Week 2 of fall camp has come and gone for the Wisconsin football team with clarity at quarterback and kicker while the injury bug has struck a variety of key positions. So call off the dogs, and let the two-quarterback experiment begin. Without further ado, let's dive in to this week's stock report.
Trip to the Infirmary
Head coach Gary Andersen gave the team Thursday off after the Badgers saw player after player go down with minor injuries over the course of the first two weeks.
Per Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the list of those injured includes fullback Derek Watt (unspecified), fullback Derek Straus (left arm/shoulder), wide receiver Robert Wheelwright (unspecified) and wide receiver Jazz Peavy (hamstring) on offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, the injury report includes linebacker Derek Landisch (hamstring), linebacker Vince Biegel (head), safety Leo Musso (unspecified) and linebacker Jesse Hayes (left foot/ankle).
Beyond those, linebacker Marcus Trotter participated with a "non-contact" jersey on, while Dallas Lewallen sat out Wednesday's practice with an illness.
By my count, at least 17 players dealing with some type of injury in fall camp (that we know of). S Austin Hudson has club on left hand.— Jesse Temple (@jessetemple) August 15, 2014
Adding to the list of injuries is the news that running back/safety Vonte Jackson will be ending his football career. Per Potrykus, Jackson has endured three major knee surgeries and suffered another knee injury in practice last week. Jackson wasn't in line for real playing time, but one never likes to see a player's career cut short by injuries.
On a brighter note, earlier in the week, receivers Kenzel Doe and Jordan Fredrick both made their returns from injuries to become full participants in practice.
Freshmen Earn Their W's
In Monday's practice, the first five freshmen earned the "W's" on their helmets. Freshmen come into camp without a W on their helmet and earn them over the course of fall camp. This is a manifestation of earning your proverbial stripes and is a sign from coaches and teammates that they are progressing through the program.
The first batch of players to get their W's include kicker Rafael Gaglianone, all three freshmen wide receivers—Krenwick Sanders, George Rushing and Natrell Jamerson—and safety Lubern Figaro.
Four more freshmen earned their W's on Friday including offensive tackle Beau Benzschawel, linebacker D'Cota Dixon, defensive lineman Conor Sheehy and cornerback Derrick Tindal.
With good depth up front on the offensive side of the ball, Benzschawel will likely take a redshirt, but seeing him earn his motion W is a big step for the continued offensive line tradition at Wisconsin.
All three receivers earning their motion W's is incredibly important as all three have the chance to go down to Houston and contribute right away. With injuries once again ravaging the receiving corps, there may be chances for any and all of these guys to contribute against LSU at the end of August.
#Badgers afternoon practice has concluded. Freshman wide receiver George Rushing had a nice practice with a couple of red zone TD catches— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 13, 2014
In the secondary, Figaro has seen snaps with the first team, starting alongside Michael Caputo at safety while Tindal has seen snaps as the nickel cornerback. While that is probably Devin Gaulden's role, Gaulden's history of injuries makes having a dependable backup there all the more imperative.
#Badgers wrapped up practice this morning. Freshman Lubern Figaro took most of the No. 1 reps at safety.— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 12, 2014
Dixon has made the transition from defensive back to linebacker rather seamlessly, providing good coverage instincts to go along with a willingness to make plays inside the box. Dixon has certainly been one of the best surprises from camp thus far and hopefully he can provide key depth at the otherwise fairly thin linebacker position.
While coming into camp, all eyes were on nose guard Jeremy Patterson to step in as the backup to Warren Herring, it has been Sheehy who has impressed the coaching staff thus far. While I still believe Patterson will be the better player down the road, the development of both is important, as the nose guard in a 3-4 defense is the anchor.
Last but not least is Gaglianone, but we'll get to him in just a bit.
A few players Badger fans would like to see earn their stripes include the aforementioned Patterson, as well as offensive guard Micah Kapoi and running backs Taiwan Deal and Caleb Kinlaw.
The two most important positions on the field (kicker and quarterback) are finally starting to see some more clarity in the depth chart.
Much to the chagrin of some, it appears as if Joel Stave will be the man under center for the Badgers for their first offensive series. Stave has been incredibly consistent playing with both the first and second team offenses, and his experience will probably give him the eventual leg up.
Both Tanner McEvoy and Joel Stave had great days, completed most their passes. McEvoy had a 50-yard TD to Krenwick Sanders. #badgers— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 12, 2014
While McEvoy may not be the starter, it still looks like there will be packages for him to play, as his athleticism gives the Badgers a completely different look and may help to soften up some stacked boxes.
At kicker, Gaglianone has continued to impress, and it looks like, barring a slump at the end of camp, he will be handling the field-goal duties. As for kickoffs, Andrew Endicott was working with the top unit, followed by Gaglianone and then Russell, according to Potrykus.
Kicking stats: R. Gaglianone 4 for 5 (Missed 43, Good 43, 50, 55, 40). If he ain't your starter, I don't know who is. J. Russell went 1-3.— Jesse Temple (@jessetemple) August 10, 2014
To close things out, Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network spoke with offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, who says he will pick a starting quarterback after Monday's scrimmage.