With UNLV taking on Wisconsin this Thursday night, I sent over a few questions that I felt UNLV fans would want to know from someone close to their program. I reached out to Adam at Buckys 5th Quarter to answer these questions.
1. How comfortable is Russell Wilson in the Wisconsin offense, he has only had a short time to learn the system.
This was certainly the biggest question with Wilson entering camp, but from everything we've been told, he's had no problems with the offense. He's repeatedly said it's not much different from the North Carolina State offense; he just needs to learn the terminology. He told me he was spending 10 hours a day studying the offense before camp started and he carries flashcards around with him everywhere. I don't think it's going to be that big of an issue and Thursday's game should be the perfect opportunity to execute everything he's learned in somewhat of a "warm-up" game.
2. Even though UNLV is not considered to be good this year they hung with Wisconsin for half, so how serious are the players taking UNLV this year?
Bret Bielema has preached his "1-0" mentality for the last six years and I honestly believe every single player on the two-deep puts all their effort into that week's opponent. Plus, Bielema knows Bobby Hauck well and has too much respect for him to overlook this game. They are taking UNLV very seriously, but I also doubt that there is a player on the team thinking it will be a close game.
3. What is Wisconsin's defensive game plan when going up against Caleb Herring who is starting for the first time in his career?
I think you'll see a similar game plan as the one you saw last year against UNLV. The Rebels were one of the few teams to feel the brunt of the "Badger Package", Wisconsin's 3-3-5 scheme used on 3rd down passing situations. It worked well with linebacker Chris Borland blitzing in that game, but then he suffered his shoulder injury in the second half which effectively ended his - and the Badger Packages' - season. New co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash is already getting a reputation for being aggressive. So you'll see a lot of blitzes and you'll see the secondary pressure the receivers close to the line of scrimmage.
4. What will Wisconsin do on offense in this game against UNLV. Will Wisconsin just run the ball with that being their strength?
I'm thinking you'll either see Wisconsin run the ball on every down on their first possession or see them go play-action over the top for an 80-yard touchdown like they did in Scott Tolzien's first game under center against Northern Illinois two years ago. As a whole though, I think you'll see Wisconsin be the same team it was last year on offense. They are going to run a lot, let Wilson get comfortable in the offense and not put any of the new wrinkles on tape. The Badgers might open up the passing game little more down the road, but I don't think it's necessary in the first game. With that said, I think offensive coordinator Paul Chryst will want to get Russell Wilson acclimated and comfortable in Camp Randall Stadium so he'll get his fair share of throws, but don't expect a revolutionized offense.
5. What do you think the outcome of the game will be?
Well, I don't see Wisconsin's offense having any trouble scoring against the UNLV defense and I think the Badger D is a little better than last year. Let's say 41-10.
There you have it. Make sure to go check out the questions I posed to Bucky's 5th Quarter about this game.