2012 Wisconsin Badgers Football Preview – Defense By Committee

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With the star power mostly on offense, the Badgers’ defense is anchored by Chris Borland and Mike Taylor, studs in their own regard. The linebacking duo combined to lead the country’s 13th scoring defense.

However, Wisconsin will have to replace five defensive starters this season, starting up front on the defensive line with the departures of Patrick Butrym and Louis Nzegwu. The Badgers should be deep enough to use a committee to complete the task until someone stands out to go along with defensive tackle Beau Allen, who had a promising campaign last season.

As previously mentioned, Borland and Taylor will fly around the ball and seek to create havoc, which proved effective last season as the Badgers forced 26 total turnovers. However, the defense was run ragged against the spread offenses of Michigan State and Oregon towards the end of the season, causing a bit of concern for the upcoming season as new starters are implemented.

The real concern in the Badgers’ defense lies in the secondary. Wisconsin is faced with replacing two All Conference defensive backs in Aaron Henry and Antonio Fenelus, making their defensive backfield a young group this season. The Badgers do have capable performers, like Shelton Johnson, Marcus Cromartie and Penel Jean, but inconsistency riddled the unit last season and at time they struggled to get the team off the field.

Overall, the Badgers defense should be solid, but the team has struggled recently against opponents that feature more speed and athleticism than them. With a few spread offense teams on their schedule, mainly Nebraska, Michigan State, and Ohio State, Wisconsin’s defensive flaws will be tested, but should not be exposed too often, as the vast experience of their two leaders, Borland and Taylor, will allow the Badgers defense to remain to frustrate opponents.

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