Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema announced the good news Thursday that Mike Taylor would return to the lineup Saturday as a starter against San Jose State. Unfortunately, sophomore linebacker Chris Borland will be questionable Saturday with a right shoulder injury. Borland has not practiced this week, but tests Tuesday on his shoulder came back negative.
"There is an outside chance for Chris Borland and we will make a game time decision. He hasn't practiced as of yet this week," Bielema said.
"If doesn't play this week, he should be fine for next week."
Taylor was the Badgers leading tackler through seven games last season before going down with an ACL tear. Although Taylor may have been able to play in the season opener, the coaches held him back for caution.
"He started doing some stuff," Bielema said of Taylor in practice. "I thought he might have a chance last week, because he moved around pretty good last Wednesday. … He came back on Tuesday, looked pretty good. You hold your breath for how he is going to look Wednesday, and he looked better then he did Tuesday."
"Mike is a big play guy. He has the ability and athleticism similar to Chris [Borland]. I mean he can just make some plays that others can't."
Avoiding the Pistol Whip
San Jose State brings a unique offense with them to Camp Randall Saturday: the Pistol formation.
The pistol consists of lining up the running back behind the quarterback, while the QB is in the shotgun. Several teams run a formation of the pistol in the Big Ten, with Indiana using it most regularly. According to Bielema, the pistol is designed to function like a spead offense, with the benefit of running plays to either side of the field.
San Jose State lost to Alabama 48-3 to open the season.
"This is really unique. That running back lines up at nine-yards depth which is significant," Bielema said of the pistol. "It is very unusual how much depth the running back has … [against] Alabama on their first series they went right down the field."
White Returns to Action
Although James White collegiate debut was more then impressive last week, finishing second on the team in yards from scrimmage, the freshman running back was held out from a potential game breaking role.
White is listed as the No. 2 returner behind senior wide receiver David Gilreath. In a 41-21 blowout, it was a bit surprising White wasn't given a touch in the return game.
Bielema said he expects that to change this week.
"Last week we actually went in the game and thought if the situation presents itself, and then in pre-game I saw him drop two kicks," Bielema said. "I was actually thinking the exact same thing today and he put on right on the ground. But he really has got great ball security. It has not been an issue through fall camp."
Bielema said he would try and get backup quarterback Jon Budmayr some playing time if given the opportunity Saturday. Quarterback Curt Phillips will not be available, as he is still recovering from an ACL tear. … Bill Nagy will start at right guard, but Kevin Zeitler will still receive playing time Saturday. … The Wisconsin freshman students were given an orientation to Camp Randall and all of the cheers that come with it Thursday. They should be ready for game time.