MADISON - Chalk this one up to the proverbial book of odd NCAA rules.
Should Vince Biegel, one of Wisconsin's top verbal commitments who also happens to be participating in the state of Wisconsin's high school state tournament this week, poke his head in and greet Badgers head coach Bret Bielema while he's in town, UW would face an NCAA rules violation.
"I call the high school coach and tell him not to take offense when I'm not around," Bielema said in reference to a school, coach or player he can't visit during the state tournament. "If a kid is traveling with the team, even if the kid wanted to come up and say hello he can't come up and say hi to us.
"It's just insane rules."
The NCAA clearly states, according to Bielema, that the UW head coach can only meet with coaches from a school neither he, nor his staff, have visited at any point throughout the course of the high school season. If a UW representative or coach spent time in a particular school earlier this fall before they qualified to play in the state championships inside Camp Randall, Bielema can have no contact.
But if there's a school no UW representative or coach visited during the season playing inside Camp Randall, he can.
"When they travel with the team it's considered a team function," Bielema said. "Even though they're on our campus it can't be an unofficial visit. You've got to be really cautious."
Bielema said he was feeling a bit sorry for himself earlier this week when it looked as though as many as six of his projected starters could be out for Saturday's game against Illinois. Now, though, it's apparent things have worked out in Bielema and UW's favor.
"Jared Abbrederis has practiced the last two days," he said. "I think he'll be back there on punt return and offense. I don't know if we'll use him as a kick returner. That will be kind of a gametime decision.
Of the nicked up players - - Mike Taylor, Nick Toon, Aaron Henry - - only Peter Konz will miss Saturday's game at Illinois.
-Junior defensive end David Gilbert will redshirt this season after suffering a broken foot during Nebraska game prep. Had he played in that game against Nebraska he wouldn't have been eligible for the medical redshirt granted to him.
"He's always upbeat," Bielema said. "He doesn't think about the negatives. It's all about the positives for him. I think of him two years from now and how that body is going to keep getting bigger and stronger."
Freshman running back Melvin Gordon will also redshirt after suffering a groin injury a handful of weeks back. He, like Gilbert, did not play in more than four of UW's first six games so he was eligible for such a process.
"He had a procedure done two weeks ago," Bielema said. "I saw him running out there today and you can see he's not at a full swing gate. He hasn't practiced now for five or six weeks."
Gordon, Gilbert and a handful of other players will participate in a modified six-week strength and conditioning program spearheaded by coach Ben Herbert in the near future.
"David is going to be on it, Devin Smith, some guys that have redshirted," Bielema said. "It's going to be a mini summer in there. Almost like a mini-summer conditioning where they can really build up their bodies."
-Sophomore wide receiver Manasseh Garner will make the trip to Champaign this weekend. His groin issue has cleared up enough for him to participate in practice.
"He'll be out there with us," Bielema said.
-Freshman wide receiver Fred Willis has completely healed from the ankle injury that has hampered his progression during his first season in Madison. Unfortunately he has been suffering headaches from a nasty bout of allergies relating to the change in seasons.
"He's kind of getting evaluated for that," Bielema said.
Bielema on the play of Ryan Groy this week in practice:
"He's doing great. We actually practiced him Sunday. On Tuesday he made steady improvement. Illinois does a lot of movement and a lot of things at the line of scrimmage. They do a lot of different blitzes and pressure. He's been great and he's gotten better every day. The good news is that he's got Travis Frederick and Kevin Zeitler next to him that can kind of help him through difficult situations."
-With rain projected for Saturday's game at Illinois, Bielema and his staff made his players practice with wet balls to get a feel for what that could potentially be like.
-Former Badger All-American J.J. Watt took in Thursday's practice. His Houston Texans are currently in the midst of their bye week.