Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 9/3/12
MADISON, Wis. You can harp on the blown coverages, missed tackles, dropped passes and field goal tries instead of touchdown drives. Those miscues weren't particularly pretty during Wisconsin's 26-21 season-opening victory against Northern Iowa on Saturday. They also are correctable issues, according to coach Bret Bielema, which left him in relatively good spirits despite the shaky performance. "I was pretty upbeat Saturday after the game," Bielema said during his weekly Monday press conference. "I gave our guys on Sunday the speech, every college football weekend, half the teams in the world of college football lose. And that's just facts. For us to be able to get through that game and win it, there's a lot of teams in this country that put in that exact same situation would lose that football game. The fact that we didn't said enough positives." The most noticeable mistakes from Saturday's game came on defensive breakdowns, when UNI ran an identical wheel route play down the right sideline that resulted in two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. On the first wheel route, all-conference linebacker Mike Taylor blitzed, leaving Panthers receiver David Johnson wide open. Free safety Dezmen Southward missed a tackle, allowing Johnson to score a 55-yard touchdown. On the second wheel route, Taylor lost track of Johnson, and redshirt freshman quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen hit Johnson for a 31-yard touchdown. "Obviously on a couple of plays, we wish he would have been able to play certain things better," Bielema said. "But I think the great news is Mike Taylor is a phenomenal football player who right now can't wait to get back out there and play again in a live game." Both of those plays were addressed during a 10-minute corrections segment of practice on Sunday, Bielema said. Bielema noted that he wasn't pleased with his team's preparation leading up to the UNI game, although some of that had to do with scouting a team featuring a new quarterback. "Living in the moment, you try to be as positive as you can going into Saturday," Bielema said. "I think for all the reasons I just mentioned. The uncertainly of playing UNI, not being able to have a full grasp of what they were going to come out in with a new quarterback and what he was going to bring to the table. The guy a year ago was a little bit different, so some of the stuff that we were preparing for was chasing windmills a little bit." Bielema sounded especially pleased that Wisconsin was able to win while breaking in five new starters on offense: quarterback Danny O'Brien, fullback Sherard Cadogan, wide receiver Jordan Fredrick, right guard Zac Matthias and tight end Brian Wozniak. He said he expected his team to make a significant jump from Week 1 to Week 2, when Wisconsin plays at Oregon State. "Bottom line we got out of there with a W," Bielema said, "and that's always a positive." Plans for Gordon: Badgers running back Melvin Gordon starred during Wisconsin's spring game in April and appeared primed for a significant offensive role after fall camp. But Gordon did not carry the ball once during Wisconsin's game against Northern Iowa. Bielema said the coaching staff decided to involve running back Montee Ball more heavily than usual because of his limited repetitions during fall practice. That left even fewer carries for Ball's backups. "We had a plan the first time we were going to try to get Melvin to touch the football was on a kickoff return," Bielema said. "We tried to have that happen twice. To his credit, he made two really good fielding decisions to not catch those two balls and let them go in the end zone for touchbacks. "I know he was disappointed he didn't get in the game, but he also understood why. Montee got a lot of work, so we'll probably try to turn that off a little bit." No film exchange: Wisconsin encounters the rare Week 2 game in which it has already played this season but its opponent has not. Oregon State had its season opener against Nicholls State postponed because of Hurricane Isaac. As a result, the Beavers don't have any film to exchange with Wisconsin from this season. "We informed Oregon State and our video director reached out to them after the game on Saturday and said we're not sending this film obviously because we didn't get one on them," Bielema said. Bielema added that he contacted the Big Ten office to make sure no other conference team sent Oregon State film on Wisconsin. "I've been assured by the Big Ten office that wasn't going to happen," he said. Oregon State will be able to watch Wisconsin's season opener from the television broadcast, although it is not as beneficial for scouting purposes as the coaches' version. Wisconsin defeated Oregon State 35-0 last season at Camp Randall Stadium. Depth chart change: Very little movement occurred on Wisconsin's depth chart for Week 2. But the most noticeable change took place at right guard, where Kyle Costigan is no longer listed alongside Zac Matthias with the first-team offense. Matthias is now the clear-cut starter after playing most of the game against Northern Iowa. "I was very impressed with Zac," Bielema said. "I thought for a first start, he really did a nice job, especially in pass pro(tection). He bends well. He's athletic. He's big." Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
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