The University of Wisconsin football team will not necessarily be having tryouts for defensive linemen this week, but head coach Barry Alvarez said Monday the team will need to be “creative” with its depth.
Alvarez did not have an update on defensive end Joe Monty, who seriously injured his knee in the first quarter of Saturday’s game, or tackle Jason Chapman, who missed much of the game after injuring his ankle.
Monty, however, is not listed on the Badgers’ official depth chart this week and is not expected to play.
Chapman, on the other hand, is listed as a starter for Saturday’s game against the Purdue. That is one reprieve for a defensive line that could use a truckload of good fortune.
The team has been without top defensive tackle Justin Ostrowski (knee) all season and top defensive end Jamal Cooper (knee) since a week three win at North Carolina. Plus, potential second-team tackle Mark Gorman has missed all season with a broken foot.
“You just have to find answers,” Alvarez said. “That’s our job, is to try to find an answer someplace.”
The answer currently is a starting lineup of ends sophomore Kurt Ware and true freshman Matt Shaughnessy and tackles redshirt freshman Chapman and sophomore Nick Hayden. The top reserves are redshirt freshman tackles Mike Newkirk and Gino Cruse, and sophomore end Brandon Kelly.
Cruse and Newkirk played extensively Saturday after Chapman went down with his injury, and Kelly was on the field in crunch time after Ware left the game with an apparent minor injury.
“We used them all last week and in a tight ball game because that’s who we had,” Alvarez said. “But they’re all going to have to play now.”
Alvarez said that true freshman Travis Beckum, who converted to defensive end from Sam (strongside) linebacker about a month ago, is close to helping the team as a situational player, presumably as a designated pass rusher.
Badger players of the week
Tailback Brian Calhoun and quarterback John Stocco shared the Badgers’ team offensive player of the week honor Monday, for their performances in UW’s wild come-from-behind 38-34 win over Minnesota Saturday.
Calhoun ran 23 times for 110 yards and three touchdowns against the Gophers and also caught three passes for 29 yards.
Stocco completed 15 of 26 passes for 235 yards and the touchdown that drew UW within 34-31 with 2:10 left to play.
Punter Ken DeBauche was named special teams player of the week for the fourth time this season. DeBauche averaged 46.4 yards per attempt Saturday and pinned the Gophers inside their 10-yard line on two of his five attempts. He also executed a very good onside kick with 2:10 left to play. The kick ricocheted off Gopher Trumaine Banks and UW’s Zach Hampton and was recovered by the Gophers at the Minnesota 8. That helped set the stage for Jonathan Casillas’ blocked punt and Ben Strickland’s recovery for the game-winning touchdown.
Strong safety Joe Stellmacher, who led all players with 14 tackles, and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy, a true freshman who, because of the Badgers’ injury woes, played every snap defensively against a punishing running game, were named co-defensive players of the week.
True freshman tailback Dion Foster earned his second scout offensive player of the week honor. Senior linebacker Elliot Goode was named scout defensive player of the week.
The Badgers are ranked No. 14 in the first edition of the Bowl Championship Series standings, the second-highest ranking for a Big Ten team. Wisconsin is No. 17 in both the USA Today coaches’ poll and the Harris Interactive poll, and are No. 8 in the nation in the composite computer rankings.
Other Big Ten teams that grace the first BCS ratings: No. 10 Penn State, No. 15 Ohio State, No. 22 Minnesota and No. 24 Michigan State.