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Saturday, December 31st, 2016

BRONCOS DOWNSHIFT FOR PRACTICE

Photo By: Photo by Ian Halperin/CBAA

Western Michigan polished its game plan during a 45-minute practice Saturday at AT&T Stadium.


It’s the same practice during a regular-season game week that falls on a Thursday, so the Broncos refer to it as Technique Thursday. They work without pads and helmets and they step moderately instead of running as they execute plays.


“There’s absolutely zero energy exerted physically. It’s all mental energy,” Head Coach P.J. Fleck said. “We get 85 to 90 plays. It’s more of a walk-through. But it’s the most important practice that we have because if they’re not going to be able to get it walking, they’re not going to be able to get it going full speed.


“It slows everything down, brings the game plan in together, gives them one more chance to really lock in on it.”


The 15th-ranked Broncos (13-0, 9-0 Mid-American) will meet No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten) in the 81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Jan. 2.
After practice, the Western Michigan team returned to their hotel where they planned to remain to ring in the new year. No venturing out. They don’t consider it a major sacrifice when compared to what’s at stake – to knock off a prominent Big Ten opponent, finish 14-0 and to do it all on a national stage.


“This is way more important and a lot better than any new year party they could have for a few hours,” Fleck said.


Earlier in the day, Fleck and all players on the two-deep roster participated in media day at the stadium.


On Sunday, Fleck and Wisconsin Head Coach Paul Chryst will participate in a joint news conference at the Omni Dallas Hotel and both also will speak at the Goodyear Big Play Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. The team will conduct an afternoon walk-through at the stadium that is closed to the media and public.


The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 81st anniversary on Monday, January 2. Airtime on ESPN is set for noon CST, with kickoff slated for 12:01 p.m.


This marks the third consecutive year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to be a part of the ESPN bowl lineup. Bob Wischusen and Brock Huard will provide the call from the booth with Allison Williams reporting from the sideline.


ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner for the fifth consecutive year. Brad Sham, the "Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," teams with Rod Gilmore in the booth and Quint Kessenich on the sideline to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium. This is Sham's 20th consecutive year as the Classic's play-by-play voice and his 24th overall.

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