We are nearing a month away from the 2018 Wisconsin Badgers opening up fall camp, with just over two months away from their Aug. 31 season opener at home against Western Kentucky.
Some of the Wisconsin coaching staff spoke with ESPN Wisconsin’s Tony Cartagena at the Mendota Gridiron Golf Outing on Wednesday, with the interviews airing on Thursday.
With some of those interviews came some nuggets of information. B5Q is still working through the interviews, but defensive line position coach Inoke Breckterfield gave Cartagena updates on the reported injuries of junior Garrett Rand (achilles) and redshirt sophomore Isaiahh Loudermilk (surgery).
Though Wisconsin has not officially declared Rand as out, Breckterfield said as much when answering a question about who needs to step up with the injuries at one of the most under-appreciated position groups on the field.
“First off, it’s starts off with Olive [Sagapolu] being there as the leader, kind of leading the group—like I said Isaiahh, depending upon how he comes back—Garrett is done for the year, but the next group will be Aaron Vopal, Kraig Howe, David Pfaff, Keldric Preston,” Breckerfield said. “Those are the guys that have been around for a couple of years already so they had a good spring and then they just got to make sure they maximize this summer, and then obviously in fall camp, it’s going to be an open competition and it’s my job to play the best guys.
“So they understand that part and they’re battling, they’re working, and they’re all fighting for playing time.”
Regarding Loudermilk, who emerged in 2017 to become a rotational player and see action in 11 games despite missing some time with injuries, the timeframe for his return looks promising.
“It depends,” Breckterfield said. “They said he’d be back maybe the first or second week, but I’m not sure. He’s ahead of schedule, I know that, so we’ll just kind of see how it plays out and kind of where he’s at come August and kind of go from there, but I know he’s obviously it’s going to be a long one.”
Despite the situations the line has been dealt, Breckterfield acknowledged his players have “been working hard.”
“I thought we had a productive spring,” Breckterfield said. “Obviously with Garrett going down and Isaiahh making his way back, the young guys and the rest of those guys got to step up. That’s kind of the mantra, ‘Next Man Up,’ and those guys are working hard to get that done.
“It’s been fun, though. I like the way they’ve approached it, I’ve liked the way they’re working, and they’ll continue to do that over the summer and try [to be] the best they can be before fall camp.”
When discussing Sagapolu, Breckterfield also said the senior nose tackle would get in on some plays in the nickel subpackage.
Joe Rudolph on Michael Deiter, left side of offensive line
When asked about the potential position for the versatile Michael Deiter entering fall camp, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph showed his hand a bit, noting that the redshirt senior will slide back inside, allowing other players to try their hand at the tackle spot he started all 14 games last season at.
“I think he’s going to work, start off at that left guard spot,” Rudolph said. “I’m going to let Cole Van Lanen and Jon Dietzen and Patrick Kasl compete at that left tackle spot to fill out those other three tackles long with David Edwards.”