It’s a bit of a tease. It feels a bit like Christmas in July but the Wisconsin Badgers will grace the ground up tires of Camp Randall Stadium Friday night in the 2017 spring game. Although I’m excited about a quasi-Badger game, I’m excited to see some specific items and where they are in their respective developments as we move closer to fall.
Badgers’ starter Alex Hornibrook has been hard at work this winter and spring. He has taken his tour on the road practicing under the guidance of quarterback specialist George Whitfield over spring break. As we move closer to fall, I’d like to see more consistency out of Hornibrook. He has shown the talent to make all of the passes, but during stretches of last season, he went through bouts of erraticism. My guess is the now-sophomore will show glimpses of the consistency I am looking for.
I am also interested in seeing other young quarterbacks in Karé Lyles and Jack Coan. According to reports, both have also shown some exciting play during the spring.
RUNNING BACKS: POTENT DUO IN THE MAKING?
We saw flashes of exciting play out of Bradrick Shaw a season ago. We’re excited by the potential and early signs of Chris James. Combine the two and it appears the cardinal and white could have quite the combo. Friday night will be the first time Badgers fans will see James in person. It’ll be the first time we see Shaw with a much bigger role as well. The icing on that mouth-watering cake it Taiwan Deal, who played a significant role in the run game in 2015, is still in the mix. That duo with Deal should have fans excited about the running game.
WHO’S AFTER PEAVY AT THE WIDE RECEIVER POSITION
Jazz Peavy put together a strong 2016 as he found his stride over the course of the campaign. Besides Peavy, who will be the considerable number one threat as far as wideouts, who’s next? George Rushing was fifth in receiving last year but he is the next receiver on this year’s list. He will need to increase his production mightily but he likely will with greater opportunity. Friday will be an initial chance for us to see his offseason progressions to date. Others that will contribute this fall and many are excited to see this weekend are now-sophomores Quintez Cephus and A.J. Taylor.
HOW BIG OF A MONSTER WILL FUMAGALLI BE THIS SEASON
We knew prior to last season that the Badgers had a talented tight end in Troy Fumagalli but I don’t know if anyone knew that that skill set would metastasize into the monster he became towards the end of last season. Now, a senior, expectations will be high for Fumagalli but I am excited to watch him match and potentially exceed them.
With the offensive skill positions all laid out, the next edition will be the battle of the two front lines, the defensive secondary and special teams.