Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - September 20, 2012

Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.

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Abbrederis a welcome sight in huddle LUCAS AT LARGE MIKE LUCAS • UWBADGERS.COM when one of the heartbeats — wide receiver Jared Abbrederis — came running off the field after Tuesday's practice. "We're real close,'' said White, exchanging some friendly banter with Abbrederis. "We've had a couple of plays here and there that could be really big plays if we just finish them.'' W It might not have looked that way during a loss at Oregon State or in a win over Utah State. The belea- guered offense produced just one touchdown in each of those games; one running, one passing. "Each and every week,'' White re- iterated, "we've had plays that could probably break open the game and change the whole momentum. We just have to lock in and be on the same page.'' White didn't have to point out the obvious — that the offense has struggled to develop an identity without Abbrederis, who hasn't played since getting hurt in the first half at Oregon State. To be sure, there are other issues. But getting Abbrederis back for Sat- urday's game against UTEP gives the Badgers a chance to expand the playbook and threaten defenses by getting the ball downfield. Abbrederis's presence also affects the UW running game, whether he's utilized on the Jet Sweep or he's taking an extra defender out of the box to address the threat that he poses to coverages. 10 » VARSITY SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 isconsin tailback James White was trying to take the pulse of the offense "I thought we really had a good practice (Tuesday), we were fly- ing around,'' Abbrederis said. "I couldn't wait to get back out here. I'd stay here all night except I've got to do some homework.'' The Big Ten officiating crew gets an "F'' for not throwing a flag on the play that Abbrederis was injured. Oregon State linebacker Feti Tau- moepeau planted the crown of his helmet in Abbrederis' sternum. By NCAA rules, the Beavers should have been penalized 15 yards. Taumoepeau also could have been suspended for a game. But no action was taken on the field, or upon further review. "I just remember going for the ball and getting smoked,'' Abbre- deris said. One of the initial concerns was broken ribs. "It hurt, I couldn't take a deep breath,'' he said. "It was that kind of feeling where you're gasping for air. I tried to get up and get to the sidelines and I just couldn't make it. So I just went back down.'' There was the faint hope that Ab- brederis might be able to return for last Saturday's home game against Utah State. If nothing else, he was cleared to go through the warm-up. "I tried to use it to get a good practice in,'' he said. "During the game, I was watching coverages and things like that. Even though I wasn't out there, I was still in- volved. It was the next best thing.'' When you subtract Abbrederis from the offensive statistics, Wis- consin's longest pass completion is 22 yards; a third-down pass from Danny O'Brien to Jacob Pedersen in the season opener. Abbrederis has two of the UW's five offensive touchdowns, and two of the team's five "big plays'' — 20- plus yards — a 53-yard TD catch against Northern Iowa and a 26- yard catch at Oregon State. Rest assured, there will be no re- luctance on Abbrederis' part to run any routes over the middle. When his number is called — as it was when he crossed paths with Taumo- epeau — he will be aggressive. "I don't even think about it,'' said Abbrederis, a junior from Wau- toma, Wis. "I just go out there and try to catch the ball. That's the one thing on my mind, especially when the ball is in the air. "I don't really worry about where other people are. I'm just going after that ball. You just zone every- thing else out and you just focus on the ball.'' There have been some changes since the end of last season beyond the loss of Russell Wilson. Abbre- deris also lost wingman Nick Toon, who drew the attention of every secondary. On the positive side, he picked up a life partner, his wife, Rachel. They first met during Bible study and they were married on May 26. "It's nice to go home and see her every night,'' he said. Abbrederis has already begun working on his homework assign- ment for UTEP. "I'm excited and I'm going to try and bring energy,'' he vowed.

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