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Badgers HC Luke Fickell: Jake Renfro “getting much closer” to playing

The Badgers center could see the field sooner than later.

The Wisconsin Badgers made do with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday, winning 24-13 to remain undefeated in conference play.

While the offense got off to a slower start, scoring just 17 points overall, the defense shined, taking away the run, and limiting quarterback Gavin Wimsatt to 15/34 passing.

For the Badgers, the run game clicked, with the team going for over 200 yards on the ground, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

However, throughout the game, snaps from center Tanor Bortolini were an issue, resulting in timing concerns, both in the run and the passing game.

That led to questions about Jake Renfro and his health as the center continues to recover from leg injuries that have sidelined him for the majority of his time with the Badgers.

Is Renfro nearing a return to the field?

Head coach Luke Fickell confirmed that the offensive lineman is getting closer and closer to game shape, while pointing out that this week was Renfro’s first full week of practice.

“Jake [Renfro] is getting much closer,” Fickell said. “You know, we play six linemen, obviously with Trey (Wedig) and those guys rolling in there. We don’t do that at the center position now. This would have been the first week that Jake we would have said he has legitimately practiced all week and ready to roll.”

When asked whether Renfro could've made an appearance on Saturday, Fickell pointed to the turnover at the end of the game as a reason for keeping the starters in.

“I don’t know if there was a lot of talk there at the end. You know, had we, you know, not maybe turned the ball over, there would have been a greater opportunity to, you know, maybe get some of those guys — you know, some more reps.”

However, the Badgers could look to integrate Renfro back into the rotation at center, allowing Bortolini, who has been impressive with his blocking in both facets of the game, to slide over to his more natural position of guard.

There are valid questions about the continuity along the offensive line, especially after the issues Wisconsin faced last year, but the snap concerns need to improve six weeks through the season, and that hasn't happened yet.