Bielema doesn't think age factored into penalty


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Wisconsin's players have drawn more penalties (56) than any group in the Big Ten this season, but a flag thrown against head coach Bret Bielema has dominated the discourse since Saturday.

With Wisconsin leading Michigan State 24-13 in the fourth quarter, Bielema drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his comments to an official after Badgers safety Jay Valai had been penalized for delay of game. Bielema's penalty put the ball in Wisconsin territory and Michigan State eventually drove for a touchdown and rallied to win, 25-24.

Wisconsin drew eight of its 12 penalties in the fourth quarter.

Bielema's maturity is being questioned, but the nation's fourth-youngest coach downplayed his age as a factor in the penalty.

"Age is just a number," Bielema said today. "I've seen some very upset 40-, 50- and 60-year-olds that go about their business in a certain way. The situation that got me, the penalty, that by far was not the most strenuous or vigorous comment I've ever made to an official. But the timing of it went against me because of the reaction I received from him.

"It's not having to do with age or maturity. That's an easy circumference to draw. ... It's a growing experience, a learning experience and one that probably has a bigger effect on me than you can ever imagine."

There was more bad news for Wisconsin on Monday, as Bielema announced that reserve tight end Lance Kendricks broke his left fibula against Michigan State and likely will miss the rest of the season.

H-back Travis Beckum suffered the same injury the week before and underwent surgery.