Notebook: Garner switched to 'D' full time

Freshman Manasseh Garner will halt with his receiver duties - at least for this season - as he tries to help out the Badgers pass rush in the final four Big Ten games.

MADISON — After managing only one sack on 41 drop backs against Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi, the Wisconsin coaches spent the bye-week searching for a way to create more pressure on the passer.

The answer came in the form of a freshman wide receiver.

Manasseh Garner, who has dabbled on the defensive side of the ball this season, was officially switched full time to a defensive rush end during the bye week according to UW coach Bret Bielema.

"We switched Manasseh full-go to defense during the bye-week," Bielema said.

"He was having success in so many areas I kind of stepped in and said 'let's clean up his plate a little bit and get him a little less food.' It has been good so far."

Listed at six-foot-two and just 204 lbs, Garner had played downs at rush end earlier this season but was also practicing on the offensive side of the ball. Garner has starred on special teams in recent weeks, recording three coverage tackles against Ohio State.

When asked if the move would be permanent, Bielema smiled before responding:

"We will just get through the season and see where it is at," Bielema said. "He was doing some really nice things at receiver and we lose three of our five guys this year, so it will definitely be a discussion topic this winter."

Injury Updates

With several players banged up against Iowa, the bye week could not have come at a better time for the Badgers.

According to Bielema, UW will start wide receiver Nick Toon and center Peter Konz Saturday against Purdue. Defensive tackle Jordan Kohout will play but not start.

Offensive weapons Lance Kendricks and James White will both be game time decisions — with the prognosis not looking good.

"Lance went yesterday and went today, he did some things but I don't know if we are going to use him," Bielema said. "James White same situation. We will see where he is at over the next 24 hours."

The Return of Woz

With Kendricks likely missing the game Saturday, Wisconsin will welcome back tight end Brian Wozniak to the offensive fold.

Wozniak missed the first half of the season after suffering a shoulder injury in fall camp. He has played the last two games on special teams, but has not seen any significant offensive reps.

According to Bielema, Wozniak will be the No. 2 tight end in the Badgers offense against Purdue.

"The guy that I am excited to see if Lance doesn't go is Brian Wozniak," Bielema said. "Who was really ahead of Pedersen and he broke his shoulder in fall camp, but he has been back with us now for three weeks and I am really excited to watch him play."

Extra Points

With the Badgers defense forcing turnovers at an inconsistent rate, Bielema expects the numbers to tick up over the last four Big Ten games. "The type of offenses we are playing now we might have the ability to create some more turnovers," Bielema said. … With all four of the next opponents in spread offenses, athletic freshman defensive back Conor O'Neill will see more playing time in the upcoming games.

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