Wisconsin Badgers fans will get the chance to see the team live again since the 2015 Holiday Bowl, when Paul Chryst's team takes the field at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday afternoon (noon CT) for its annual spring game.
As a reminder, tickets are $5 each and will benefit the UW-Madison's Department of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement. Before the game, families can meet members of the Wisconsin football, and both men's and women's basketball and hockey squads at the Badgers Sports Kids Fair from 10 a.m. to noon CT inside the McClain Center.
It's been said previously that spring football is when questions are posed, and the fall camp is when those questions are answered. On the field, there won't be too many surprises
What to watch for
1. Quarterback play. The Badgers won't name a starter until fall camp, so don't expect a surprise announcement whether Bart Houston or southpaw Alex Hornibrook will head into the summer as the starter to beat. However, both should get some work with the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses. Fans shouldn't overreact if some errant passes are made or interceptions thrown, as Chryst has said previously, spring ball allows the signal callers to test their limits on what their abilities allow them to do. Sit back and enjoy.
2. Defensive backfield. Don't expect to see anything other than "vanilla" looks from new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, but glance at the secondary, where living legend and new defensive backs coach Jim Leonhard will inherit three new starters. Sojourn Shelton will be the leader of the group, but the first- and second-team cornerbacks have flashed during the spring with Derrick Tindal, Natrell Jamerson and Titus Booker. With a new group of starting safeties, expect Leo Musso, Arrington Farrar and Joe Ferguson to see action with the starters in certain packages (D'Cota Dixon's still nursing a groin injury). Ferguson's usually been the third safety in when offenses show a big package (22 or 23 personnel).
3. Wide receivers. Jazz Peavy and Robert Wheelwright appear to be ahead for the wide outs, but Reggie Love and George Rushing have put together some solid performances in spring camp. Wheelwright could be limited or not play at all due to a right leg injury, but you could see plenty of Love and Rushing, competing for the No. 3 receiver spot, along with walk-on Peter Roy to see substantial action. [UPDATE: Looks like Reggie Love is not playing in the spring game. Mike Lucas noted some treatment for Love after Thursday's practice.]
4. Spring Game All-Americans. Speaking of Roy, not all starters will see the field, so these scrimmages could be launching points for positions heading into summer conditioning and fall camp. At running back, how much work Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale receive, is debatable. Taiwan Deal and Bradrick Shaw should get many carries on Saturday.
In years' past, players like Kenzel Doe, Austin Ramesh and Jack Cichy performed well and have contributed heavily to the team.
For other players, it may be some of the only substantial action on the field in front of fans during their career. One former Badger once told me this can be what he referred to as their "Super Bowl." Expect someone to shine.