The Wisconsin Badgers haven’t been lucky with injuries to key players over the past year, and that trend has continued through fall camp. According to Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Badgers’ 18th practice of the season saw a dozen players sitting out with various injuries.
While 12 players on a 105-man roster may not seem like a lot, one look at the list of those actually out and you might be scared for the health of Wisconsin’s likely roster come LSU game day.
Here is the list of players out according to Potrykus:
Linebacker Derek Landisch (hamstring), linebacker Vince Biegel (head), fullback Derek Watt (unspecified), safety Leo Musso (unspecified), linebacker Jesse Hayes (left foot/ankle), fullback Derek Straus (left arm/shoulder), wide receiver Robert Wheelwright (unspecified) and wide receiver Jazz Peavy (hamstring)
Just a quick count of who was taking the majority of snaps with the No. 1 unit this fall, that’s a walking wounded of five starters. Additionally, there are two direct replacements for those injured starters currently out.
According to a report by Evan Flood of Badger247, the most worrisome injury (VIP subscription required) of the bunch could be that of Derek Landisch. All I can tell you is that things don’t look great for him to start the opener.
As for the rest, there have been an alarming number of players who have been taken out of practice with head injuries. Some of it may be being extra cautious given the renewed focus on concussions, but even with that it’s not good having running backs or linebackers out with head injuries.
Both Taiwan Deal and Vince Biegel have been held out of multiple practices with head injuries and we’ve seen others wearing green “no contact” jerseys as well. That includes linebacker Michael Trotter earlier today.
It all adds up to a team that can’t find a consistent group to practice with, especially at the No. 1 spots. That is the concerning part as we head to the latter-half of fall camp and the things turn from position battles to prepping for actual games ahead.
What does help this situation is that the Badgers are used to working with many different groupings, especially in week one when the teams were split in to two groups and multiple players switched between the two.
That’s helpful to this situation, but when you are dealing with a very young team its imperative that the experienced players and expected starters are around to help those guys out — and doing so on the field, more than sitting on the sidelines providing extra tips.
For me, the biggest concern is that we’ve seen a pattern at wide receiver. Both Rob Wheelwright and Jazz Peavy are expected to be major contributors, but both can’t seem to stay healthy enough to be constantly counted on.
If you can’t take reps in practice, how are you expected to be counted on come game day? It’s not as if either of the two are veterans of double-digit games played. Those two are just a microcosm of the overall injury issue UW has in camp.
Wisconsin’s overall youth means that having the experienced players healthy is of the utmost importance. Right now, that hasn’t been the case outside of quarterback and the top two running backs.
Thankfully, the young players have really stepped up to the plate and that bodes well for the future. Yet, as preparations begin for LSU, the Badgers will need to keep an eye on the walking wounded.
Those on the sidelines need to be back sooner than later if UW is to have a good shot against a very difficult LSU team.