Just when you think you know…Paul Chryst and the Wisconsin Badgers coaching staff pull another set of surprises out of the hat.
With the Badgers playing on Friday, Chryst held his weekly press conference on Sunday afternoon. The Badgers also released the opening week depth chart and there were plenty of surprises on the list.
Headlining the surprises was a triple-threat of starters at running back. We knew there was a battle ongoing between redshirt sophomore Bradrick Shaw and Pitt transfer Chris James, but what we didn’t know is the extent to which true freshman Jonathan Taylor had come along.
It appeared Taylor was headed for a redshirt season, but the coaching staff has apparently seen enough to not only list him on the two-deep, but also as an option as a starter for Week 1 of his collegiate career. It seems as if Taylor’s abilities could be used by this team, especially given his speed and breakaway ability.
Taylor likely isn’t redshirting if he’s listed as a co-starter (even if there are three names).
Speaking of freshmen…former 4-star wide receiver Danny Davis has also worked his way in to the two-deep for the season opener. He was the final, but certainly not least of UW’s 2017 class and has received rave reviews for his deceptive speed and ability to high-point the football.
Davis likely was in the two-deep here thanks to an injury to senior George Rushing. It’s a great opportunity or him to take snaps and wrestle his position away from Rushing for the rest of the season.
Defensively, the big surprise is that redshirt sophomore Chris Orr is not starting opposite of T.J. Edwards. Instead, former walk-on Ryan Connelly will get the start. Additionally, it appears that Arrington Farrar’s big move down to linebacker in fall camp is paying off. He is listed as the second-string linebacker behind Connelly.
The healthy of Jon Dietzen also sees the Badgers listing Micah Kapoi or himself as the starter at left guard.
UW will take on Utah State with the game scheduled for Friday, Sept. 1 at 8pm on ESPN.
Here is the full depth chart for Week 1: