8:24 p.m. EST: RANDOM STUFF
Just checking back in this evening after a busy day. Prior to the DeBartolo Team Luncheon today, we had a media availability session with eight of our players (Marcus Coleman, Nick Hayden, Shane Carter, Jonathan Casillas, Ken DeBauche, Taylor Mehlhaff, Travis Beckum and Tyler Donovan) and our two coordinators (Paul Chryst and Mike Hankwitz). All 10 people were spread around a room and the media just circulated and interviewed them for about 30 minutes. It was nice to hear one of the local Tampa writers tell me how impressed he was with our players and how cooperative they were.
(Oh, before I forget. People keep asking me whether we’re wearing red or white jerseys at the game on Tuesday. We’re wearing white.)
We then went to the luncheon, which featured the two coaches as the main speakers. The emcee wasn’t quite able to get the pronunciation of Coach Bielema’s last name correct, but overall it was a nice event. Actually, I’m amazed how often people seem to mispronounce Bret’s name. I guess it doesn’t seem that difficult to me. He’s pretty good-natured about it and often jokes that “I’ve been called every eating disorder known to man.” I have sometimes sent media a link to a Web site called Miss Pronouncer.com that claims to be “a pronunciation guide for everything Wisconsin.” Go to the site, turn up the volume on your computer and type in someone’s name in the search window. It’ll correctly repeat the person’s name. Wisconsinites will enjoy the line near the top of the page that says: (And by the way, please slap anyone who says WESconsin!)
Practice today ran for about 18 five-minute periods. Rudy may have mentioned in the “other” Bowl Central blog that former Badgers Michael Bennett and Dan Buenning, both now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stopped by practice. Our former players have been stopping at bowl practices for years and it’s always fun to see them and say hello. After practice the offensive players and coaches were available to media. It was a light turnout, with both TGPs (Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Polzin of the Capital Times), Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal and Madison TV’s WKOW and WISC the only ones in attendance.
One other item to mention … kicker Taylor Mehlhaff, defensive lineman Nick Hayden and wide receiver Paul Hubbard all have been invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game, which will be played on Jan. 19 in Houston. Recent Badgers who have been invited to play in that game include Mark Zalewski, Jonathan Orr, Brandon Williams and Jim Leonhard.
Saturday’s activities will include another practice and the team’s afternoon at Busch Gardens. Also, a second plane will arrive from Madison carrying the UW Band, as well as additional support staff. Among those support staff will be Erin Starck, one of my interns, who will start a blog focusing on Badger fans down here. In addition, Kevin Kluender (marketing) and Thad Jackson (video) will be here be here from the athletic department to begin providing video. That’s all for now. Good night from Tampa.
Here are a few photos I shot today. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
10:36 a.m. EST: GOOD STORIES
Good morning, everyone. We’re getting ready to head over to the Convention Center just up the street for the DeBartolo Team Luncheon, which includes both schools. Just wanted to quickly mention a couple good Wisconsin-related stories in the two main local papers. One is in the Tampa Tribune and it’s about the Fifth Quarter. The other is a story in the St. Pete Times about quarterback Tyler Donovan. Back with more later today.