It's the end of the work week and it also happens to be the end of our look into the defensive side of the ball in our "Camping with the Badgers" series. My how time flys, huh?
Don't forget to check out the rest of the defensive previews:
Up today is a look into one of the biggest mystery positions, but one of the positions with the most potential to make or break the Badgers 2012 season - the defensive line.
DE: David Gilbert (RS Jr., 6'4", 250lbs.)
DT: Ethan Hemer (RS Jr., 6'6", 305lbs.)
DT: Beau Allen (Jr., 6'3", 323lbs.)
DE: Brendan Kelly (RS Sr., 6'6", 255lbs.)
Thoughts on the Unit:
As I wrote earlier this summer this unit could well be the key to the Badgers winning a conference title and be in the national conversation.
We all know that last year there was a complete lack of a significant pass rush and part of that was the early season injury suffered to pass rush extraordinaire David Gilbert. But, it could've also been due to a very young defensive line overall as five of the two deep along the line were Sophomores.
What's behind them at end is a bit of an unknown outside of Pat Muldoon, who saw some good minutes behind Nzegwu and Kelly last year, but he'll need to show he can be more of a playmaker this time around.
Fast forward a year and things seem to be looking up in my opinion. Beau Allen and Brendan Kelly both had great springs and were standouts in the spring game itself, making the 2nd offensive line look pretty silly all game long.
Kelly got a lot of experience taking over for Gilbert and with Gilbert coming back off of a a broken foot and should be ready to go in camp. Getting a rush off the edge from both or either of them could help free up the best playmakers on the defense, LB's Mike Taylor and Chris Borland, even more and that will only serve to make Wisconsin's defense just that much more scary for their opponents.
The strongest part of the Badgers defensive unit took a bit of a hit though as Jordan Kohout was expected to be a major part of the rotation at defensive tackle, but chronic migrane headaches have ended his playing days and he'll be a student-coach this season.
Both Beau Allen and Ethan Hemer showed a lot of improvement and potential up the middle and could really be a great tandem. Behind them is an interesting mix of players, but it's not an experienced group, so watching them will be important this fall camp.
Other Players to Watch:
DE James Adeyanju (RS Fr., 6'2", 250lbs.): He flashed some good ability in the spring this season and could be on his way up the depth chart and may end up seeing some significant playing time behind Kelly and Gilbert.
DE Tyler Dippel (RS Jr., 6'4", 255lbs.): Another guy with a lot of potential and he should be fighting for a spot on the two deep with Adeyanju.
DT Bryce Gilbert (RS So., 6'1", 304lbs.): With Kohout no longer available on the field Gilbert is the most likely candidate to be in the mix along with Jacob Ninneman. Watching his progress in camp will be key to developing actual depth at the position.
DT Arthur Goldberg (Fr., 6'3", 270lbs.): Goldberg is most likely a devlopmental guy and was a likely candidate to redshirt, but a good camp and some time in the weight room could see him work his way into the rotation. Keeping an eye on him in camp is something worth noting.