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JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald file photoAs soon as safety Zach Hampton knocked down Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain’s final desperation pass in the Capital One Bowl, one question emerged to dominate any discussion of Badger football: Who will replace senior bowl MVP John Stocco as the UW quarterback?In one corner is Tyler Donovan, a fifth-year senior-to-be who came off the bench in relief of Stocco late in the season to engineer the final two regular-season victories in an impressive manner. In the other corner is Allan Evridge, a junior transfer from Kansas State who sat out all of the 2006 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but set several Kansas State freshman records in his brief stint there. As spring practice progressed, the two largely cancelled out each other’s performances, both struggling at times and shining at others. “The thing I enjoyed during the course of the spring was the competition they have going right now,” Bielema said. “I’m really a firm believer, even back in my playing days, that any time you have competition, it brings the best out of people.”UW coaches left the quarterback situation an open question at the end of spring practice, but during the Big Ten Conference Media Day, head coach Bret Bielema gave his strongest indication yet as to whom the starter may be.”It’s very hard for me as a head coach to envision [Donovan] not being the guy,” Bielema said. “He has a lot of advantages over Allan Evridge.”Those advantages include a firm grasp on the UW offense after four years in the current system and game experience last year. Evridge is just now starting to fully understand the UW offense, which is drastically different than what he played in at Kansas State, Bielema noted. While the starter under center Sept. 1 against Washington State may not be a certainty just yet, one thing about the position is.”I really expect sometime during camp we’ll go ahead and make a move — whoever it may be,” Bielema said. “I can assure you you’re not going to see any two-platoon quarterback system out of Wisconsin.”Hill healthyBielema announced at Media Day that UW running back P.J. Hill, the reigning Big Ten rushing leader and Freshman of the Year, and tight end Andy Crooks, have been medically cleared for all football activities by doctors. Hill and Crooks sat out all of spring practice after undergoing similar shoulder surgeries after the 2006 season. Hill’s return is excellent news for the Badgers, who may be a few bodies short in the backfield when fall practice opens Aug. 6.In early July, a report surfaced in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that incoming freshman running back John Clay — a high school All-American selection — had been deemed academically ineligible by the NCAA. Then, sophomore Lance Smith was arrested early July 15 after a dispute and eventual altercation with his girlfriend over $5 of cab fare. Smith has been charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct, and has been suspended from practice and competition by the UW Athletic Department pending further investigation.Both Smith and Clay were expected to see action behind Hill this season. “Both of their situations are dramatically different, and there are some things that have to work out for both of them before anything becomes official with us,” Bielema said. Later, Bielema elaborated. “Every situation I have to deal with as a head coach, all I can do is gather all the information, and based on administration, they let me make a decision, they’re going make certain decisions,” he said. “As of now, [Smith] is still suspended, but my guess is things are changing by the day.”Feelin’ chippyWhen Bielema walks into a new recruit’s house, one of the first questions he usually asks is this: “Which team in the Big Ten has won the most games in the last three years?”Despite the fact that the correct answer is Wisconsin, with 31 victories, he almost universally gets an answer of Ohio State (30 wins) or Michigan (27).It is this sort of oversight — not only from recruits, but from fans and media as well — that Bielema says motivates his team to play with a chip on its shoulders. “At Wisconsin we have to play with a little chip on our shoulder,” Bielema said. “We have to go with a little different attitude more than others, because people don’t know the level of success we’ve had.”
The grass isn’t greener for the Dodgers. For all the talk of managers like Dusty Baker — who doesn’t win in the postseason — being available, Mattingly is the best option. He knows how to deal with Yasiel Puig — as best as that’s possible — and guided a dramatic turnaround from worst to first in the NL West. Given a healthy roster, the Dodgers should contend for the World Series title next year.The Dodgers can’t think that a $220 million payroll automatically ensures a championship because it doesn’t. On Tuesday, a day after Mattingly went public with his displeasure, the Dodgers fired bench coach Trey Hillman, a longtime friend of Mattingly’s. That move could’ve severed ties between the two sides even more, but the Dodgers also renewed the contracts of pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, and coaches Tim Wallach and Davey Lopes. Mattingly said he wanted his staff to be retained, and he got most of that. He might not have multiple years, but clearly the two sides came to a compromise for him to return at all.That was in the best interest of the Dodgers. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Mattingly led the Dodgers to a victory over Atlanta in the NLDS, which vested his option for 2014. The Dodgers didn’t have to honor it and neither did Mattingly. Thankfully, everyone saw the big picture: a chance to win the World Series in 2014 with a healthy roster. Mattingly’s future seemed very much in doubt after a couple of questionable managerial moves he made in the postseason, even though he had the Dodgers two wins away from the World Series. The moves he made that worked — like pitching Clayton Kershaw on three days’ rest to clinch the division series — didn’t garner the kind of attention that pinch running for Adrian Gonzalez did.Mattingly’s status seemed much more uncertain Monday in a news conference during which Mattingly, arms folded, said he felt like he was a “lame duck” since the Dodgers hadn’t extended his contract beyond the season. All the while sitting next to general manager Ned Colletti.He hinted that he might not be back because “I don’t want to be anywhere you’re not wanted.”The Dodgers are honoring 2014 and reportedly not beyond, but a World Seriesd ring might solve those extension problems. Don Mattingly will be back to manage the Dodgers in 2014, which is the right move for Mattingly and the Dodgers. The Dodgers made the right call by not reacting to a stunning news conference on Monday in which Mattingly put pressure on the Dodgers to extend his contract. He hinted he might walk away from just a one-year deal.“I never had any doubt that Don would honor his contract,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said in a text message. Kasten could not comment about details of the deal — whether it’s for multiple years or just for one year — until after the World Series is over next week.