2007 Wisconsin Football Preview

Big Ten football fans

2007 Wisconsin football preview

2006 Record: 12-1, 7-1
Head Coach: Brett Bielema

Players Drafted:
Joe Thomas - OT - Round 1 - Cleveland

Top Recruits:
Josh Ogelsby – OL – 6’7” – 315 – Milwaukee, WI
Henry Arron – CB – 5’11” – 180 – Immokalee, FL
John Clay – RB – 6’0” – 220 – Racine, WI
Nick Toon – WR – 6’3” – 185 – Madison – WI
Blake Sorenson – LB – 6’2” – 205 – Eden Prairie, MN
James Stallions – QB – 6’6” – 180 – Macomb – MI
Quincy Landingham – 5’10” – 200 – Bloomfield Hills, MI

Key Players Returning:
Nick Hayden – DT – Sr.
Jack Ikegwuonu – CB – Jr.
PJ Hill – RB – Soph.
Luke Swan – WR – Sr.
Travis Beckum – TE – Jr.
Andy Kemp – G – Jr.
Kraig Urbik – G – Jr.
Allen Langford – CB – Jr.
DeAndre Levy – LB – Jr.
Jonathan Casillas – LB – Jr.

2007 Wisconsin Offensive Outlook

Sophomore P.J. Hill had a dynamic freshman season last year rushing for 120 yards per game and scoring 15 touchdowns. Hill combines speed with a solid 222 pound frame which gives the Badgers one of the top running backs in the conference. Hill will be relied upon to carry the offense which won’t be an easy task after the loss of OT Joe Thomas, the third overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft.

The QB situation is still up in the air according to Bielema. It appeared senior Tyler Donovan would have the first shot at QB, but Allan Evridge, a transfer from Kansas State, has made a push to earn the starting position. Donovan played in seven games last season and put together decent statistics. He threw four touchdown passes and two interceptions in 58 attempts with an impressive completion percentage (63.8).

The receivers bring back plenty of experience with seniors Luke Swan and Paul Hubbard. Swan and Hubbard didn’t put up crazy numbers last season, but they were very consistent. Both averaged just less than 50 yards per game and finished with five TD receptions. An added bonus for the new QB will be TE Travis Beckum who led the Badgers in receiving last season. Beckum snagged 61 passes and also had five touchdowns.

The offensive line will need to replace Joe Thomas, but on the Brightside the Badgers have the other four starters returning. Senior C Marcus Coleman will have to step in as the leader of the line. Junior G Andy Kemp can also provide leadership. Sophomore Jake Bscherer is a towering 6’7” LT who will try to fill the void left by Thomas. The right side of the line should be set with juniors Kraig Urbik and Eric Vanden Heuvel.


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2007 Wisconsin Defensive Outlook

The defense will return seven starters this season. Bielema has a good situation considering he has starters returning throughout the entire defense. The defensive line will have three starters back, while the linebackers and secondary each have two starters back this year.

Senior DT Nick Hayden will be accompanied by junior Jason Chapman on the inside, and junior Matt Shaughnessy will provide pressure from his DE position. Senior Kurt Ware is the lone new starter, but the line should have enough experience to be dominant up front.

Juniors DeAndre Levy and Jonathan Casillas made nice strides last season settling in as starters and will give the Badgers a powerful punch at linebacker. Casillas finished with 83 tackles last year with 12.5 tackles for loss. Levy led the team with six sacks on 2006.
Sophomore Elijah Hodge will step in as the new starter in the middle.

Juniors Jack Ikegwuonu and Allen Langford will start at CB. Ikegwuonu is one of the top cover corners in the conference and Langford led the team with three interceptions last season. Their cohorts at safety will be new starters in sophomores Aubrey Pleasant and Shane Carter.

2007 Wisconsin Special Teams

The Badgers may have the top kicking duo in the conference. Senior Taylor Mehlhaff has had a good career at Wisconsin and showed last season he can hit from long distance.

Senior P Ken DeBauche has a booming leg, but his average dropped two yards from his sophomore to junior season. He can still unleash big kicks and also can pin teams down by putting the ball inside the 20.

While the kicking game is set, the return game needs to show improvement. Despite poor numbers last season, the offense didn’t seem to be hurt by a lack of return yards. Even with plenty of weapons on offense, the returners need to provide better field position.

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2007 Wisconsin Badgers football prediction

In just his second year leading the Badgers, Brett Bielema has his team primed for a run at the Big Ten Championship. This team has solid units on both offense and defense and has an excellent shot at starting out with nine wins before back-to-back battles with Ohio State and Michigan in November. One benefit of seeing the other top contenders for the conference title late in the season is that the offense should be able to settle in with either Donovan or Evridge at QB by that point. If the Badgers can sneak by Ohio State in Columbus, the Wolverines will be coming to a rowdy environment on November 10th.

Wisconsin Badgers 2007 Football Schedule

September 1 - Washington State
September 8 - at UNLV
September 15 - Citadel
September 22 - Iowa
September 29 - Michigan State
October 6 - @ Illinois
October 13 - @ Penn State
October 20 - Northern Illinois
October 27 - Indiana
November 3 - @ Ohio State
November 10 - Michigan
November 17 - @ Minnesota



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