- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Wisconsin junior quarterback Dustin Sherer will make his second consecutive start Saturday against Illinois (ESPN2, noon ET). The bigger question is who will join him in the Badgers' offensive backfield.
Junior running back P.J. Hill injured his left leg in the second quarter of last week's game against Iowa. The injury is in the same area that forced Hill to miss 13 quarters last season. Hill, a three-year starter, broke his tibia in preseason camp in 2005 and underwent surgery.
Badgers head coach Bret Bielema said today that Hill's status for the Illinois game is unclear.
"It's really in P.J.'s hands," Bielema said. "We did X-rays on it and obviously everything we could do to test from a perspective of trying to see if anything got damaged. It's just a difficult deal when there's direct contact on it. We padded it up, did everything we can to protect it, but if he gets hit just in the right way ... It's just a situation where he has to determine what kind of tolerance he has."
Sherer is listed as the definitive starter on this week's depth chart after completing 17 of 34 passes for 161 yards and two interceptions against the Hawkeyes. Bielema stopped short of saying Sherer would start the remainder of the season, but the junior doesn't have to worry about his status for Illinois.
Sherer stepped up his play in practice last week after being informed he would start against Iowa.
"Dustin didn't play a clean game, didn't by any means set the world on fire," Bielema said. "There were some things, I liked the ability that he showed to stay alive. ... Obviously, accuracy was an issue on a couple throws, but the energy he brought to the table, his preparation, he was into it. We'd like to see how much growth he can have another week being the starter."
Other Badgers bits:
Left tackle Gabe Carimi and right guard Kraig Urbik have improved and could return from knee injuries against Illinois.
Clay (undisclosed) and cornerback Mario Goins (mild concussion) will be fine for practice Tuesday.
Bielema, on the criticism for himself and the team after four straight losses:
"From a head-coaching perspective, I didn't get into this profession for the salary. I didn't get into this profession for the notoriety or the extra outside things. I got into this profession to win. I got into this profession to be around young men and help them become people that, once their playing days are doing, they're going to go out and have success. ... For me to be in the situation I'm at now doesn't sit well. I feel the same disappointment, but this is my life. This is what I live 365 days a year. I need to stick with what I believe now more than ever before."