Check out the photos at the bottom of the page and email me with any questions, comments or ideas - firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is a photo of the video crew up in their lift at practice.
3:40 p.m. ET
After another filling luncheon, the boys were out at Jefferson High for the third practice of the week. The DeBartolo Luncheon was hosted by the DeBartolo Company in Tampa. They have been a major sponsor of the Outback Bowl for a number of years.
After reporters had the opportunity to talk to a few selected players at the convention center, the two teams were introduced and enjoyed a nice lunch of stuffed chicken and salad. The luncheon’s emcee butchered coach Bielema’s name a few times and tried to get it right later but still had it wrong. Both coach Bielema and Tennessee’s coach Fulmer spoke shortly and from there the team was headed out to practice.
We got out to practice a little earlier than expected (coach B moved it up a little since we could). I didn’t see any pro scouts today, but there were two NFL players on hand at practice. Former Badgers and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Michael Bennett and Dan Buenning, both stopped by practice to talk visit with coach Alvarez, strength coach John Dettman and a few of the others that were around when they played at Wisconsin. (I’ll post some photos of them later on today).
Practice was a little shorter today which was a good thing for a certain staff out there … the Video Services crew.
I sat down with David Blaker who works in football’s video department about what a normal day of practice means for them. The crew of five this week arrives at practice a little early and gets their equipment set to go. The crew uses two hydraulic lifts to raise them a good 45-50 feet up. Two guys hang out in each lift armed with cameras taping every play that takes place. After half of practice is through, Blaker (or whoever’s turn it is to be on the ground for the day), will take that film (not actually film, because it’s all saved on a portable hard drive) back to the hotel and start editing those plays together.
The crew sets up the tape so that each play is shown twice, once from a sideline angle and once from an endzone angle. After practice is over, Rob Porteus and Joe Yang join Blaker in the editing room (the crew brought two of their editing machines to Tampa) to complete the rest of the practice footage and have it ready for the coaches to watch.
When asked about the time spent in the lift and what if you have to go to the bathroom Blaker responded, “That is something that you never forget to take care of before practice starts.”
After practice the players won’t have much time before heading over to GameWorks Aracade for a night of video games and fun. Interesting fact for tonight … Pete Scalia who is the general manager of GameWorks is a diehard Wisconsin fan and had cheese surds and brats specially ordered for tonight’s event. I’m not going to lie, but I haven’t had a good Wisconsin brat for a couple weeks so I’m pumped to devour one tonight.
Check back later for some photos and more updates.
10:30 a.m. ET
Sorry to all the die-hards out there that were waiting for photos from the hockey game last night. I took some, but didn’t make it back to the hotel right after the game so I was unable to load them up.
Anyways, the hockey game was a good time for everyone that made their way over to it. Roughly 40 of the players and a decent number of staff were in attendance as the Montreal Canadiens beat on the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. There was a lot going on during the game … it seemed like every other minute there was some sort of giveaway of marketing add on the jumbo-tron.
The players that were there enjoyed the fast-paced, hard-hitting game of the NHL, and a lot of the guys I spoke with said it was their first NHL game (it was my first too). I’ve seen a lot of college games at Wisconsin, but this level was a whole new thing. The intense checking and the allowed fighting was definitely different to see.
The players that didn’t go to the game were free to grab dinner wherever they wanted and relax for the evening.
Today, both Wisconsin and Tennessee will meet at the Tampa Convention Center a block away from our hotel in their game jerseys for the DeBartolo Team Luncheon (I’ll take some photos over there). Prior to the luncheon, a selected number of players and assistant coaches go over a little early to give the media some time to talk to them.
Coordinators Paul Chryst and Mike Hankwitz along with players Taylor Mehlhaff, Ken DeBauche, Jonathan Casillas, Shane Carter, Nick Hayden, Tyler Donovan, Travis Beckum and Marcus Coleman will be available for roughly 40 minutes to the media on hand.
The team practices a little later today (2:45 local time) and then has a free night at GameWorks arcade in Tampa’a Ybor City.
I’ll check back in from practice when I try and get in touch with some of the video services crew.