Wisconsin Badgers Football: 5 Players Who Are Key to 2011 Season
With the 2011 season coming up fast, the Wisconsin Badgers have one of their best teams yet. After a disappointing loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl, the Badgers are hungry for a title. The Badgers are ranked 11th in the polls and are heavy favorites to win the Big Ten this season.
The Badgers will face strong opponents in Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan this season, which should prepare them for a big bowl game. The Badgers should have the ability to beat any team they play this season.
Some key players this season come in the form of quarterback, running back, receiver, linebackers and defensive backs, whose performances will decide the fate of this Badger team.
Russell Wilson brings a new threat to the Wisconsin Badgers this season. His success on the gridiron will ultimately be the biggest key to the Badgers season. Although Wilson is a very talented quarterback, who should be a plus to the Badgers offense, many question whether or not Wilson will be able to run the offense come kickoff.
Wilson signed with the Badgers on June 27, only giving him two months to work with the Badger offense. Some people feel that this is not enough time and that Wilson will have trouble adapting to the Badger offense.
If Wilson is able to learn the Badger offense and adapt with a whole new team, he will be a major threat to every team. Wilson has the ability to take the Badgers up the polls and through the Big Ten. His biggest game will be against Nebraska, where he will face a very good defense and a very talented team which is looking to run the Big Ten after moving earlier this year.
James White had a tremendous season last year, and if the Badgers want to see success this season, White is going to have to do it again.
Last season, White had 1,052 yards with 14 touchdowns while averaging 7.0 yards per carry. White led the Badgers in rushing last season and is going to have to step up and do it again this season. White has the ability to be a top running back in the Big Ten, which he proved last season, ranking seventh in the Big Ten in rushing average with 87.7 yards per game.
White has the foot skills to leave defenders in the dust with broken ankles, and after working on strengthening his lower body during the offseason, White adds the power element to his game which will make him more deadly. With White and Ball, who ended the season as arguably one of the hottest running backs in the country, Wisconsin should have no problem establishing a run game.
White is going to need this added power to be a key player for the Badgers this season.
Wide receiver Nick Toon is another offensive player who will be a key to a successful Badgers season. Toon was injured with turf toe, causing him to miss four games last season. Toon will need to stay healthy this season if the Badgers want success. When healthy, Toon is a serious threat to opposing defenses, which allows for Wisconsin's run game to be successful and allows the Badgers to work the pass when defenses think they have the Badgers all figured out.
Last season, Toon had 36 receptions for 459 yards, which led to three touchdowns. Toon was averaging 12.8 yards per catch. Toon is going to have to stay healthy this season and improve his game. If he can stay on the field, his stats will go up and he may be a very dangerous receiver.
Chris Borland could be a game changer for the Badgers this season. Borland has a recurring shoulder problem that could make him hit or miss this season. If he stays healthy, Borland will be a dangerous linebacker that will terrorize offenses everywhere.
In 2009, Borland won Big Ten freshman of the year honors and tied for the league lead in fumble recoveries and tied for second in forced fumbles. Borland may be the answer to J.J. Watt being drafted. He must stay healthy this season because of his playmaking ability.
Broland spent the offseason rehabilitating his shoulder and getting his strength back. Look for him to have an explosive season.
Wisconsin Badger Antonio Fenelus looks to have his best year yet in his senior year. Defensive back Fenelus has had some very successful seasons and has seen improvement each year. Fenelus will be a key player for the Badgers protecting against the pass.
Fenelus recorded 56 tackles, 43 of those being solo, which makes Fenelus a solid open-field tackler. Fenelus also recoded one forced fumble and four interceptions, with one of those being returned for a touchdown.
Fenelus must stay on his game and continue to make stops and big plays for the Badgers this season, which will make him a key player for this team.