Wisconsin Badgers Veterans Need To Step Up Against Alabama


The beginning of the college football season is literally hours away, and the Wisconsin Badgers are set to open the season against one of the toughest teams in all of college football: the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide represents years of recruiting at the highest level, coaching at the highest level, and playing at the highest level, so Wisconsin will need to lean on its senior members to compete Saturday night.

READ ALSO: Badgers vs. Bama: BoH Staff Predictions

Wisconsin has its fair share of youth on its recently released depth chart, but the Badger feature important veteran players at several key positions.

On offense, quarterback Joel Stave has 28 career starts, and holds a 21-7 record over that time. Despite his rocky performance last year, he ended the season on a high note in the Outback Bowl win over Auburn, and will be looking to capitalize Saturday following a strong performance in spring and summer ball.

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Stave’s performance will obviously dictate how well the Badgers play. If he can’t get the job done and the Badgers are forced to over-use Corey Clement, Alabama will stack the line and win easily. If Stave can make his reads and move the ball down the field through the air, the Badgers offense will compete against one of the best defenses in the country.

Stave won’t have to do it alone. He has veteran help on offense, and it starts on his blind side. Senior left tackle Tyler Marz is a rock, and he will (hopefully) be keeping Stave upright. Calling the game from the middle of the line will again be junior center Dan Volz, who’s again snapping the ball in a big game.

Stave has his faithful receiver senior Alex Erickson on the outside, and while Tanner McEvoy is new to the receiver position, he’s no stranger to big games. The offensive veterans will be key to the game’s outcome.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

On defense, Wisconsin will first and foremost look to its unquestioned leader, senior safety Michael Caputo. The defense starts and ends with him most often. He’s calling the defense and last year he ended more plays than any other Badger, leading the team in tackles. Caputo will help lead a defense that features a lot of young players this year.

That youth is mostly up front, as the defensive backfield is deep with experience. Sojourn Shelton, Darius Hillary, Leo Musso, and Lubern Figaro are all experienced players who will see a lot of time.

And while the front seven is young for the most part, senior Joe Schobert and junior Vince Biegel represent one of the most dominant outside linebacker duos in the Big Ten, and possibly the country. They are the ring to each other’s yang. Biegel will get after the passer and Schobert excels in run and pass coverage. The two will be making tackles all over the place Saturday, helping along the younger inside linebackers and linemen.

These guys  — Stave, Marz, Volz, Erickson, Caputo, Biegel, Schobert and others — all have experience. They’ve played in Big Ten Championships, bowl games, and conference games with a title on the line.

They won’t be shaken by the bright lights and massive scoreboard in Dallas. They won’t be intimidated by who Alabama is and what they represent.

Wisconsin’s veterans need to be a guiding force for the Badgers on Saturday, and the leadership will go a long ways toward Wisconsin giving Alabama a battle.

Next: Wisconsin-Alabama Game Info

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