle is referring to.”
Having the split may help Wisconsin, who, as Corey Clement said after Sunday's practice, sees the Outback Bowl coming down to who lines up on the opposite side of the ball. “We have two great offenses going head to head. I think its going to rely on the defenses of who can keep their heads on in certain drives.”