Badger Bits: Mike Taylor suffers setback, will miss season opener

Hope everyone had a good weekend! Here are your Badger Bits for Monday, August 16th:

Red shirt sophomore linebacker Mike Taylor suffered an injury setback during fall camp and will undergo a cleanup surgical procedure tomorrow on his reconstructed knee, according to Adam Mertz of Madison.com. Taylor will miss the season opener at UNLV, and senior linebacker Blake Sorensen will presumably take Taylor's spot on the first team defense for the time being. The estimated recovery time from the procedure is anywhere between two to four weeks, so in the worst-case scenario Taylor would still be back before conference play opens on October 2nd against Michigan State.

While losing Taylor for a few weeks is the biggest injury during fall camp so far, the UW football team is also dealing with a few more minor injuries lately. Offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler suffered a leg injury that will bar him from practice for at least a week, and Bill Nagy will fill in for him with the first team during his absence. Red shirt freshman defensive tackle Jordan Kohout also suffered an unspecified knee injury during practice according to Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, but does not expect to miss much time:

"It's just a precaution to take weight off it," Kohout, who was using crutches, said after his teammates finished practice Thursday. "I hope to be back in a few days."

"I want to get back out there right now but you've got to force yourself to think that it will be better if you get this thing fixed."

More Badger news after the jump!

In keeping with the injury-related news today, the Journal-Sentinel has a piece about Wisconsin's policy regarding player concussions and head injuries. After the death of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry this past season, both the NFL and the NCAA have started to work with teams and athletes to promote awareness about concussions. Head coach Bret Bielema says that their primary goal is educating the players about how serious head injuries can be:

"The first thing we have to do is educate our kids," coach Bret Bielema said. "I think that is the biggest change I've seen in the last three years - telling kids if you have any type of head injury make sure you tell somebody."

Current Badgers with previous head injuries include wide receivers Nick Toon and Kyle Jefferson, and safety Jay Valai.

Speaking of Jefferson, he has declined an offer to red shirt this season from coach Bielema, according to the Journal-Sentinel. Jefferson says that his reason for declining was his desire to get his degree in four years along with fellow team members David Gilreath, Zach Brown and Blake Sorensen. The foursome are the only remaining members of the Badgers' 2007 recruiting class. Bielema extended the offer to Jefferson in an attempt to add some depth to the wide reciever corps for the 2011 season.

Running back Montee Ball has been working hard to build on his success from last year, according to Jim Polzin of Madison.com. Ball has been studying film from his rushing attempts last year, and his main goal is to become more of an explosive runner this season:

"I want to be patient to the hole," Ball said, "and then explode right through it and accelerate through the crease."

Another successful season for Ball would go a long way to helping the football program's depth at running back for the 2011 season- the team will lose senior Zach Brown to graduation and could potentially lose John Clay to the NFL if he declares for the draft after this year.

And finally, Madison.com has an article about the relationship between quarterback Scott Tolzien and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. Chryst calls Tolzien 'our Peyton Manning' because of his ability to channel Chryst's offensive philosophy on the field, and Tolzien reveals that he wants to coach after his football career is over.

19 days until kickoff!

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