The Badgers' offensive line averages 6-5, 322 pounds.
The statistics run on a loop on televisions at the Gophers football complex, where players can absorb them as they eat dinner each night. It's a constant, startling reminder of what the Gophers will face on Saturday.
"Wisconsin offensive line average: 6-foot-5, 322 pounds," it reads. "Green Bay offensive line average: 6-foot-3, 314 pounds."
Now those are some big Badgers.
"With how big their front is, there's going to be a lot of pressure on everyone," said defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, whose formidable job this week is to figure out how to bottle up those heavyweights. "Their size is a real weapon."
Weapons can be defused, however, and the Gophers coaching staff knows it well. While at Northern Illinois in 2009, Jerry Kill's Huskies lost just 28-20 in Madison to a Wisconsin team that went 10-3 and finished the season ranked 16th in the nation.
"It's a different situation, different quarterback," Kill said of Saturday's Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. "They're not going to change, though -- they are who they are. But we have to change, because we're not the same team we had at Northern Illinois."
It's the same challenge, though, trying to penetrate that front line. Kill said the Gophers are working hard this week on a few simple concepts.
"Play low, play hard, play fast," he said. "This game's about leverage, so you certainly don't want to raise up with them. You've got to play with a low pad level, maintain your leverage. Keep the ball to the inside and in front."
He thinks his team can do it, and two weeks ago, Ohio State proved the Badgers offensive line can be gotten around with the right mix of speed and athleticism. But "you worry about wearing down" Kill said. "... In the fourth quarter at Michigan State [last Saturday], I thought we got worn down a little bit."Injury update
Wide receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts said he has practiced with no problems this week, and has recovered from the bruised quadriceps that kept him out of the fourth quarter of last Saturday's game. He's anxious to play a team he has disliked since childhood.
Tommy Olson has practiced, too, though it sounds as if he'll back up Caleb Bak at left guard.
Kicker Chris Hawthorne still is recovering from a strained quad in his kicking leg, Kill said, and the coach will give him more time. "We're going to stay the same," with Jordan Wettstein handling the kicking chores this week, the coach said. Hawthorne could kick in an emergency.
And quarterback MarQueis Gray "is banged up. He's been banged up the past two or three weeks," Kill said in explaining why he vetoed Gray's weekly interview with reporters after practice.
|Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick||2||FINAL|
|Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann||5|
|Baltimore||10||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Minnesota - LP: S. Deduno||0||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: A. Sanchez||6|
|Atlanta||3||Top 8th Inning|
|Chicago Cubs||4||Top 8th Inning|
|Cleveland||1||Bottom 7th Inning|
|NY Yankees||9||Top 9th Inning|
|Pittsburgh||0||Top 7th Inning|
|Miami||2||Top 7th Inning|
|LA Angels||2||Top 6th Inning|
|Oakland||2||Bottom 5th Inning|
|San Diego||0||Top 2nd Inning|
|St. Louis - L. Lynn||9:10 PM|
|Los Angeles - C. Capuano|
|Texas - J. Grimm||9:10 PM|
|Seattle - J. Saunders|
|Colorado - T. Chatwood||9:15 PM|
|San Francisco - T. Lincecum|
|Ottawa||1||3rd Prd 13:47|
|Indiana||66||4th Qtr 5:15|