Wisconsin Football: Taiwan Deal Pushing Dare Ogunbowale For Playing Time


Following a groin injury that was re-aggravated in the week one loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide, starting Wisconsin running back Corey Clement has yet to see the field in either of Wisconsin’s two home games. Third string running back Taiwan Deal has made the most of his opportunities, and looks to be pushing second stringer Dare Ogunbowale for playing time as Clement’s return approaches.

READ ALSO: Chris Orr Has Breakout Game For Wisconsin Badgers

Clement sat his second straight game on Saturday, and last week running backs coach John Settle said the Badgers would keep him off of the field through this Saturday’s game against Hawaii if it was necessary to give Clement time to heal.

The starter hasn’t really been missed as the Badgers have dominated small-school opponents Miami (OH) and Troy the past two weeks. The silver lining of Corey Clement’s absence is it allows the Badgers to get some experience at a position the team could use it.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Heading into the 2015 season, Clement was easily Wisconsin’s most experienced running back, and behind him, only Ogunbowale had any real-game experience, and it came mostly in clean-up time.

So far in 2015, Ogunbowale and Deal, a redshirt freshman, have seen the bulk of the action, while Caleb Kinlaw has seen a few carries, as well. Ogunbowale has been about what we expected. He’s a very capable running back, has some shiftiness, and can create space in the open field.

Taiwan Deal, however, was relatively an unknown after missing last season with an injury. So far in 2015 he’s shown plenty of potential as a power running back the Badgers have missed in their lineup.

Deal led the Badgers with 16 carries for 84 yards (5.2 a carry) on Saturday against Troy. On the season Deal has 36 carries for 143 yards and a pair of scores. While Ogunbowale has out rushed him in fewer carries, Deal has yet to be stuffed for a loss and has shown he can be an effective power back as a complimentary player.

Don’t get me wrong, Ogunbowale is a good player who can definitely help this team. He’s shown he’s an able pass-catcher out of the backfield and has held up so far in the running game. I like Ogunbowale a lot, I just think Deal can offer this team something different, as Ogunbowale’s style — both running and receiving — is very similar to Clement’s.

In Deal, the Badgers have a bruiser they can give the ball to on third and short. He’s a powerful back, and has shown the ability to break tackles in the backfield and at the line of scrimmage. Head coach Paul Chryst noted after Saturday’s game that Deal appeared to be a little more patient than Ogunbowale in the running game.

"“Yeah, I think with experience, and he’s just starting to get it, right. The good runners have a patience to them, and then let the play develop.We are always talking about slow to, fast through. And even when he gets fast — and that’s common with young players. So I think that all the reps are valuable, or invaluable, really. And I thought both of them were a little bit more on their tracks. I think we were a little bit cleaner up front. Anxious to see if that’s really what happened.Everyone takes pride in being part of the run game, and so I think there is some — seemed like there’s a little bit more patience with Taiwan.”"

Both players hold help the Badgers this season, as Wisconsin at this point shouldn’t count on Clement being healthy all year. Should Clement get hit with injuries again, the Badgers can be comfortable with the two guys backing him up. Don’t be surprised if it’s Taiwan Deal, not Dare Ogunbowale, coming off of the bench first.

Next: Ref Explains Targeting Calls

More from Badger of Honor