Wisconsin sees offensive mirror in Fresno St. Print
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Thursday, 11 September 2008 13:33
NCAAF Headline News

 MILWAUKEE (AP) -Wisconsin senior linebacker Jonathan Casillas took plenty of time when grasping for the words to describe Fresno State's offense.
``Similar, actually,'' Casillas conceded. ``Their running back is not as big, but I think they're very similar. They do a lot of similar things. They shift and motion and burst out of formations a lot. They kind of run similar plays.''
Casillas' assessment wasn't necessarily enlightening, but it's fundamentally sound. When No. 10 Wisconsin (2-0) plays at No. 21 Fresno State (1-0) on Saturday night, the similarities will exceed their differences, right down to the colors.
Wisconsin's defense, which failed them on the road last year, will be tested against an offensive scheme that is close to what the Badgers practice against.
Credit part of that to Wisconsin running backs coach John Settle, who came to the Badgers after working for eight years at Fresno State and learning from Bulldogs coach Pat Hill.
00-yard rushers himself with the Bulldogs.
``When he first came aboard, I walked into one of his meetings, and he was showing plays from Fresno State,'' Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. ``And I remember him showing the guys the film, and trying to get them to do what they wanted here at Wisconsin.''
No one batters opposing defenses with a power running attack like Wisconsin can. The Badgers are deep at running back.
Still, they moved away from Hill, Zach Brown and John Clay against Marshall, electing to air it out after trailing 14-0. The Badgers reeled off 51 unanswered points on 329 yards passing with the trio of backs finishing five drives with short TD runs.
The air assault doesn't fool Pat Hill, though.
``They're still going to lead with the run,'' the coach said. ``They are a conventional type of offense that is able to spread the field at time with formation. But I still think if you're going to have a chance to beat Wisconsin you need to be able to stop their run game.''
Wisconsin will also look to gain some road traction after going 1-4 away from Camp Randall last season. And the game against Fresno State has garnered plenty of BCS hype even with Ohio State playing down the road at Southern California.
Facebook, and I get tons of messages about Fresno.''
While it's a new season, clearly the failures at Illinois, Penn State, Ohio State and Tennessee in the Outback Bowl hang on the minds of the Badgers.
``We want to make a statement that we're for real this year,'' McFadden said. ``I don't want to go back to last year, but last year we were disappointed with ourselves, with the way we played some games. I think we let up in a lot of games that we played. We didn't play to our potential, that's what I should say.''
It'll help, too, if Wisconsin gets back talented tight end Travis Beckum, who has been out of action the first two games this season with a strained hamstring.
``I think it's great to have several weapons on offense. With me being out, other players have had the opportunity to step up and make some plays and make a name for themselves. And I think they took advantage of that,'' Beckum said.
Casillas, who also hopes to see his first action this season after missing the first two games with a sprained left knee, has another way to look at their trip to California.
en't thinking the right way because we didn't win a lot on the road. So I think maybe our mindset is going to have to change in that regard. We play well at home, so why don't we take the home with us when we're away?''
 

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