The Injury Bug: Depth Concerns

Bad news for senior outside linebacker Erik Prather. He suffered a knee injury that likely ended his hopes to play in 2009, his last year of eligibility. Last week defensive end Louis Nzegwu was lost for the Spring (MCL). Although he should return in the fall, missing that practice will hurt. Missing practice can't compare to missing his senior year, as Prather is now likely dealing with. Both losses are tough from a depth perspective, too.

At linebacker, Bielema said he plans to move Kevin Rouse to the outside to Prather's spot on the two-deep (behind McFadden), and move Leonard Hubbard, a redshirt freshman, into Rouse's spot at middle linebacker. That means that of the 6 linebackers in the two-deep, only four have played a down at the collegiate level. While the Badgers will have enough bodies with the true freshman coming in, we will be very short on experience.

Likewise, on the defensive line we were already looking at a nearly brand new crew. With Nzegwu' knee injury, Anthony Mains and Tyler Westphal need to step up. While Nzegwu should be back in the fall, the Badgers can't afford to be thin at end. Like the linebacking corps, the incoming freshman will provide the bodies, but not the experience we need.

Here's how I project the two-deep on defense for the Spring (number corresponds to year eligibility, 4 is max; * is a 4-star recruit):

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