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Badger Bits: Wisconsin players in NFL playoffs; former assistants talk UW

Saturday morning Badgers news

Philadelphia Eagles v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images

With the 2017 college football season now finished, all eyes turn to the NFL playoffs and the eight teams remaining in their attempts to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

As usual, six former Wisconsin Badgers could make their presences felt on their respective teams’ paths to the Super Bowl.

In the late Saturday afternoon match-up (3:35 p.m. CT, NBC), the Atlanta Falcons head north to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Though no Badgers play for the Falcons, former running back Corey Clement and defensive tackle Beau Allen are on the active roster for the Eagles.

Clement rushed for 321 yards on 4.3 yards per carry with four touchdowns this season, while also scoring two touchdowns through the air. Allen recorded 20 tackles and a sack. It should also be noted that former Wisconsin walk-on turned team captain Chris Maragos is on injured reserve for Philadelphia.

It may be a David and Goliath-type match-up in Foxboro this weekend with the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots. Offensive lineman Tyler Marz, formerly a left tackle for Wisconsin, is currently on Tennessee’s practice squad, while according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, New England should get running back James White back as he is “expected to play” after being held out of the Patriots’ previous two games with an ankle injury.

White caught 56 passes with three touchdowns this season for Tom Brady and co.

Punter Brad Nortman and the Jacksonville Jaguars look to upset outside linebacker T.J. Watt and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon (12:05 p.m. CT, CBS). Watt registered 54 tackles, seven sacks, and an interceptions in an impressive rookie season for Mike Tomlin’s defense. Nortman averaged 44.1 yards per punt in 87 attempts this season.

In the late Sunday afternoon match-up, Ryan Ramczyk and the New Orleans Saints face the Minnesota Vikings. Ramczyk, who was drafted late in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, has bumped up and started all 16 games this season for the Saints.

Former Wisconsin-Platteville wide receiver Dan Arnold is also on injured reserved for New Orleans, as is former Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn.

Three former Wisconsin assistants discuss culture of football program

We all know the University of Wisconsin-Madison is special, with its campus, lakes, and education. Of course, its athletic programs are some of the most consistent and successful in the nation as well.

UWBadgers.com’s Andy Baggot published a feature on current Cal head coach Justin Wilcox, East Central University (Division II) head coach Al Johnson, and Oregon State defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar discussing what they took away from their time under Paul Chryst and with Wisconsin’s football program.

Wilcox moved on to Cal after one year as defensive coordinator in 2016, while Tibesar and Johnson both left after this season. As Baggot wrote, the three coaches took away a lot from their time in Madison and noted what they would like to take with them in their next opportunities.

“The culture is very unique and awesome to be around,” Tibesar said.

”I believe culture is what wins in the long run and that’s why I believe Wisconsin has won so many games — because of the culture,” Johnson said.

Links

  • Land of 10’s Jesse Temple spoke with 2018 Wisconsin signee Aron Cruickshank and his head coach, with the latter saying one of the newest Badgers has “SEC speed.”
  • Temple also looks back and appreciates the run Wisconsin’s men’s basketball team has had in making the NCAA Tournament.
  • Lastly, check out 96.7/1670 The Zone Madison’s Wisconsin basketball roundtable with the likes of Josh Gasser, Zak Showalter, and Mike Bruesewitz.

[Update: Clarification on Tyler Marz, he was on Tennessee’s roster but as a practice squad member]