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Wisconsin's Thick Red Line

Sports Illustrated

The coach stood in the late-afternoon shadow that stretched across the field at Camp Randall Stadium, watching his offensive linemen prepare for a one-on-one blocking drill against the scout team. This is one of Bret Bielema's favorite moments of the week: a full-contact, full-speed practice, in which the tone is set for the coming Saturday. As he watched one of his starting linemen crouch into a three-point stance, ready to unleash holy hell on the redshirt freshman across from him, Bielema smiled devilishly, as if he couldn't wait for the bloodshed to begin. "This is what Wisconsin football is all about: man-on-man smashmouth," Bielema said. "Just watch this."

A whistle blew, and center Peter Konz, a 6'5", 315-pound junior, blasted forward, hitting...

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