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Wisconsin Badgers news, 8/22: Utah State added to 2017 schedule; defense takes on new look

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Gary Andersen back in his Utah State days. The Aggies will visit Madison again in 2017.
Gary Andersen back in his Utah State days. The Aggies will visit Madison again in 2017.
Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Football

Gary Andersen's post-practice media session Thursday night ended up being fairly informative. The major news was of a sadder variety, as redshirt sophomore Vonte Jackson has been forced to give up football after suffering a fourth knee injury. Madison.com has more from Gary Andersen:

"He's in a good spot," Andersen said. "We've discussed it; we've spent time together. His family is on board, everybody knows it's the best thing, and he's made pretty much that decision as we continue to move forward. I feel bad about it, but I feel good that he can move on in life now. He can close that chapter and let's go onward."

Also in that Madison.com article: the Badgers are digging deep into the Internet to pull up high school film of LSU's highly-touted freshman class ahead of the Aug. 30 season-opener.

Wednesday, we heard that Wisconsin was backing out of its home-and-home with Washington scheduled for 2018 and 2021. The oddities of the new Big Ten conference schedule are the culprit, since the Badgers were slated to travel to Washington but need three non-conference home games that year. That's kind of a bummer, as the series would've provided Badgers fans a chance to travel out to Seattle and showcased a Pac-12 team we're not all that familiar with.

Fortunately, there's now some positive schedule news. Wisconsin will host Utah State to open the 2017 season, bringing the Aggies -- Andersen's previous stint before joining the Badgers, of course -- back to Camp Randall Stadium for the third time. As you'd expect, Andersen had a sizable role in making the game happen, as he approached athletic director Barry Alvarez with the idea.

"We always look at it and make the best decision for the school," Andersen said of the scheduling process. "It's been a great relationship, a situation I'm used to. But I do also realize that I'm lucky to be in this spot to where the athletic director gives you an opportunity to be involved because there's a lot of places that is not the fact.

"I talked to him about the Utah State game. I felt like it was a great opportunity for Utah State. It's hard for them to get those games, and those games are going away as we know. There are not nearly as many of them and (Alvarez) thought that'd be great to have them come back and play."

More news from Wednesday: Konrad Zagzebski and Warren Herring are swapping positions. Zagzebski will slide inside to nose tackle, while Herring moves outside to end. The new positions aren't exactly binding; where two of Wisconsin's most important defensive leaders line up on a given play depends greatly on what scheme the unit is in.

"I think it gives us a great opportunity for Warren to be a playmaker at the defensive end spot in certain situations," coach Gary Andersen said after practice Thursday. "That is (one) package. Is that all the time with Warren? No. He'll be an inside tackle a lot of times.

"Both of those kids (Herring and Zagzebski) have got to be on the field a lot."

The change also means freshman defensive tackle Jeremy Patterson is likely to redshirt. A 6'3, 326-pound, prospect from Georgia, Patterson was initially believed to be one of the more likely first-year players to see playing time this season.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a nice story on Alec James and Chikwe Obasih bulking up to maximize their potential.

BadgerNation continues its Most Indispensable Badger series at No. 6, where Corey Clement fittingly gets the nod.

Basketball

Wisconsin's schedule for the upcoming season is out!

Don't forget the women, either!