Every year, a big offseason topic in Nebraska focuses on Wisconsin and how the Badgers use many pieces of what made the Huskers great at one time. Even coach Scott Frost mentioned it at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago last week, noting Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez's role in that. Alvarez, who played linebacker at Nebraska from 1965 to 1967, is known for implementing the "Nebraska formula."
The formula Frost wants to bring back to in Lincoln is essentially the exact formula that Wisconsin currently uses.
"Coach Osborne had the formula figured out," Frost said. "We used to build it from within by developing players better than anybody else. We went out and recruited good players that were hungry and had upside and got to work in the best strength and conditioning program in the country, with the best nutrition program in the country.”
Looking spefically at Wisconsin's strength and conditioning program and what makes it so different, Badgers players have plenty of thoughts on the matter. D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin's fourth leading tackler last season, came to Madison with the mentality needed to thrive in the Badgers' program. He also gives a lot of credit to Wisconsin's strength staff.
“Coach K [Ross Kolodziej] does a really good job with all of our coaches putting meal plans in place for us," Dixon said. "Even modifying some workouts for particular individuals that have had surgeries or different types of injuries. They do a great job of helping us be the best players we can be for the season and throughout the season. I dp think lifting is credited with that.
"We do lift hard. We lift hard in the season too. We stay strong and stay durable. Guys are tough here, it’s a mindset. The way we train in the offseason builds up that mindset to have us ready in season.”
Offensive tackle Michael Dieter has started 41 games at Wisconsin, showing off his versatility along the way. The consensus first team All-Big Ten selection in 2017 gave voice to just how important it is to be in best condition you can be playing at Wisconsin.
“I think it all starts with understanding the importance of strength and conditioning,” Dieter said. “At Wisconsin, that has been something we need. If we are not as strong as we possibly can be, we won’t be as good of as a team. They always say that we aren’t as athletic as everyone so we need to be as powerful as possible. I think everyone in this program understands the importance of it. I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere. When people know we are walking into that weight room or lining up to run they know it has a direct translation to what we do on Saturdays.
"I think we understand that so that is why we work a certain way and it works for us.”
Wisconsin did some of their best work in 2017 during the month of November. As bumps, bruises and fatigue set in around the conference, the Badgers hit their stride.
During that month alone, they scored 35.5 points per game while only allowing 10.3 points per contest. With a little insight from Wisconsin players, it highlights why the formula Alvarez put in place works and why they are able to push through when others may falter.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.