MADISON - Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema took to social media on Sunday night to announce his starting quarterback. That part is for certain, as junior quarterback Danny O’Brien will start the September 1 opener against Northern Iowa.
As for the rest of the depth chart that was released Monday afternoon, there is still room for change. Not only did Wisconsin list 13 starters on the offensive side of the ball (five linemen, three wide receivers, two tight ends and one quarterback, tailback and fullback), Bielema said the competition for the right guard is still very much open.
“We would like to name a starter before we start game week preparation,” Bielema said after Monday’s practice, “but we want to continue to see those guys work out.”
The plan starting Monday in Wisconsin’s third week of summer camp was to give sophomore Kyle Costigan the repetitions with the first-team offense while moving Robby Burge to second-string right tackle, a move that will give Costigan more work as he makes the transition from offense to defense and Burge more work as a security blanket should something happen to right tackle Rob Havenstein.
“Burge has given us a lot a good things in there, but he’s going to learn a little bit more tackle this week because he definitely has to be a role player for us up front,” said Bielema.
True freshman Dan Voltz, who had been working as the second-team center, was named as the second-string right guard behind Costigan. Redshirt sophomore Joe McNamara was listed as the second-string center.
“(Voltz) is very intelligent, very athletic, he’s one of those tenacious guys,” said Bielema. “We’re doing inside drill and (Chris) Borland jacked him up. His helmet came up (and) sideways and he’s still blocking. That’s just typical Dan Voltz. He’s not going to quit until you knock him out.”
The other open position is field goal kicker and kickoff, two roles that Bielema said will likely ‘come right down until the day it happens’ between redshirt sophomore Kyle French and true freshman Jack Russell. After finishing last week strong on his kicks, Russell was listed as the No.1 field goal kicker in Monday’s depth chart. He responded by going 2-for-4 on his kicks after practice.
French, who was listed as the No.1 kicker on kickoffs, kicked the ball cleanly and went 4-for-4 on his kicks, including a long of
“Kyle’s first (kickoff) was about seven-yards deep into the end zone with over a 4.2 (second) hang time,” said Bielema. “Even if they could split those roles, I think we’ll be a stronger unit overall.”
Although he wasn’t listed on the released depth chart, redshirt freshman Jesse Hayes certainly showed his potential. With the media permitted to watch the last 20 minutes of practice, Hayes interception a Curt Phillips’ pass and knifed into the backfield to register a tackle for loss on Melvin Gordon.
Hayes’ performance comes after his scrimmage Saturday was not at an optimal level, according to Bielema.
“He came out with a different attitude tonight and played extremely well,” said Bielema.
- Sophomore tight end Sam Arneson underwent a successful minor knee procedure and will hopefully return ‘rather sooner than later,’ according to Bielema.
- Redshirt junior linebacker A.J. Fenton is still experiencing back tightness and will likely receive some shots in the coming days to hopefully release some of the tension.
- All three starting linebackers – Ethan Armstrong, Chris Borland and Mike Taylor – participated during workouts today with the starting defensive line.
- Defensive tackle Warren Herring suffered a mild concussion at the beginning of practice, giving redshirt freshman Jake Keefer a chance with the second-team defense at defensive tackle. Keefer was moved from linebacker to defensive end in the spring and to defensive tackle in the summer.