The Penn State coaching staff deployed the wildcat formation for the first time this season on Saturday in the team's 20-14 win against Ohio State at Ohio Stadium, and it worked well as the offense racked up 239 rushing yards on the afternoon.
As the Nittany Lions prepare to take on Wisconsin in the de facto Big Ten Leaders Division championship game this weekend, however, the Badgers won't be blindsided like the Buckeyes were.
"The good fortune is we've seen this so much, we've actually had this happen already this year," coach Bret Bielema told reporters on Monday. "We've got a little package to use against that. Every team's a little bit different, so you've got to be careful what you're going, but it's definitely, our guys will be wired into."
Penn State used wide receivers Curtis Drake and Bill Belton as quarterbacks in the package, and the two combined to pick up 65 yards on seven carries, an average of 9.3 yards per carry. Both ran similar offenses in high school, so the decision to deploy the package was fairly easy after watching Belton run the scout team offense in preparation for Nebraska, interim Penn State coach Tom Bradley said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
"I thought we needed a change up," Bradley said. "It changes everybody's defense. All your zone blitzes change. A lot of your stunts change. All the things that you're doing change based on the fact 'What do they have off of it?'"
Bradley said the staff still doesn't know how much it will use against Wisconsin and that a determination will be made later in the week. With the Lions preparing to face the Big Ten's No. 6 ranked rushing defense allowing just over 135 rushing yards per game, however, the coach assured reporters that it will be in the mix as the staff makes the game plan.
He also seems confident that the offense has plenty left in its bag of tricks to keep the Badgers off balance and will be able to use the wrinkle to its advantage.
"We have other things that we can do off of it," Bradley said. "People now have to prepare for that. They've got to take time away."