Monday, August 22, 2011
Wisconsin lists Wilson as Week 1 starter
By Adam Rittenberg
Wisconsin had few surprises on its Week 1 depth chart, starting with the quarterback position.
NC State transfer Russell Wilson is listed as the Badgers’ No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, released Monday night. Sophomore Jon Budmayr, who has been battling elbow problems and could need surgery, is listed as the backup.
Wilson has taken most of the reps with the first-team offense during preseason practice, drawing excellent reviews from his coaches, teammates and media members allowed to watch the workouts. He started the past three seasons for NC State and was named runner-up for ACC Offensive Player of the Year in 2010. Wilson threw for 8,545 yards and 76 touchdowns with 26 interceptions in his NC State career.
Wisconsin players voted Wilson a co-captain for the season even though the quarterback only joined the team in early July.
Other notes from the Badgers’ depth chart:
- Josh Oglesby is listed as the starter at right tackle ahead of freshman Rob Havenstein.
- Junior Shelton Johnson has won the starting strong safety spot after competing with Dezmen Southward throughout camp. He’ll play alongside Aaron Henry.
- Sophomore Ethan Hemer is listed as a starting defensive tackle ahead of classmate Jordan Kohout.
- Devin Smith and Marcus Cromartie are listed as co-starters at cornerback opposite All-Big Ten selection Antonio Fenelus. Smith entered camp with the inside track for the job but has been pushed by Cromartie, a talented junior.
- Two other co-starters are listed: running backs Montee Ball and James White (no surprise) and kickers Philip Welch and Kyle French (bigger surprise). Welch is a three-year starter who coach Bret Bielema still likes to push in practice. Listing French as a co-starter seems like one way to light a fire.
- White also is listed as a starting kick returner with receiver Jared Abbrederis. Is this too risky with the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year? Perhaps, but Wisconsin could use White’s speed as it replaces David Gilreath.