Wisconsin Badger Football is officially back this week! Saturday at 11AM CT on FOX, the Badgers start the season hosting Penn State. Camp Randall will be rocking with fans back in the building and kicking off the season with a Big Ten top 20 matchup is rare. Today, the Badgers released the depth chart for week one and their are a couple of things to note.
The running back room once again is loaded with talent, which is a good problem to have. In the depth chart, it was listed that Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi would be the starting back on Saturday. This came as a surprise to some fans Redshirt Freshman Jalen Berger had a fantastic season last year and looks to be Wisconsin’s next great back. However, this seems to be a running back by committee. The starter necessarily doesn’t matter and expect to see both Mellusi and Berger getting action Saturday.
Danny Davis is Healthy
Danny Davis is the most exciting receiver the Badgers have had in recent history. Almost every game, Davis makes a catch that leaves you speechless. Last year, the badgers made it a point to get Davis the ball more in space. As seen in the Michigan game, Davis had successful jet sweeps and even scored on one of them. Davis was dealing with a head injury and missed a lot of fall camp. However, Davis is ready for Saturday and feels 100 percent.
Not to mention the rest of the wide receiver room looks great. Kendric Pryor returns after missing some time last year. Pryor is another guy who is explosive when he gets the ball in his hands. Also, having Chimere Dike and Jack Dunn as backups bodes well for the Badgers, considering they both gained experience last year with the absence of Pyror and Davis. Don’t forget about Jake Ferguson when talking offensive weapons. Ferguson seems to be Mertz’s’ favorite target, especially in the red zone.
Offensive Line Dominance
It wouldn’t be a Badger football article without mentioning the offensive line. People have dubbed Wisconsin as “Running Back U”, however that could arguably be “Offensive Line U”. The O-Line looks healthy and ready for Saturday, and I expect this group to dominate this season.
One surprise regarding the offensive line is the center position. Joe Tippmann will get the start over senior Kayden Lyles. Tippmann had such an impressive camp that it was almost impossible to leave him off the first string. Be on the look out to see how the sophomore handles his first start.
Since taking over as defensive coordinator in 2017, Jim Leonhard has made the Badger defense a consistent top 10 group. This should be no different this season. The Badgers are loaded with talent and experience with this group. 10 out of the 11 starters on defense are either a Junior or Senior. At all three levels, the Badgers have playmakers. Nose tackle includes big Keeanu Benton, who looks to have a breakout season in his Junior year and is a serious NFL level talent. At linebacker, guys like Jack Sanborn and Noah Burks are the definition of consistent. Finally, the secondary might have me the most excited. Caesar Williams and Faion Hicks are on the outside while Collin Wilder and Scott Nelson at safety. All four seniors, if this group can be consistent every game, this defense will dominate.
No surprises out of the starters for special teams. However, Colin Larsh is listed as the starting kicker. A lot of people expected Jack Van Dyke to get the start but he had an injury in camp. Be on the lookout for a kicker competition this season.
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