We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Wisconsin sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, hockey or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you and we look forward to sharing it all with you.
Today is Friday, Sept. 16, and this is your Wisconsin Wake-Up Call.
Injuries mount for Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s injury report took a turn for the worse on Thursday, with the team announcing that at least six players would not play on Saturday against Georgia State.
OUT vs GSU:
Jon Dietzen (leg)
Caesar Williams (leg)
Billy Hirschfeld (leg)
Reggie Love (infection)
Nick Thomas (leg)
Natrell Jamerson (leg)
— Jason Galloway (@Jason_Galloway) September 15, 2016
The most notable name on the list is cornerback Caesar Williams, who was expected to be in a position to grab Natrell Jamerson’s role as the fifth defensive back when the Badgers went to their nickel package. Without him, the job likely falls to either junior Lubern Figaro or redshirt freshman Titus Booker.
The news also wasn’t great for running back Corey Clement, who is battling an ankle injury.
“He was able to do some stuff on Monday and hasn’t done a lot since,” coach Paul Chryst said of Clement. “If guys can play, we’re going to play them. I think they need to play, and they worked too hard for these opportunities to not play. But if (Clement) can’t go, I feel good with the ones at that position. I think we’ve had a good week of practice at the running back spot with Taiwan (Deal), Dare (Ogunbowale) and Bradrick (Shaw).”
Again, it would make sense for Clement to sit against a Georgia State defense that is allowing 394 yards per game on the ground, easily the worst mark in the FBS. Wisconsin shouldn’t need him, and though the players have steadfastly repeated their sole focus is on this week, they know — as does everyone else — that their top offensive weapon needs to be on the field when they take on Michigan State next week in East Lansing. If he isn’t 100 percent, and he’s clearly not, there is no reason to put him out there on Saturday.
Time to pay up
Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes has some doughnuts to buy.
On Wednesday night, the senior challenged his fellow students to buy their season tickets and sell them out in under five minutes. And if they did, Hayes and guard Bronson Koenig would deliver doughnuts to everyone that got tickets.
Fastest sell out?
7 min 5 sec. (2014)
— Nigel Hayes (@NIGEL_HAYES) September 15, 2016
When tickets went on sale Thursday morning the students gobbled them up in less than five minutes.
— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) September 15, 2016
As you might imagine, Hayes was inundated with tweets from students asking when and where that doughnut delivery was going to take place, including some from his own teammates.
— Brevin Pritzl (@LilB_Pritz1) September 15, 2016
Nigel, where are my donuts? That's the only reason I bought tix… https://t.co/1KCVdIPohR
— Kendel Chopp (@KendelChopp) September 15, 2016
@NIGEL_HAYES so about those donuts… ???
— kayla fisher (@kayfish312) September 15, 2016
Hayes may have underestimated the excitement surrounding a team that returns nearly intact from a run to the Sweet Sixteen last year. And now it’s possible that his wallet will take the hit.
Schabert to Evans
This weekend, Wisconsin will add eight people to its athletics Hall of Fame, including the best wide receiver to ever step foot on campus — Lee Evans.
The Ohio native was nearly unstoppable in 2001, when he had a Big Ten-record 1,545 yards receiving, and he finished his career with more touchdowns (27) than anyone in Wisconsin history. But it was a play in 2003 that cemented Evans’ legacy in Madison.
After starting quarterback Jim Sorgi was knocked out of the Badgers matchup with No. 3 Ohio State, backup Matt Schabert came on and hit Evans for a 79-yard touchdown to take a lead late in the fourth quarter and eventually upset a Buckeyes squad that had won 19 straight games coming in.
The play is among the most memorable in Wisconsin history, and it’s one that has stuck with Evans.
Evans: My favorite game at Camp Randall was the Ohio State game, it was unbelievable.#Badgers
— ESPN Madison (@ESPNMadison) September 15, 2016
The other inductees are Bruce Driver, John Easker, Tom Grantham, Rick Lawinger, Kari Maijala, Kirk Penney and Jeff Sauer. The group will be officially inducted on Friday night and then will be recognized during the football game on Saturday.
Treating Minnesota like in-state recruiting
Former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema once said that his program treated the state of Minnesota like an in-state recruiting territory. The comment enraged Gophers fans, but it was accurate. Bielema and his predecessor, Barry Alvarez, constantly went into Minnesota and pulled out highly recruited players, much to the chagrin of the those in the Twin Cities.
When former basketball coach Bo Ryan arrived at Wisconsin in 2001, he and current coach Greg Gard took the same approach and got similar results. And that’s still causing angst among Gophers fans.
As Marcus Fuller of the Star-Tribune explains, the Badgers and other top programs are coming into Minnesota and taking the best players, and it’s one of the reasons that Richard Pitino’s tenure hasn’t played out as planned.
Former Minneapolis North standout Kammron Taylor was the first Minnesotan that Greg Gard helped the Badgers sign in 2003. The Badgers, with their 18 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, have now established a pipeline.
From 2007-2009, they brought in Jordan Taylor of Benilde St. Margaret’s, Orono’s Jon Leuer, Princeton’s Jared Berggren and Henry Sibley’s Mike Bruesewitz. More recently, Grand Rapids forward Alex Illikainen played as a freshman last season, and Lakeville North center Nathan Reuvers and Maple Grove guard Brad Davison will join Gard in Madison next year.
“High school coaches, grass roots coaches and AAU coaches have continued to do a better job in Minnesota,” said Gard, who was promoted from former coach Bo Ryan’s longtime assistant to his replacement last year. “… I don’t think it’s one thing specific. The Minneapolis-St. Paul area, being a metro area, there’s a lot more kids focusing on basketball in the last 15-20 years.”
Gard has owned the state of Minnesota — he was the primary recruiter for nearly all of their signees from there — and his success has allowed Wisconsin to overcome losing the top-ranked player in its own state in each of the last four years and eight times in the last nine.
Minnesota doesn’t have that luxury. They know they can’t come into Wisconsin and take the best players, and there isn’t another state close to them that they can raid like the Badgers do in Minnesota. So, unless the Pitino can lock down the borders, effectively putting up a wall to keep kids home, their struggles with the Badgers and the rest of the Big Ten will continue.