MADISON -- Within an hour after Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen confirmed that junior inside linebacker Derek Landisch will likely take the field for the first time since the season opener against UMass, wide receiver/return man Kenzel Doe tweeted that he would miss the Badgers' Big Ten opener against Purdue Saturday.
At 6:30 p.m. CT, Doe tweeted:
Man I wish I could play Saturday. Its all good tho, with treatment and God on myside ill be back in no time. #staying #positive— Kenzel Doe (@_Mr_KD3_) September 19, 2013
Doe did not elaborate on what he injured or how much time he would miss, and an email to a UW media relations representative was not immediately returned Thursday night.
With Landisch on the path to return, Wisconsin adds some needed depth at the linebacker position after senior Conor O'Neill had been starting in Landisch's place.
"Right now, it looks like he's made tremendous progress in the last 48 hours," Andersen said of Landisch. "We were hopeful on Tuesday we'd start moving in the direction (of him playing Saturday), and it appears that it has. Right now, I'd say he's very likely to play."
Purdue to take downfield shots?
After giving up 352 passing yards to Arizona State last week, Andersen said he expects Purdue to take some shots downfield against the Badgers' secondary, despite the fact the Boilermakers are averaging just 5.7 yards per attempt through three games.
"I'm sure (Purdue) worked a little bit on the back-shoulder fade, and I would expect them to put some balls down the field by way of play-action or even by just five steps and taking a shot," Andersen said.
The Wisconsin coach has liked the response from his secondary in practice this week, though, and he also said the Badgers' front seven needs to get to the quarterback a little quicker to help out the inexperienced players on the back end.
Andersen also said true freshman safety Nate Hammon did "unbelievably well" in an expanded role against the Sun Devils, and that the team is coming close to having four safeties it can rely on.
"For never being a defender in high school, being put in that position ... we were searching for kids to come over who had athleticism who could play safety. He has that," Andersen said. "He's worked so hard on tackling. I thought Nate covered tight ends very well. He understands zone concepts. He understands zone drops."
Andersen downplays increased workload for Gordon
Melvin Gordon's ridiculous stat line through three games -- 37 carries for 477 yards and four touchdowns -- has led many Badger fans to call for the redshirt sophomore to take a few more carries away from senior James White.
Andersen, though, doesn't see it that way. While Gordon has racked up major yardage on fly sweep plays, Wisconsin's head coach believes Gordon and White are equal between the tackles.
"Melvin's production -- we've all got to remember this -- Melvin is the fly sweep guy," Andersen said. "That's been his play, and his yards per carry on that play, I have no idea what it is, but it's a lot. I think when you look at his production outside the tackle box, it's great, it's where we want it, we'll take all that we can get.
"But when you put him in the tackle box with him and James, they've both played very, very well, and so has Corey (Clement). You want to get Melvin more reps. We want to keep him fresh. We want to keep him clean. James is the same way. We want him to get those reps. So right now, we have two starting tailbacks, and we have Corey as a solid second or third back depending on how you look at it."
-- Andersen said his biggest concern in the return game is putting the ball on the ground.
"I think we're making good decisions, but we're just too close in traffic," Andersen said. "That's a concern. We talked about it. We're trying to communicate better and just delete the issue if we can.
"We're going to be as potent as we want to be on special teams. I'd like to see the return games take a step up."
-- Andersen said he hopes defensive end Jake Keefer (knee) will be healthy by the start of spring practice.