MADISON — The No. 9/No. 12 (AP/Coaches poll) Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) finish up their non-conference schedule against Georgia State (0-2) at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.
Head coach Paul Chryst met with the media on Monday afternoon and confirmed cornerback Natrell Jamerson would be out for an extended amount of time due to a left leg injury. The junior suffered the injury late in the game during Saturday’s 54-10 victory against Akron.
Chryst didn’t confirm for sure Jamerson’s absence, but noted it could be in the four-to-six week time frame.
"My first thought is I feel bad for Natrell," Chryst said. "He’s a neat kid, fun to be around. Yesterday, in talking with him, he’s got the right approach."
With the 6’0, 188-pound Florida native gone for at least the next month, the Badgers have to replace not only their lead nickelback and third cornerback, but also their No. 1 kickoff returner on the depth chart.
Junior Lubern Figaro jumped up to the second-team defense alongside true freshman Caesar Williams. Senior Corey Clement, Wisconsin’s starting running back, is now the Badgers’ leading kickoff returner on its depth chart, with true freshman A.J. Taylor listed behind him.
"It’s interesting when a guy like Natrell goes down," Chryst said. "He’s a four-phase special teamer, so you have four different guys that will probably get an opportunity. Nickel package, we’ll see how this week goes a little bit."
Here are some other highlights from Chryst’s press conference:
On Corey Clement’s availability this week: "Talking with him yesterday, and talking with Mike Moll, our trainer, I’m anticipating him going to work, practicing."
On the receiving corp this year: "I feel good that they’ve had their opportunities and moments. I think we still got a lot of work to do to be where we want to be and where we should be. I thought it was good. Jazz [Peavy] did some really good things, as did Rob [Wheelwright]."
On Clement viable option as kickoff returner, or too much of a risk? "No, he’s been working it all camp, and to this point, we haven’t had a lot of kickoff returns. Absolutely, it’d be viable."
Taylor and fellow true freshman Quintez Cephus are now listed on the second-team in Wisconsin’s depth chart. On their rise and progression: "You were at camp and saw. I think they are guys that have some talent and both played in week one, and got some more snaps week two, so I think they’re coming along. We just gotta keep helping them get better, but I like what both A.J. and Quintez bring to our offense."
Bradrick Shaw’s performance (nine carries, 74 yards, one touchdown): "I thought Bradrick ran with good patience and thought he ran hard and didn’t try to do too much but took advantage of what was there. He’s a kid I love being around. He’s a worker, and those experiences will help him quite a bit. I thought even the guys up front did a good job of giving him a chance, and every back has got to do a little something — make a guy miss — and he did that. It was a good experience for him and it was fun to see."
Point of emphasis heading into Georgia State: "It’ll be the same stuff. I think when you’re talking to your team — I should have made it clear -- because third downs were a point of emphasis in camp and every time you play. I make sure I double-check that they know, but you have to convert on third down. We just talked about it defensively, and when you’re in the red zone, you have to be productive. We missed another opportunity in the red zone last week. Each week, you don’t know how the game will play and certainly defenses are different each week, but if you’re going to be a good offense and if you’re going to give yourself a chance to win games, you have to be good on third down and when you get an opportunity to be in the red zone, you have to do well there."
On if two games is good enough gauge to know if his offense in 2016 is more explosive than last year’s: "Probably not. I think that...I’d say no. I’d say we gotta keep playing and find out. I think every offense I’ve been a part of has a chance to be that. Whether we do or don’t is up to us and our execution. We’ll see, I guess."
On Georgia State: "They’ve got some really good skill players, and Trent Miles has done a nice job. From when they took over and really building the program, they’ve done a nice job. They’ve got offensively, defensively, and you see it on special teams with a mix of both, there are some really good football players. Obviously, they had success last year and a lot of guys returning."
More on the Panthers: "I think it’ll be a little bit different. Similar to Akron in that they’ll be a little bit more a spread, and I think certainly last year their pace it could go pretty fast, so we gotta keep working that. We’ll see some different fronts and coverages this week so we gotta do a good job of preparing for that."
Depth chart changes
- With Jamerson’s injury, Figaro moves up to second-team defense.
- As noted before, Cephus replaces Reggie Love in the two-deep at wide receiver, while Taylor and George Rushing at are the other receiver spot.
- T.J. Edwards is listed as one of the second-team inside linebackers.
- This week, true freshman Anthony Lotti is listed as the No. 1 punter over redshirt sophomore P.J. Rosowski.
- Clement is listed as the No. 1 kickoff returner, Taylor as No. 2.
[UPDATE: In the sixth paragraph, corrected a sentence about Clement as kickoff returner. The depth chart lists him as the No. 1 kickoff returner, not that Chryst noted that in his press conference on Monday.]