Mike Lucas has more than 38 years under his belt covering Badgers sports for the Madison Capitol Times. Along with national, regional and local writing awards, Lucas has been twice named the Sportswriter of the Year in Wisconsin. He also has more than 15 years as color analyst on Wisconsin Radio Network for Badger football and basketball. You can see Mike hosts his weekly television show, Sidelines on WISC TV (Ch.3-Ch.14). Lucas has authored five books: Barry's Badgers, the chronicleof the 1993 Rose Bowl Season; Five Golden Rings; the Saga of Wisconsin Hockey; The 25 Greatest Moments in Camp Randall History; Don't Flinch, the Barry Alvarez autobiography; and Another Hill to Climb, the Bo Ryan autobiography.
Matt Lepay is a native of Dayton, Ohio and is a graduate of Ohio State University (degree in journalism). He is the radio voice of Wisconsin Badgers Football and Basketball(football since 1994 and basketball since 1988-89) and a five-time Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year (as selected by state media members). You may have seen him on TV as the host of the Badgers Sports Report with UW coaches Bret Bielema and Bo Ryan. He also co-hosts Badgers Sportstalk radio shows with Mike Lucas.
Former Badger and Madison Hall of Famer Rob Andringa joined the show Tuesday to talk about the Badger Hockey Team going back to the Dane County Coliseum.
Andringa said that the Coliseum has character that other newer stadiums don’t have. He talked about how much the facilities have improved since he played. “It’s the way it should be. Every generation and every time you start moving forward it should be better.”
Andringa said that the Coliseum is still his rink of choice. “If somebody asked me today if you could go back to the Kohl Center, go back to the new locker room, or go back to the Coliseum and the old locker room, I would pick the Coliseum everyday of the week and I think most of my teammates would do as well.”
Packers insider Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel joined the show Friday to talk Jermichael Finley and the NFL combine.
We asked Silverstein his thoughts on Jermichael Finley's recent statement that he would not take a pay cut in order to stay a Packer. While he thinks Finley could have worded his statement differently, it comes as no surprise. "If you ask any player in the NFL, is he going to say 'I want a pay cut?'" Of Finley, Silverstein said "He's 25 years old. People forget that." While he feels Finley is still young and "immature", he added that "he's honest" and "good quote".
In other Packers news, Silverstein weighed in on the NFL's recent reinstatement of Johnny Jolly. Jolly was suspended indefinitely in 2009 due to drug charges. Silverstein feels Jolly's future in the NFL "all depends on what kind of condition he's in." While he feels the Packers will talk to Jolly, he offered the idea that "maybe he just needs to start anew somewhere else." If, however, Jolly is physically ready and the Packers are convinced he has truly taken to recovery, Silverstein says "Why not?"
As for the NFL combine, Silverstein feels the issues surrounding personal questions have been going on for awhile. He gave the example of Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland asking Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute in 2010. Silverstein thinks they try to "create a pressure situation" at the combine to see how players react but added that "it's completely out of line" to ask personal questions such as sexual orientation. On Montee Ball's subpar performance at the combine, Silverstein said, "I think it hurt him a little." He looks forward to seeing Ball perform on Pro Day and said "I wouldn't write him off."
Montee Ball joined the show on Thursday to talk about his performance at the NFL Combine.
Ball talked about his 40 yard dash. He said he was disappointed but that other people told him he will be alright. “I talked to a lot of coaches after, and they told me not to worry. For me, they knew I’m a lot quicker than I am fast. They just told me, you didn’t hurt yourself, I didn’t surprise or wow anybody.”
For some teams the 40 time matters more than others. “A lot of people have their opinions about it, but you rarely ever run in a straight line full speed in a football game, but I understand why they have it though.”
Ball talked about the formal interview process. “Each formal interview is about 20 minutes long. The first five minutes is all personal. Then the next 15 minutes is straight football.” He added “I feel like I did a great job, I had the opportunity to show my intelligence to the teams, and how passionate I am about the game.”
Ball also talked with the Packers. “I did a little bit in our informal interview. They knew a lot about me because of instate team. I told them I would really love to play for you guys because of the fan base and everything, and I would love to stay in Wisconsin if I could.”
Ball said he wanted teams to know that he went out there and competed in everything. Ball explained his schedule at the combine and it is ridiculous. As for whether Ball made a good choice to stay in college for his senior year, “They said I think you made the right decision.”
NFL Insider Bill Scott joined the show on Monday to talk about the Packers as they move through the offseason.
Scott talked about how surprised he was that the Packers might franchise Greg Jennings. “It sounds like he and his agent want top of the line money, and I don’t think he is going to get that. Maybe the Packers, when he doesn’t get what he wants, maybe they come and get him on the back side.” Since the Packers have to pay some other players a lot of money, Scott didn’t think they would franchise him.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said that there won’t be any staff changes on the defensive side of the football and Scott said he thought someone might get moved, but not the coordinator. “I didn’t think they were going to lose Capers, but my thought process was maybe (someone would lose their job).
Scott talked about what McCarthy is doing to try and figure out the read-option offense. “He is leaning on college coaches that are going to try and tackle that read-option.”
Do people in the Packers’ organization want Jermichael Finley around? “It doesn’t surprise me that’s it’s perhaps a split (who wants him around). When push comes to shove it’s him first and team second.” Scott said that the Packers need to see more consistency from Finley.
Scott said he thinks the Packers may draft heavy on defense, particularly safety and on the defensive line.
Shon Morris from the Big Ten Network joined the show on Tuesday to talk about the Big Ten Title race and who should be Coach of the Year.
Badgers losing Gasser at the point guard position and still being able to play so well as the reason Bo Ryan deserves the honor. “If I were to vote right now, I would give it to Bo Ryan.”
What has surprised Morris about Wisconsin? “How unbelievably consistent they are, whether they are up ten or down ten, they are not going to change the way they play. They don’t do anything to help you beat them.” Morris was also amazed at Wisconsin’s place in the Big Ten, even though free throw shooting has been such an issue.
Minnesota plays Indiana tonight, and Morris said this could be a good game. “I’m not going to shocked if Minnesota (beats Indiana), but if Indiana pulls this one out tonight, they have to feel pretty good about where they are (in winning the Big Ten).”
Indiana has won four in a row, and Morris said it starts with defense. “They really picked it up defensively. They were able to get out in the open floor, and that’s where their threes fall and they’re much more fluid offensively.”
As for Michigan State, Morris said they need Keith Appling to get things mentally figured out. “He is still a top ten player in the league, but they need him to recover.”
Sports columnist from the Wisconsin State Journal, Tom Oates, joined the show Thursday to discuss if he thinks Brandon Jennings wants out of Milwaukee.
Jennings claims that his sister is the one who put out the message of him wanting to leave Milwaukee; Oates said it still could have come from Jennings himself. “Having been in this business a long time, I’m a believer that where there is smoke there is fire, so well Brandon Jennings can deny that he said it, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people in his camp maybe including him who think that way.”
Oates said that Jennings may feel like he just can’t get the publicity he thinks he deserves if he is in Milwaukee. “I wouldn’t doubt after the All-Star game snub that he’s pretty down.”
So what do the Bucks do with Jennings? “I don’t think the Bucks are the kind of team after getting burned by the Michael Redd’s contract, they are not the kind of team that’s going to jump into a max contract early. I do think (the Bucks) are getting a little tired of this dance.” Oates said that their just isn’t a whole lot of alternatives that Milwaukee has in the backcourt.