There’s been a lot of talk with both teams regarding their respective offenses. LSU Tigers with their two quarterback system and the highly anticipated debut of freshman phenom Leonard Fournette. The Wisconsin Badgers on the other hand will most likely have Tanner McEvoy make his first start at quarterback and the Heisman Trophy campaign for running back Melvin Gordon begins tonight as well. The group being overlooked is the Badgers defense, and in order for them to come away with a victory, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s squad must step up when the bright light shines in primetime.
Wisconsin will be heading into the game with a retooled front seven. No more Beau Allen. No more Ethan Hemer. And their biggest departure is linebacker Chris Borland, who finds himself playing with the San Francisco 49ers. In comes names you may not be familiar with.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Chikwe Obasih is going to be a force to be reckoned with this season and one player I will be watching closely against LSU. Nose guard Warren Herring is also going to have to be a key contributor against a beefy Tigers offensive line.
Derek Landisch gets the daunting task of trying to fill Borland’s shoes, although he knows a type of player like that only comes around so often. Landisch is going to have to step up big time against an LSU offense that averaged five yards per carry on the ground a year ago. He’s the quarterback of the young defense and will be looked to as a leader for Aranda’s group.
Linebacker Vince Biegel is another guy I will be watching all season long. He’s a monster of a player that keeps his motor running the entire game. LSU’s offense will have their hands full with the redshirt sophomore out of Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Biegel could be a game-changer that has a huge impact on how this game shakes out.
But do not overlook the secondary either. Sophomore Sojourn Shelton should continue his success from one year ago. Shelton had four interceptions a season ago, third-best in the Big Ten. Freshman Lubern Figaro may be young and inexperienced, but a very talented strong safety. But free safety Michael Caputo, who was second on the team in tackles behind Borland a year ago, will be one of the more experienced players on defense starting 13 of the 26 games he has played in.
This defense for Wisconsin may be inexperienced and young, but they have more talent than most will give them credit for. These defensive players have a lot to prove to the naysayers out there and putting on a great performance and shutting down LSU in primetime would quiet a lot of the doubters.