Badger Bits: Defense takes it up a notch

J.J. Who? A strong senior season from Patrick Burtrym would be a big help to the Badgers' defense.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Badger Bits to bring you this message: as of last night, we're less than two weeks away from football season. That is all. Do not panic- return to your Friday as scheduled!

The Wisconsin Badgers held their second scrimmage of fall camp yesterday, and the Badgers' defense knew they needed to get back on their feet. Bad tackling soured the defense last week, but Tom Mulhern of Madison.com saw the defense step up to this week's challenge. Several players littered the offensive backfield yesterday, including Mike Taylor, Patrick Butrym, and Louis Nzegwu. The threesome combined for five tackles for loss, a sack, and one quarterback pressure in one scrimmage. If Taylor, Butrym, and Nzegwu can continue to find their way into the backfield, the Badgers might not miss J.J. Watt as much as expected.

As an aside, linebacker Chris Borland was held out of the scrimmage again as a precautionary measure. You can be sure that a front seven containing healthy versions of Butrym, Nzegwu, Borland, and Taylor would be a nightmare for opposing offenses.

Tom Oates of Madison.com writes that the Badgers have always found a new playmaker on the defensive line when they needed one, so don't worry about replacing Watt right now.

Have you ever known someone who had a lot of talent, but didn't know how to use it correctly? Well, until this spring, Marcus Cromartie felt like that person. The coaching staff thinks this is the year the junior cornerback can step into the spotlight.

Dropped passes plagued the Badgers' practice yesterday, reinforcing the need for Badgers' senior wide receiver Nick Toon to stay healthy this year. Toon returned to practice after missing time with a foot injury, but did not play in yesterday's scrimmage. 

Joel Stave and Joe Brennan have gotten extra work in because of Jon Budmayr's injury, and it sounds like they're both making the most of the extra opportunity. Still, the Badgers need Russell Wilson to stay healthy this year. Would you trust the offense to Stave or Brennan right now? 

Adam Rittenberg interviewed James White during his visit to the Badgers' fall camp. Check out the video!

Mike Lucas of UWBadgers.com writes that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is keeping an eye on the new developments in college sports, especially after the University of Miami scandal started to break. 

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For more Badger Bits and Wisconsin football discussion, follow John on Twitter (@JohnVeldhuis).

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