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MADISON - Coming off a well-placed bye week for his University of Wisconsin football team, Badgers coach Gary Andersen is expecting a full contingent of players back when it faces No.19 Northwestern Saturday.
Center Dallas Lewallen (knee), tight end Jacob Pedersen (knee) and receiver Kenzel Doe (hamstring) – three projected starters who missed the Ohio State game – all are expected to contribute. Doe’s return will ease the burden off senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, as Doe will be involved in kick and punt return, and is anxious to get his season on track.
Catching only two passes for 19 yards in the team’s first three games, Doe missed the last two games dealing with a hamstring injury. He’s also averaging a career-low 9.4 yards per punt return.
“(Ohio State) was a hard game for him to sit out,” Andersen said Thursday. “He’s excited to get back. I think he gained confidence as the week went on. Monday was a good day for him. Came out and did good things Tuesday and Wednesday (and) continued to move forward. He’s very excited about the opportunity to get out and hopefully make some great plays for us.”
Andersen said Lewallen practiced well all week, meaning he’ll likely start at center. Redshirt freshman Dan Voltz made his first career start against Ohio State, saying he’s maintained a level of consistency since fall camp.
“He’s deeply involved in the rotation,” said Andersen. “If we get involved in an (injury) situation, he’s the first man in at center and possibly at one of the guard positions.”
McEvoy Still Thinking QB
Although a wrist injury caused him to have a cast on his injury and relegated him to the safety position, a spot where he notched four tackles against the Buckeyes, Tanner McEvoy still can be seen after practices throwing the football to receivers.
“I think Tanner will always thinks he’s going to throw the ball and be a quarterback,” said Andersen, laughing. “As far as I know, he’s still going to play (in the cast), so his ability to throw the ball still isn’t there yet. I am sure as a quarterback he wants to get out and throw it around. It’ll always be in out mind as a quarterback.”
Andersen on the importance of this recruiting weekend
“It’s like any other weekend. There’s a little bit larger number of young men coming in, but this time of year all the kids are coming in on recruiting trips. It’s a big weekend. It’s hotly contested, just as it’s been all year long. Our numbers are loading up pretty quickly here, which is a real positive thing. It’s going to be a great weekend. Looks like the weather is going to be pretty good.
“It’s a big recruiting class for the University of Wisconsin. Obviously we have a senior-laden class, we’ve got to fill in some holes in the junior, sophomore and freshman class and we’re looking to hopefully get 30 new kids in this program by next August. That is the plan.”
Extra Points: Andersen said sophomore cornerback T.J. Reynard is cleared, but likely won’t play a lot as he continues to get closer to 100 percent … Former two-time Ohio State All-American Chris Spielman, who is part of the ABC broadcast team this weekend, addressed the team after practice … Andersen said he likes both senior Conor O’Neill and junior Derek Landisch rotating in at outside linebacker, calling it a good compliment to senior Chris Borland.