first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald PhotoOffensive MVP (tie): QB John Stocco, WR Paul HubbardDefensive MVP: LB Mark ZalewskiSpecial Teams MVP: LS Dave PeckOffensive Scout Team MVP: RB Jerry ButlerDefensive Scout Team MVP: LB Culmer St. Jean Seeing as he played out just one drive in the second half against Indiana Saturday, one could only imagine just how many yards John Stocco could have accumulated had he remained in the game.It didn’t matter, however, to the powers that be in the Big Ten, who awarded Stocco his third career Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor for his efforts in the 52-17 victory.UW head coach Bret Bielema credited his quarterback’s consistency in explaining the 304 yards and three touchdowns Stocco racked up in an abbreviated stint against the Hoosiers.”I walked down the hallway yesterday when we found out John had gotten that MVP award and told Paul (Chryst, UW offensive coordinator), and he goes, ‘That’s pretty good considering he only played really two quarters and a series,'” Bielema said at his press conference Monday. “The amazing part [was] just the consistency he was able to deliver the football, [and] also making the correct calls.”Bielema rejected any notions that Stocco’s improved statistics are a reflection of better play, saying that the fifth-year senior takes the same attitude into every game and simply happened to shine in a more obvious manner against the lowly Hoosiers.”He carries over a mentality that he just lives every play for what it is, probably a 1-0 mentality to the finest,” Bielema said, referring to Wisconsin’s No. 1 team goal. “He isn’t going to let one play adversely affect the next, not only in his game, but … if he throws the ball to someone and maybe they don’t come up with the play that he was looking for, he doesn’t just turn and go the other way. He continues to come back if he believes there’s that ability in someone.”Pertaining to Bielema’s weekly selections, Stocco earned co-Offensive MVP honors for the Badgers along with Paul Hubbard, the player largely responsible for Stocco’s success. Hubbard tallied six receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown Saturday. Bielema said Hubbard had been itching for a big game and finally cashed in against a stunned IU secondary.”He just took a little bit more of a personal urgency,” Bielema said. “Last year when entering spring ball, he was kind of thrust into the role of a potential go-to guy without ever really having to work to get there. I thought he was into it during the course of the summer and every game leading up to this past weekend.”Stocco becomes the third Badger to receive Player of the Week accolades from the Big Ten. LB Jonathan Casillas was honored on Sept. 4 after the Badgers’ victory at Bowling Green, and punter Ken DeBauche made the list in defeat against Michigan — with both players representing special teams.On the defensive side of the ball, Mark Zalewski was Bielema’s player of the week for Wisconsin. Zalewski, who made six tackles, and the defense’s fine effort was outshined by the offense, although Indiana failed to score a point until many of UW’s starters had left the game.Rounding out Bielema’s MVP list, long snapper Dave Peck was the Special Teams representative for nine perfect snaps — seven PATs and two field goal attempts. Jamil Walker was Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week for the second consecutive time, and safety-converted-linebacker Culmer St. Jean was his Defensive Scout Team counterpart.Return game struggling earlyDespite being asked about potential changes on kickoff returns, Bielema gave no clear answer as to whether current returners Josh Nettles or Jarvis Minton would be replaced.On the unit labeled by Bielema as UW’s “Achilles heel,” Nettles has struggled out of the early going, failing to give Wisconsin any kind of good field position and making poor choices, namely taking the ball out of the end zone when most would take a knee for a touchback.”That is the one unit that I don’t believe we’ve had a winning effort to this point,” Bielema said. “I brought it up yesterday in our staff meeting as well as to our players and definitely have to make a huge step forward in that regard.”The eternal optimist, Bielema said a lack of experience has contributed to a return game in the doldrums, and that means Wisconsin’s defense hasn’t allowed many scores in the year’s first five games.”Fortunately, if you want to turn negatives to positives, the reason we haven’t had much work on kickoff returns is because there hasn’t been that many touchdowns scored against us,” Bielema said. “Obviously the returners are different, but as many as eight guys on that unit hadn’t had any previous reps other than this year, and we just haven’t had that many opportunities.”Badgers help in searchOn the sadder side of events, three Badgers lost a high school friend and teammate Friday night, when Luke Homan drowned after attending Oktoberfest U.S.A.Homan, a student at UW-La Crosse, attended high school and played on the basketball team at Brookfield Central with Badger football players Joe Thomas, Ben Strickland and Steve Johnson. The trio was released Sunday by Bielema to search for Homan, but their friend was found dead in a river Monday.”I told them, they were relieved of Sunday’s obligations, no questions asked, and they went up there and tried to take part in the search,” Bielema said. “I touched base with them again last night as well as this morning, and we don’t have any structured things today.”Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, to Luke Homan’s family, and everybody associated with their friends as well.”last_img