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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 99 better during the spring, too. His improved confidence and team leadership were easy to spot." Wisconsin has long had a history of solid running backs, the latest being Corey Clement, who had 1,375 yards as a senior last season. But who takes over that load now? It might be a combination. The top returning back is Bradrick Shaw, who had 457 yards (averaging better than 5.2 per) last season, but he could be pushed by transfer Chris James, who had followed Chryst from Pitt a couple years ago. He looked good in the spring, per Veldhuis. "My sense is that both of them will play, but I think they both could be No. 1 tailbacks in their own right," he said. The Badgers' defense frequently had to lead last sea- son, when it allowed only 15.6 points per game, fourth- best in the country. But Wisconsin had a couple key departures, namely outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel, who combined for 15.5 sacks as seniors. It'll be up to new coordinator Jim Leonhard to find a couple of playmakers there, with those positions criti- cal to the Badgers' 3-4 front. He also has to find a couple in the secondary, although those might be more clear, as Hawaii transfer Nick Nelson takes at a cornerback spot, while Natrell Jamerson is expected to slide in at safety. Wisconsin finished 11-3 last season, with its three losses (Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State) coming by seven points each. Now, it gets a toned-down sched- ule, although it still has road games at Nebraska and Minnesota, but gets Iowa and Michigan at home. "They'll only play Ohio State or Michigan State or Penn State if it's in the Big Ten Championship Game," Veldhuis said. "That's not to say that this season's schedule will be easy, though. … But if last year's re- turning talent continues to play well they could be set up for a pretty successful season." — Kyle Charters

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