As the Spring Game approaches on April 28th, there are still some questions that remain unanswered. I got the opportunity to attend a few spring practices and see for myself how the Badgers are shaping up. Here are a few things that are yet to be figured out for Wisconsin:
Who will be the number 2 receiver?
We can be certain that Jared Abbrederis will the number one receiver. Abbrederis (933 yards) had more receiving yards than Nick Toon (926 yards) who was the number one receiver last season. But the number 2 receiver spot is still open. From what I saw, Jeff Duckworth and Chase Hammond are getting a majority of the reps on the first team.
Other notable possible wide-outs are Manasseh Garner and Kenzel Doe. Garner is recovering from a groin surgery and his return to spring ball is unknown. Kenzel Doe is one of the fastest wide receivers on the team but his lack of size puts him at a disadvantage at the line of scrimmage. At 5’8”, he is the shortest receiver on the roster. Doe can leave the defensive backs behind on long routes but does not do well with contact.
To me, Chase Hammond has the prototype body frame of a wide receiver. Hammond is the tallest receiver (6’5”), can make quick cuts, and make tough grabs. Look for him to be splitting time with Jeff Duckworth as the number 2 receiver.
How good will the Defense be?
With the departure of Aaron Henry and Antonio Fenelus, a void is left as far as who will take command of the defense. Chris Borland certainly has what it takes to be the leader of the Badger defense. Mike Taylor and Chris Borland led Wisconsin in both tackles and tackles for loss. We can expect that these two will be the voice of the defense.
But who will be the stand-out defensive back? If there was one thing that the Badgers struggled with last season it was creating turnovers. There were not enough interceptions or forced fumbles. Will it be any different this upcoming season? We’ll get a better look at the defense during the Spring Game next weekend.
Who will start at QB?
Although everyone speculates (validly) that Danny O’Brien will come in and take over as starting quarterback during summer camp the truth of the matter is that he is not here just yet. Joe Brennan and Joel Stave have been competing during spring ball trying to get an edge over the other.
The situation does not look very good as of now seeing as the active player with the highest completion rate on the Badgers roster is running back Montee Ball who is 2-2 on the two throws to Russell Wilson. We will get a better feel for the quarterbacks at the cardinal vs. white Spring Game. Either way, Badger fans everywhere are happy to have Danny O’Brien joining Wisconsin and giving the Badgers a quick-fix to the terrible QB mess.
There are high expectations for UW to return to the Big Ten Championship Game. With a solid season, there should be no reason that the cardinal and red don’t win the Leaders Division. Wisconsin’s 2012 schedule paves the path for success.
Their first four “games” (more like scrimmages) will let the Badgers prepare for their first real test on September 29th at Nebraska. From there on there should not be any problems for Wisconsin. Illinois is going through coaching changes, Purdue has been too inconsistent, and Indiana is, well Indiana. Ohio State and Michigan State are the toughest part of their schedule, but both games will take place at Camp Randall. Wisconsin, who is virtually unbeatable at home, will take care of business in front of its faithful fans and be well on their way to the Big Ten Championship. Assuming Danny O’Brien makes a smooth transition into the team, the Badgers will be a force to be reckoned with.