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Badger Bits: Jean injury delivers blow to Badgers' secondary

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Wisconsin's secondary will surely miss Peniel Jean while he recovers from a fractured foot.
Wisconsin's secondary will surely miss Peniel Jean while he recovers from a fractured foot.

After fracturing his foot in practice last week, cornerback Peniel Jean already underwent surgery and is expected to miss four to six weeks of action. This certainly affects the depth in the secondary, where Jean was pinned to play as the nickel cornerback behind starters Devin Smith and Marcus Cromartie.

Jean is a redshirt sophomore who saw significant playing time as last season progressed, so although still young, he brings some experience to the secondary. He played in every game in 2011, but shined the brightest in the Big Ten Championship game. Facing the Spartans, Jean recorded a career-high five tackles, showcasing why he's one of the best tacklers in UW's secondary.

It's tough to imagine Jean would be ready to return for the Sept. 22 UTEP game, even with a speedy recovery. And there would be no reason for the coaching staff to rush him back for a home game against a weak non-conference opponent. Much more importantly, let's hope Jean can be ready for the Sept. 29 showdown at Nebraska. That would put him at about a five-week recovery, so if he's not ready by then, we may not see him return until the Illinois game the following week (hopefully he'll be back no later than the four to six week prognosis).

Consequently, redshirt freshman Darius Hillary moves back to cornerback, after Bielema recently sent him to work with the safeties. The coaching staff would probably prefer to keep Hillary at safety, but because of Jean's injury, Hillary will compete with sophomore Devin Gaulden for the nickel cornerback position while Jean recovers.

Tuesday's Links:

Bielema addressed the media on Monday. Here's a look at the most recent roster and depth chart changes. Also note that Kyle French is back as the starting kicker for both field goals and kickoffs.

Bielema had a little fun when asked why Danny O'Brien will wear No. 6 this season.

See Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a video preview of the 2012 Badgers' season.

Tom Dienhart makes his Big Ten bowl game predictions. And so does BTN's Brent Yarina.

It's finally that time of year again. The Big Ten Bloggers reveal their preseason predictions. UW also ranks third in their preseason conference power rankings.

Why communication is key for the Badgers' secondary this year.

Tom Lea did a nice job covering everything UW football this summer, particularly during fall camp. If you missed any of it, you can catch up here.

To close, take a look at this sweet-looking bus that's making its way around Madison.