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Junior Michael Deiter has started games at center and guard. Could tackle be next?

A new player at left tackle, CB Derrick Tindal on offense and James White gets paid

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Today is Wednesday, April 19, and this is what’s for breakfast.


Another move

A week ago, Wisconsin offensive line coach Joe Rudolph said junior Michael Deiter could start at center and either guard spot. You can apparently add left tackle to the list. As detailed by Jason Galloway of the Wisconsin State Journal, the Ohio product saw time at left tackle during practice on Tuesday morning in the place of sophomore David Edwards, who continues to be in and out of the lineup due to a left ankle injury.

“It’s definitely possible for me to play left tackle this fall,” Deiter said. “When you think about it, we have (Jon) Dietzen and Micah (Kapoi) who can play left guard. (Tyler) Biadasz is doing a heck of a job at center. And (Edwards) could always play right tackle. That’s where he started all his games last year.

“With this experiment, it gives us depth at more positions, I would say, and it really is an option for the fall. It’s just kind of seeing how it works.”

Two things came to mind when seeing Deiter lining up outside. One, how good of a player is he that the coaching staff is willing to play him at 4 of the 5 spots on the line? And 2, how worried are the Badgers about their tackle spots that they are willing to move an All-Big Ten-caliber player at center and guard out to tackle?

The first 1 is easy to answer. Deiter is an outstanding player that is the furthest thing from selfish as possible. His position at the NFL level is likely inside, but he’s accepted every challenge and move he’s been faced with since stepping on campus. If being pushed out to left tackle is what’s best for Wisconsin, he will be more than happy to oblige.

The second part is a little less clear. Rudolph has said time and time again the coaches are trying to find the best 5 linemen and get them on the field together. It’s entirely possible that a line of Deiter, Dietzen, Biadasz, Beau Benzschawel and Edwards would be the best way to make that happen, though that’s far from a certainty at this point. But the possibility it could indicates that unlike last year with Ryan Ramczyk, the Badgers don’t have a plug-and-play guy at the spot right now.

For Deiter this won’t be as foreign as it seems. He played left tackle in high school, so he’s got some experience there, and it appears the coaching staff trusts him. And while it might be a small indictment of where the team’s young tackles — Patrick Kasl and Cole Van Lanen — are at the moment, it says a lot more about Deiter as a player and person that he’s willing to try anything.

Derrick Tindal on offense?

Derrick Tindal is Wisconsin’s No. 1 cornerback, but that hasn’t stopped him from persuading coach Paul Chryst to give him some snaps at wide receiver. Last spring, the senior would line up outside and run fly routes at random times in practice. Both Chryst and wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore brushed it off as nothing more than them acquiescing to Tindal’s friendly pestering. He never saw time on offense during the season, but he was back there on Tuesday for a couple of reps in team drills, forcing some to consider whether he’d actually be an option for Chryst this fall.

In short, the answer is no. Tindal is not Hall of Fame member Deion Sanders, future Hall of Fame member Charles Woodson or even former Wisconsin do-everything wide receiver/safety Tanner McEvoy — all players who saw time on both sides of the ball. And the Badgers don’t need him to be, not when they have the most diverse group of offensive weapons since Chryst returned from Pittsburgh in 2015.

McEvoy played both ways out of necessity and because he offered something that no other receiver had — a 6-foot-6 frame. Why would Wisconsin throw the ball to Tindal when it could instead give it to WRs Jazz Peavy, Quintez Cephus and A.J. Taylor, TEs Troy Fumagalli and Kyle Penniston, or RB Chris James? They wouldn’t.

This latest foray to the offensive side of the ball is likely no different from last year — let Tindal grab a few reps, run a jet sweep or 2 in practice, and then watch him lock down opposing wide receivers at his true and only position — cornerback.

Some security

It’s good to be James White. The former Wisconsin running back and Super Bowl LI hero for the New England Patriots, reportedly has gotten a contract extension through the 2020 season from the team.

White broke out on the national stage with 14 catches (a Super Bowl record), 20 points (another Super Bowl record) and the game-winning overtime touchdown in the Patriots’ epic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in February. For those unfamiliar with White it was a shock to see the former fourth-round pick have such a big role on the sport’s biggest stage. But those who followed him at Wisconsin knew he had the talent to get it done and just needed an opportunity.

A Florida native, White always shared the spotlight — and often was overlooked — in the Badgers backfield. He led Wisconsin in rushing in 2010, but was in the shadow of John Clay and Montee Ball. The latter would get a majority of the attention the next 2 years before heading to the NFL. But in 2013 White found himself sharing a backfield with Melvin Gordon, arguably the most electric player in Wisconsin history.

White was never the guy, but he also never complained. He just kept working — both in Madison and New England. It’s why his finally getting the attention and respect he’s earned in the form of money is so good to see. It may be a cliché, but it’s heartwarming when the good guy comes out on top.

Catching up

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