MADISON, Wis. -- The Badgers' secondary took a big hit Tuesday when Bret Bielema announced senior cornerback Devin Smith would miss the rest of 2011 with a left ankle injury. Smith is eligible for a medical redshirt, and will be able to re-join the team as a fifth-year senior in 2012.
Smith underwent a procedure on his left ankle Monday, Bielema announced on the Big Ten Conference football coaches' teleconference, and he will be held out of action for four to six weeks. As Adam Hoge tweeted earlier, the Badgers coaching staff must feel confident about their depth at corner if they would rather Smith sit out all of 2011.
Smith's injury means junior corner Marcus Cromartie is now the full-time starter opposite Antonio Fenelus, and freshmen Peniel Jean and Darius Hillary will have to take on extra responsibility a little earlier than previously scheduled.
Smith's injury, while no doubt a problem in the short term, might actually help to stabilize the Badgers' defense for 2012. Instead of losing almost the entire starting secondary, Shelton Johnson, Devin Smith, and Marcus Cromartie will probably all return with starting experience.