Borland, who underwent surgery on a torn labrum in the offseason and sat out a week ago, re-injured his left shoulder in the middle of the first quarter on Saturday against Arizona State and did not return.
The option is there for the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year to redshirt, a path nobody wants to see Borland go down considering his impact on the passing game and important in UW's Badger package. After the defense registered four sacks in the opener, the difference in quarterback pressure was significant in the win over San Jose State with Borland on the sideline.
NCAA rules allow players to play up to four games in the first half of the season (six games) and still take a redshirt should a significant injury come up.
"Technically, he'll be able to play in two of the next three, but we'll only put him out there if it's in his best interest," Bielema said Monday. "He has some intangibles that go way beyond football. Chris' personality, his character, the type of person he is, he would be a definite loss."
If Borland is out for a significant period of time, Wisconsin and Defensive Coordinator Dave Doeren will have to alter the 3-3-5 defense, better known as the Badger package. Borland's backups in that role was David Gilbert, who wasn't cleared to play until Thursday, and A.J. Fenton.
"I don't foresee Chris being in this week's game plan, so we go back to being David and a couple of candidates for the position, including Mike Taylor," Bielema said.
Taylor has been the topic of discussion since making his two-tackle season debut against San Jose State. Since tearing his ACL in week seven last season, Taylor has been trying to slowly build confidence in his surgically-repaired knee, confidence that took a minor blow when he had a procedure done during fall camp to clean up scar tissue that was affecting his performance.
The team's leading tackler last season at the time of his injury, Bielema identified a couple plays on his copy of the film that showed Taylor digging his knee into the ground and making some plays.
"I think that was a big game for him to get through mentally," Bielema said.
From the Infirmary
Bielema said that both Nick Toon (turf toe) and David Gilreath (concussion) have a chance to play Saturday against Austin Peay, but they would be unavailable if the Badgers had a game tomorrow since they haven't been medically cleared.
"David pointed out that he was excited to see his name scrolling across the bottom of the ESPN ticker," Bielema said. "He did find entertainment in that."
Evaluating the Slashes
With three slashes on the Wisconsin's two-deep depth chart on the offensive side of the ball, Bielema said this is the week that the coaching staff will be looking for clarity, particularly on the offensive line.
On the depth chart released Monday, Ricky Wagner and Josh Oglesby are listed on the No. 1 line at right tackle while Bill Nagy and Kevin Zeitler are listed the same way at right guard. Both Wagner, who filled in after Oglesby (knee) was ruled out, and Nagy, who has started all three games, are expected to get the starting nod.
"Ricky Wagner played really, really well," BIelema said. "Josh is way ahead of where we thought he was going to be from a rehab standpoint. He was itching to play on Saturday. They just won't clear him yet but my guess is he'll probably get cleared at some point this week. But the way Ricky played, I don't see that changing before Saturday."
Bielema also said that true freshman James White might get the chance to overtake Montee Ball as Wisconsin's backup tailback. White and Ball are both listed on the No. 2 line behind John Clay, although their order in which they are listed has been flipped.
"James has got a lot of talent," Bielema said. "James does certain things very, very well that we think he is different than John and Montee, so he is going to get more attempts. Montee is a guy of the three that probably needs to get it going a little bit more. He did have a nice catch for us … and had a chip block that put one of their 300-pound guys to put him flat on his back."
White is averaging 41.3 yards per game while Ball is averaging 40.3 per game. Both trail Clay, who had rushed for 127.7 yards per contest and five scores.
No Impressing Needed
A least one fan is happy of the skewed numbers involving Wisconsin and its red-zone efficiency. Getting an email last week from a San Jose State fan, Bielema said the fan thanked him for taking a knee in the redzone, choosing to end the game rather than run up the score.
With Wisconsin's victory over Arizona State, the Badgers went up one spot to 10 in the coaches' poll and stayed at 11 in the Associated Press poll. Bielema was emphatic in saying that he would never alter his game plan to impress a voter.
"I think then you are playing outside of the game," Bielema said. "If that costs us … I will never change what I believe is right from a football perspective to anything to do with a poll or winning pretty."
Bielema is also not concerned when the question was raised about his concern level that his team has yet to play a complete four-quarter game with the conference opener just two weeks away. Citing a dogfight his team was in against FCS Western Illinois in 2006 (a 34-10 victory), the hard battles are simply something teams go through during the season.
"Each game is totally independent of each other," Bielema said. "A little of it probably has to do with the style of play that we run. We're not looking to set the all-time records for points … Those things don't bother me as much as results and the results are three wins."
Building Special Teams Mentality
Plenty has been made of Arizona State's shredding of Wisconsin's kickoff unit on Saturday's game, racking up 52.2 yards per return average and a 97-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter.
With Defensive Line Coach Charlie Partridge heading the unit for the first time, he spoke to the team Sunday about breeding an aggressive mentality when it comes to a unit that few come to college wanting to be on.
"Of the 120 kids, seven came to Wisconsin to be on special teams, and that's my punters, kickers and long snappers," Bielema said. "Everybody else came here with dreams and aspirations of being the starting tailback, tight end, safety, linebacker. They don't come here saying that want to be the right guard on punt team. It's just not there, but it's up to us to breed that mentality into them."
Extra Points: The Big Ten announced that Wisconsin's Big Ten opener at Michigan State will be at 2:30 p.m. and be televised on ABC regional, meaning the game will be on ESPN in some areas of the country … Lance Kendricks was the Offensive MVP, Louis Nzegwu was the Defensive MVP, Jay Valai and Shelton Johnson were co-Special Teams MVPs, Dallas Lewallen was the Offensive Scout MVP and Marcus Trotter was the Defensive MVP.