MADISON, Wis. -- The Badgers will get a glimpse of the future on Saturday, when redshirt freshman Rob Havenstein will make his first start at right tackle. Head coach Bret Bielema said Thursday that Havenstein will fill in for senior Josh Oglesby, who is still recovering from an MCL sprain he suffered against NIU.
Luckily for the Badgers, Havenstein already has a few reps under his belt. He's seen action in two games so far this season, and has worked previously with the first team in spring and fall camp while Oglesby was sidelined. In addition, Bielema believes Havenstein is back to full health himself.
"He's really just gotten back to being healthy right before the opener," Bielema said. "I think that he can handle the speed of the game, and obviously all the things that he'll go through in his first start."
Losing weight was a big part of how Havenstein improved during the offseason. Havenstein came into the program at about 380 pounds last year, but after dropping about 40 pounds in the offseason, Bielema said he's starting to see more of Havenstein's natural athleticism.
"I remember watching [Havenstein] play basketball his senior year," Bielema said. "Just to watch him move on that basketball court I was like: 'Wow this guy really does have some athleticism,' and it just got away from him a bit."
"I know he did so many extra workouts and things on his own to lose that weight, it's pretty astonishing."
In fact, Bielema suggested that Havenstein could give Oglesby some trouble when he tries to get his starting spot back.
"I'll tell you what - I think Josh is afraid of him," Bielema said.
-- Other than the situation at right tackle, Bielema did not mention any new injuries. Linebacker Kevin Claxton (hand) is part of the game plan for Saturday, but Ethan Armstrong will still get the start.
News and Notes
-- Bielema said true freshman Devin Gaulden would be the fourth cornerback in the game if needed. Gaulden must have really impressed the coaching staff - he's only been practicing for five days.
"He's extremely talented," Bielema said. He's probably one of the purer cover guys I've ever seen at that age."
-- Bielema said he's not happy with the number of penalties the Badgers committed over the first three weeks, but they've been good learning opportunities for his players.
-- Both Melvin Gordon and Fred Willis have been waiting patiently to get a few reps returning kickoffs, but thanks to the Badgers' defense, they haven't gotten many opportunities. Never the less, Bielema said he still wouldn't start a game with either of them.
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