Bielema stressing safety to players following attack

Coach talked about attack on Ball on WISC-TV’s ‘Sidelines’

Published On: Aug 02 2012 12:14:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 02 2012 12:13:50 PM CDT

MADISON, Wis. -- In a taped interview on WISC-TV's Sidelines, UW Football head coach Bret Bielema said he has reached out to some team leaders and other players about the attack on running back Montee Ball Wednesday morning -- informing them of what happened, stressing safety, knowing who you're with, and being aware of surroundings.

"I think the big thing, we always have a message to our players to have an awareness of where you're at, who you're with," Bielema said.  "I think as Madison evolves here with the times, I think our players need to understand there's some changes involving them. It's a police matter now, it's under investigation, I really can't comment much further than that."

Ball was attacked Wednesday morning at around bar time by five men, on the 500 block of University Avenue.  Police said Ball was walking home with two friends, after a night of socializing, when the unprovoked attack happened. 

Witnesses who saw it happen say the attackers made comments about Ball being on the UW Football team, and it seemed as if he was targeted.

"I heard the guys yell, 'nine more football players to go’, something along those lines -- like they were in the hunt for ten players, and Monte was one of them," witness Like Will told WISC-TV.

Ball suffered a concussion and several facial injuries.  Witnesses say he was knocked unconscious during the attack.

"Unfortunately, he got beat up pretty bad," Bielema said.  The coach expects Ball to be at the start of Fall camp on Sunday, but not actively participating.

Madison Police say their investigation continues -- they're looking for any surveillance video from the area when the attack happened.  They're also looking for any other witnesses, who might be able to help identify the five men who attacked Ball.  No arrests have been made.