S Reggie Pearson
If there was one positive from the nightmare that was the Michigan game it has to be the play of Reggie Pearson. He was making plays all over the field and showed a fearlessness in throwing his body around in order to shut down the run game. His performance was more than admirable and has me excited for what he will bring to the safety position in the future.
However, of course, he suffered a leg injury that forced him out of the Michigan game and has him questionable for this weekend. It is shame because playing against Illinois seems like a great opportunity for Pearson to earn even more playing time and grab an even better understanding of the defense. If Pearson can play it could give him even more tools in becoming a well-rounded safety. He already has a hard-hitting mentality, if he can match that tenacity with his knowledge of coverages Pearson can be a special player for years to come. He will most likely be a game-time decision.
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S Scott Nelson
Last Saturday was a day that Scott Nelson will surely want to forget. Not only did he miss the first half of the Michigan game due to a targeting call in the previous week, but he suffered an injury just minutes into coming back. The Wisconsin secondary was already depleted and Nelson appeared to be a welcomed addition to a unit that was desperately looking for healthy players in the second half last week. Let’s just say things did not go according to plan. Nelson injured his leg in the first couple of series’ of the second half and did not return.
Nelson looks like a player who is just about to put everything together and become a great safety. That is what makes this injury so devastating. If Nelson is unable to play, I expect Eric Burrell to fill in. Burrell had a good game last week against Michigan recording eleven tackles.
S D’Cota Dixon
Dixon being ruled out with just about an hour left before kick-off against Michigan was a shock to just about every Wisconsin fan. It was known that he hurt his ankle in the game against Nebraska but it appeared that he would be ready to go. Dixon was in a walking boot but he assured that it was simply a precautionary measure and that he would play. When he went through warm-ups his ankle could not hold up and it was decided that he would not be available.
It was such a tremendous blow not only because Dixon is a great player but because he is the emotional leader of the defense and arguably the team. Going into that type of game knowing your leader would not be with you had to have a mental impact on the defense.
It has been reported that as of Wednesday Dixon had not practiced. That is not exactly an encouraging sign given the early Saturday kick-off. Dixon is a proud senior leader, it would not shock me at all to see him suit up and make plays all over Camp Randall against Illinois. He has a drive that few can match that allows him to compete at a high level every time he steps onto the field.
If Dixon is unable to play look for Reggie Pearson to take his place if he’s available. If not, expect either Seth Currens or Evan Bondoc to play. Hopefully, this injury is something Dixon can overcome in order to make an impact in his senior season.