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September 2, 2013Follow @JohnVeldhuis
MADISON, Wis. - After seven FCS teams defeated FBS opponents in the first week of the college football season, the Wisconsin Badgers won't be taking Tennessee Tech for granted. The Golden Eagles beat Cumberland 63-7, racking up 505 yards of total offense in the process, and Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said Tennessee Tech will want to emulate other FCS teams that have gone in to FBS stadiums and won.
"It's a wide-open offense," Andersen said. "They've got some kids that can run, they're a skillful group. Obviously in the first week they scored a bunch of points and showed that they are a true spread offense. It'll be a big challenge."
"It's a once in a lifetime [chance] for these kids- they're going to walk in to this stadium one time, and they're always going to be able to say that they played at Camp Randall, and what better for them to say they came in to Camp Randall, played well and won?"
But even though the Badgers have never lost to an FCS team, they've had some close calls in the past. The Badgers pulled off a narrow 36-35 win over Cal Poly to close out their 2008 regular season, and had trouble putting away Northern Iowa in a 26-21 win at the start of last season. Andersen acknowledged that FCS teams can always beat FBS opponents, which puts more pressure on FBS coaches to really evaluate recruits out of high school.
"It happens every year," Andersen said. "I haven't really looked at the scores, to be honest with you. People are closing in. It's why you've got to be careful when you're recruiting young men. Coaches need to continually evaluate the tape, not let other people evaluate tape for them when you're recruiting."
"They're hungry young men with a chip on their shoulders," Andersen said. "The longer they hang in games, the more excited they get and they start believing. That's when it gets scary."
"I don't know with Derek- we'll have to wait and see," Andersen said. "The big thing is to get him back and get him healthy. The last thing you want is to have a reoccurrence of an injury, with a hamstring."
In the meantime, Derek Straus should get the majority of the reps at fullback. The Badgers will also activate Austin Ramesh, to give Straus a little extra competition.
News and notes:
"When you've got one guy making a tackle on the 25 or 26-yard line, that's one broken tackle away from being a huge play," Andersen said. "That will haunt us. Our PAT and field goal protection had some definite leakages. We need to coach them better. In some of those scenarios [UMass] didn't take advantage of it, but it's on film. And they will take advantage of it now."
"Well it sounds like we're doing it, so I hope everyone else does it," Andersen said. "It's not really any of my business at the end of the day. If it all goes away- I've been at that level, it's going to be a sad day for those programs."
"He played really well- physical, very sound in his assignment," Andersen said. "He had what we call a 'championship' performance. Michael was very physical. He just felt comfortable out there to me, which is great to see because there's so much communication out there between the safeties."
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