The University of Wisconsin will be without nose tackle Olive Sagapolu and left tackle Cole Van Lanen against Rutgers on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, while quarterback Alex Hornibrook joins four key defensive players as questionable on the Badgers’ preliminary injury report.
Sagapolu (right arm) and Van Lanen (left leg) were both injured in UW’s 31-17 loss at Northwestern on Saturday. Van Lanen spent the second half on the sideline with crutches and a walking boot.
Badgers coach Paul Chryst said Monday that Hornibrook, who missed Saturday’s game, was still in the concussion protocol. Safeties D’Cota Dixon (right leg) and Scott Nelson (right leg), defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk (left leg) and cornerbacks Deron Harrell (right leg) and Travian Blaylock (right leg) are also listed as questionable this week.
With Sagapolu out and Loudermilk a risk to miss his fourth straight game, UW may start three freshmen — Bryson Williams, Kayden Lyles and Matt Henningsen — on the defensive line this week. It would mark the first start for Williams, a true freshman.
"I think just because now you have the opportunity to start doesn’t mean that you necessarily should expect a ton more,” Chryst said. "I think that he’s one you feel good about in the sense that, and even where he’s at to where he was two months ago — he knows a little bit more to help himself get better. But he’s not going to, we don’t want him or need him to be something he’s not. We just need him to continue to get better. ... He’ll rise up to it. I do feel confident there."
Redshirt freshman Logan Bruss, who’s settled into a role as a blocking tight end this season, will likely back-up Jon Dietzen at left tackle with Van Lanen out.
Dietzen’s had trouble physically making it through every snap, meaning he could split time with Bruss on Saturday as he’s done with Van Lanen throughout this season. Left guard Michael Deiter, the Badgers’ starting left tackle last season, could also shift over if needed.
"The plan is pretty much just Jon and then I think Logan will get some reps at tackle,” Deiter said. "If they need me, I’ll always be able to go play tackle for a game, but I don’t think that’s the plan right now. We’ll see how the week plays out."
Backup quarterback Jack Coan completed 20-of-31 passes for 158 yard with one touchdown, no interceptions and one fumble in his first career start against Northwestern.
Chryst said following the loss to the Wildcats that Hornibrook began going through the concussion protocol Oct. 22, two days after UW’s win over Illinois, but said Monday that he didn’t know when Hornibrook suffered his concussion. When asked why Hornibrook wasn’t listed on the Badgers’ final injury report last week, Chryst replied, “I just didn’t want to."
Chryst also said that while Hornibrook hasn’t yet been cleared, he’s ready to do more this week.
“The protocol helps,” Chryst said. "You’ve got steps in it that kind of lead you to the answer if they’re ready or not. He’s in it. He’s ready to do more than before, and then as the week goes on we’ll know more."
Networks use six-day selection option
TV networks are using one of their six-day selection windows for Big Ten games scheduled for Nov. 10, meaning the kickoff time for UW’s game at Penn State that day won’t be announced until late Saturday or Sunday.
There will not be any Big Ten games played in primetime that weekend.
Connelly named Butkus Award semifinalist
UW inside linebacker Ryan Connelly was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Butkus Award on Monday, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
Connelly leads the Badgers with 57 tackles this season. Six of those have gone for a loss, including two sacks.
The other semifinalists are Kentucky’s Josh Allen, Purdue’s Markus Bailey, Michigan’s Devin Bush, Clemson’s Tre Lamar, West Virginia’s David Long, Alabama’s Dylan Moses, USTA’s Josiah Tauaefa, LSU’s Devin White and Alabama’s Mack Wilson.