The 2014 season marks the post Chris Borland era for the Wisconsin Badgers and their defense. How do you replace someone like Borland, a player that really only comes around once every 10 years? To be honest, you really don’t. It’s going to take a group effort by the linebackers of Wisconsin to fill the void left by Borland. But a few guys are more than up for the challenge.
Derek Landisch is tabbed as the guy to take on the daunting task of trying to fill Borland’s shoes. The senior is by far the most experienced player on the defensive side of the ball, playing in 38 total games and starting two last season. Landisch finished with 33 tackles last year, eighth-best on the team, two for loss and recorded one sack. Not exactly Borland-type numbers, however his experience and leadership on the field will be what gets thing young defensive squad over that hump.
Redshirt sophomore Vince Biegel is a monster who will look to have a breakout year this year. Biegel played in all 13 games last season, finishing with 25 total tackles and two sacks. A lot of people, myself included, are expecting Biegel to do big things this upcoming season and be a catalyst on this young defense.
But do not sleep on Joe Schobert and Marcus Trotter, the other two guys projected to start at linebacker for the Badgers. Schobert played all 13 games a year ago with one start. The junior from Waukesha, WI finished with 24 total tackles and one sack.
Trotter is a player I will have my eye on all season long. Although he only saw action in five games (one start) in 2013, the redshirt senior recorded 23 total tackles. I look for Trotter to really breakout this season and be flying around the football in almost every play.
These two guys will be the backbone of the linebackers group and of the defense as a whole. Landisch knows that for him to be successful, he cannot compare himself and try to play like Borland. In all reality, there’s really no one that can reproduce what Borland did during his time at Wisconsin. Not at this time anyways. With Landisch’s experience and leadership, coupled with the tenacity of Biegel, this group just might end up being better than what most think. I keep saying that yes this defensive group is young, but they are more talented than what people are giving them credit for.
OLB- Vince Biegel (RS SO)
ILB- Marcus Trotter (RS SR)
ILB- Derek Landisch (SR)
OLB- Joe Schobert (JR)
BEST OF THE REST
Learn these names as well because they will play a role in the success of the linebackers this season.