Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema addressed the media yesterday at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.
O'Brien acclimating well
Transfer Quarterback Danny O'Brien is getting settled into Madison
"Fortunate for us, Danny was able to join us in early June. He graduated in three years from Maryland, so he was actually there all the way through the spring semester, was able to join us in June.
"Because of NCAA rules, I really can't be involved in summer workouts, but I know just bumping into Danny and bumping into players that have been around this summer that everybody's been excited about him coming through.
"I think Danny is, first and foremost, a great kid. He fit into our program great. Just the way he kind of bonded during the recruiting visit was special to see.
And you guys might remember that Russell had a pretty good year a year ago, so I think that played into it as well.
"But I think the real upside to Danny's situation is we've also had the emergence of Curt Phillips come back after his third ACL surgery, and those two have got a nice little competition and probably again with Joel Stave.
"I think competition brings the best out of people, and I know Danny is excited for the competition to start on the 5th."
Dehn leaves again
Offensive Lineman Casey Dehn has once again left the Wisconsin football program.
"The great thing is, at the University of Wisconsin, we've probably been able to play offensive line at the highest level possible in the world of college football. And when some of the guys that have gone now, when Kevin Zeitler played his first game, everybody was worried about who he is and what he was. Gabe Carimi was taken over at the left tackle spot. No one no who he was because Joe Thomas had commanded it for so long. And both of them are first‑round Draft picks for the NFL.
"We have guys in our program right now who have never started a game that I believe can play at that level, and we'll just have an opportunity now to put people in place.
"It will be a huge challenge for us, I think, to find the five right guys, whether they're tackles that can play guards or guards that can play tackle. We'll put our best five players back on the field. Backed up mostly by our sixth, seventh, and eighth best players, and then we'll roll on the football field.
"But I just wish Casey the best and hope he can have things on track to have a successful life."
Bielema staying away from Penn State
Bret Bielema won't recruit any players on the Penn State roster.
"When this thing came about, and obviously a very unprecedented situation, of course when you're sitting at the head table of your staff room and assistant coaches have a lot of different opinions, I made the decision as a head coach we would not reach out to any Penn State players.
Bielema says he won't pursue any Big Ten players.
"It's just something‑‑ I think that what Penn State is going through right now is something that they have championed over the last several days and the last several weeks. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach O'Brien and everything that he's going forward.
"I think one of the things that I've loved and appreciated about being in this conference is there is a genuine respect for everybody in our league that you are a Big Ten brother and you're a guy that sits in our conference meeting rooms. You're a guy that listens to Jim Delany, and we're a group of coaches that have a network that's beyond anybody's expectations and helping us in recruiting.
"So I just‑‑ I'm not casting doubt on anybody or questioning anything, but we made a decision that we would not actively pursue any Penn State players.
And it wasn't anything more than I have a group of 105 players that are reporting on August 5th that I want them to understand and believe that I think they can help us win another championship. And to bring someone in at this point so close to the season, I just wasn't comfortable with it.
"And one of the great things that I saw after this whole thing was broke, I was sitting packing for our trip down here last night. And of course my wife is yelling at me because we were supposed to leave three hours ago, which I'm learning to understand after 19 weeks and five days that you have to learn to do these things.
"But on the same account, I saw a group of Penn State players walk out of that meeting, their facilities, and address the media and talk strongly, at least that group that was there, about what they're going to do. And for me, personally, we play Penn State the last game of the season this year in the regular season. I'm going to be their biggest fan for every week of the year for the guys that stay there and stick it through."