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Wisconsin spring football: 5 questions about the Badgers' defense

Just under the deadline, we'll address just how young the defense is and more.

Michael Caputo's pretty great, but who will step up to join him?
Michael Caputo's pretty great, but who will step up to join him?
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I understand, and I'm sorry. This piece feels as if this is someone writing something in the middle of the night to get it in the day that it's due. And it gives short shift to the entirety of the defense.

But, like the receivers, there's a lot we don't know right now. I mean, we know Michael Caputo and Sojourn Shelton are pretty great. We assume the starting four linebackers will be fine. Or, you know, three and Caputo.

But, there's a lot we don't know. There's a lot to be shaken out between now and LSU. As such, let's see if we can't answer some questions.

1. The number of sacks the sack leader will get

Over: 5.5 +300
Under: 5.5 -125

At this point, I have to remind you that the only two Badgers that have had over 5.5 sacks in the past seven seasons were J.J. Watt and O'Brien Schofield. And when Utah State ended 2012 with 42 sacks, the Aggies' leader was Connor Williams. He had six. So while the Badgers should improve on their total of 25 sacks, it seems like this will be a total team effort.

2. Who will lead the team in sacks?

Warren Herring: 7 to 1
Vince Biegel: 10 to 1
The Field: 12 to 1

Warren Herring had a brief two-week flourish living in the opponent's backfield when he got playing time behind Beau Allen last year. He's the returning sacks leader, and likely being all but guaranteed a starting job, he has to be the favorite here. Biegel's a hyped recruit who will finally get the playing time that would be conducive for the breakout, but for the big plays on defense, the race is very wide-open. I wouldn't be surprised by any suggestion you have.

3. Prop bet: How many freshmen (redshirts included) will start on defense?

0: +1200
1-2: -125
3-4: +500
4+: +10000

Right now, it looks like a redshirt freshman is pretty close to earning a starting job on the defensive line (shoutout to Chikwe Obasih). That being said, there are three redshirt freshmen who could get themselves a spot on the defensive line (Alec James and Arthur Goldberg have been playing well along with Obasih.) Plus, Jeremy Patterson's coming this summer and could make his presence felt.

Also, like Sojourn Shelton did last season, Austin Hudson seems to have taken the early admission and made his presence known quickly. That's a testament to the evaluation of the staff. He goes from being an unknown last summer, to getting SEC offers during his senior year, to potentially starting against LSU.

4. Who will lead the team in tackles?

Marcus Trotter: 5 to 1
Derek Landisch: 10 to 1
Michael Caputo: 12 to 1

Trotter's got the advantage of playing in Chris Borland's old position. On entropy alone, he should get over 100 tackles and the proverbial championship belt. Landisch does have that veteran experience that makes him a contender. Caputo's just great, and with the questions on the defensive line, he may have almost too much opportunity to make tackles. Anyone else would be a sleeper.

5. Prop bet: Will the Badgers generate over 25 turnovers?

Yes: +300
No: -150

The Badgers have been remarkably consistent over the past few seasons in generating turnovers. They've been between 19 and 27 turnovers generated every year between 2007 and now. Utah State never generated 25 turnovers in the Gary Andersen era. Simple math dictates that if the Badgers get past 25, it won't be by many more.

Or they'll inexplicably get to 40. We're due to have one of those years.