Wisconsin Badger Depth and The Dreaded "Or"

Duff BeachContributor IAugust 27, 2009

TAMPA, FL -  JANUARY 1: Offensive lineman Kraig Urbik #63 of the Wisconsin Badgers sets to block against the Tennessee Volunteers in the 2008 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  The Volunteers won 21 - 17. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Complete this sentence: "If you have two starting quarterbacks... "

The Badgers' released the depth chart for the opener a few minutes ago and confirmed the fear raised by reports out of last night's practice. 

Starting at quarterback?—"Scott Tolzien or Curt Phillips."—The two-headed monster rears its ugly head.

Look, I understand the issue: Tolzien knows the offense better and throws a more polished ball.  Phillips offers some exciting possibilities with his running ability and it's been almost a week since he last threw four interceptions in scrimmage. 

When you look at the lineup of receivers and tight ends, we need a quarterback who can sling it around a little.  So, Tolzien starts and the coaches will use Phillips in certain situations.  Meaning we have a two-headed quarterback.  My apologies for not expecting Phillips to be the next Tim Tebow, but I don't like this.

But the show must go on. 

As for the rest of the depth chart, only two surprises on offense (different than the chart I hypothesized yesterday).  First, Mo Moore is listed as the number two receiver behind Anderson, as opposed to Kyle Jefferson.  That's good news for Mo, but bad news for Jefferson. 

Second, redshirt freshman Kevin Zeitler is listed ahead of junior Bill Nagy at right guard.  I suspect that is more a reflection of Nagy's slow recovery from injury; he still hasn't gone full speed with the team.  I expect Nagy will win his starting position back once he's healthy.

The defense, which I wouldn't even begin to guess at, was re-shuffled a bit.  The starting ends are, as expected, Schofield and Watt.  At tackle the three that will rotate in and out are Stehle, Moore and Butrym (the latter two are co-listed number ones).

Linebacker is where the Badgers really shook things up.  McFadden is one outside linebacker, as expected, but the other is redshirt freshman Mike Taylor, with true freshman Chris Borland behind him (Kevin Rouse is second behind McFadden). 

So where is expected-outside starter Blake Sorensen?  Moved to middle linebacker where he's put on a good enough showing to co-list as the starter (there's that "or" again) with the incumbent, Culmer St. Jean.

On the corners are Aaron Henry (no surprise), and Devin Smith, who unseated returning seven-game starter Niles Brinkley.  Brinkley is now a co-number two with true freshman Dez Southward, who should play a fair amount of nickel this season. 

The safeties are as expected: Valai and Maragos.  Of note, true freshman Josh Peprah made the two-deep at safety.

Not too surprisingly, sophomore corner Anthony Fenelus (behind Henry at corner) will return kickoffs with David Gilreath.  Bielema has long spoken of Fenelus's athleticism and this is a way to get him on the field more.

What does it all mean?

"If you have two starting quarterbacks, you don't have a starting quarterback."


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