Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wisconsin and Miami see similarities
By ESPN.com staff
Most will bill the Champs Sports Bowl as a matchup of opposites, but the two head coaches in the game aren't so sure.
Wisconsin and Miami might seem very different on the surface. The Badgers win with size and power, while the Hurricanes' depth chart bursts with speed and athleticism. Miami always will have the reputation for being one of the nation's flashier programs, while Wisconsin isn't known for its glitz.
But Bret Bielema and Randy Shannon don't see drastic differences between their teams, which meet Dec. 29 in Orlando (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).
"It's not going to be a situation where we're going to be faster than those guys or they're going to be faster than us," Shannon said. "We have a big offensive line, they have a big offensive line. They have big guys on defense, we have big guys on defense. It’s going to work itself out. It's just a myth that if you're down south you run faster."
Myth or fact, Bielema has heard the speed argument a lot lately, especially during the Big Ten's recent bowl struggles. He hopes to debunk it against the Canes.
"Everyone is going to talk about the Florida speed versus the Midwest size of Wisconsin," he said. "We have big people, but I think a couple of our guys can run as well."
Bielema and Shannon have known each other for some time and Bielema is good friends with Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.
"When you look at both teams, its kind of equal," Shannon said. "I'm a defensive coach, Bret is a defensive coach. Both of us believe in running the football, playing great on special teams and playing hard defense. It's going to be a matchup that you’ll want to see."