Badger Bits: Borland eager to chase after the quarterback

Big Ten quarterbacks all across the Midwest were surely dismayed to hear of the news that Chris Borland may play a larger role in Wisconsin's pass-rush next season.

If junior linebacker Chris Borland gets his wish this season, he's going to get back to putting up an impressive total of quarterback sacks in his 2012 stat line. It's not that he didn't find his way into the backfield at all last season, putting up 2.5 sacks in his first season as Wisconsin's middle linebacker. But he wouldn't mind getting a chance to reproduce or best the 5 sacks he had as a true freshman that burst him into the collective consciousness of Badger fans in 2009. Not because he loves piling up statistics, though. He relishes the simplicity and excitement of chasing after signal callers.

"There's not a whole lot of thought involved, at least compared to linebacker and safety," Borland told JS's Jeff Potrykus. "It is fun to just line up and play."

Some observers questioned the move of Borland to middle linebacker last season, finding that the discipline and patience required for the position would hinder Borland from playing with his usual 'flying all over the field' style. Even Borland himself acknowledged the need to play with more patience and professionalism, a departure from his full-speed ahead talents. Fortunately, with the significant amount of depth Wisconsin has accrued at linebacker, Borland won't need to always be lined up at MLB. Which means he will be able to more frequently partake in one of his favorite activities on the football field: chasing down quarterbacks. But don't expect to see him kicking anytime soon.

Friday Links:

Potrykus feels that Danny O'Brien has cemented his status as the frontrunner in the quarterback competition. Page 22 of the latest Varsity magazine has a story on the battle between O'Brien, Joel Stave, and Curt Phillips for the top quarterback spot.

The ESPN Big Ten blog ranks senior left tackle Ricky Wagner as the 12th best player in the conference heading into the 2012 season. Will Wagner follow in the footsteps of Gabe Carimi and Joe Thomas by winning the Wisconsin program yet another Outland Trophy?

Bad news for former Wisconsin running back John Clay. He may have suffered a torn quadriceps muscle. Regardless of the diagnosis, he will have to go on injured reserve and was waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

New linebackers coach Andy Buh stars in the first episode of The Camp 2012, which returns for its second year providing an inside look at Wisconsin's training camp. The video also checks in with defensive end David Gilbert's progress as he returns from injury and hopes to make a big impact this season.

Sports Bank has Wisconsin at 14th overall in their preseason rankings. That seems much more reasonable then the 6ths and 7ths I've seen thrown around lately.

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