Notes: Jackson Undergoes Second ACL Surgery

On the fence whether to play or not, true freshman Vonte Jackson will instead undergo his second ACL surgery in just over a year, forcing him to take his redshirt and go through another six months of rehabilitation.

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MADISON - The decision on whether to or not to play true freshman Vonte Jackson this season has now become a simply one for No.13 Wisconsin.

Working on the Badgers' scout kickoff cover team in a recent practice, Jackson planted and had tore his right ACL. According to Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, Jackson knew it as soon as it happened.

"I've popped two (ACLs) so you know (when you tear one)," Bielema said Thursday. "He has been looking really good."

Jackson had surgery to repair his right ACL Wednesday, the same surgery he had done on his left knee last September. In the first incident, Jackson was tackled from behind at the end of the first half of the first game, ending a game in which he had 12 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a pass for 38 yards.

Bielema believes Jackson will be able to participate in a limited basis in the spring and be full-go in the fall, much like he was this past year recovering from his first surgery.

"The one benefit he has is experience," said Bielema, referring to Jackson having been through the process before. "He is a real light sweller, which is a positive thing … He's really upbeat."

Jackson also has a good support group along with Bielema and Jackson's father, who drove up the night of the injury. On Wisconsin's current roster, the Badgers have Curt Phillips (three ACL surgeries) and Nick Hill (two ACL surgeries) that have gone through the process on the same knee.

"There are number of guys on our team that have a torn ACL," said Bielema. "The benefit is both (injuries) are on different knees. It's not on the same knee that has been traumatized."

Bielema said Jackson's injury has no effect on Wisconsin recruiting a second tailback in 2013.

Big things in Corvallis

The lasting image Wisconsin fans have of Oregon State is the Beavers high tailing it back to the Pacific Northwest with their tails between their legs. Beaten 35-0 at the hands of Wisconsin in week two last season, it was foreshadowing of things to come for Oregon State in what turned out to be a 3-9 campaign.

Bielema and Wisconsin sees differently. For starters, sophomore Malcolm Agnew – who rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns the week before – didn't make the trip to Madison last year and sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion was given his first significant reps.

As the season progressed, the Beavers showed some life, winning at Washington State, winning verse Washington and battling Oregon tough in the second half.

"We don't have to tell anybody how good Oregon State is," said Bielema, referring to Oregon State playing 24 first-year players last year. "You can see the film from a year ago. They got steadily better in every game. The benefit of us playing, we obviously have to play better than a week ago.

"I am very excited to get the chance to play on the road and see what kind of players we have in that environment."

Bielema expects that environment to be a frenzy; acknowledging he has heard Oregon State's coaches and players reference that it's the biggest nonconference game in decades. Saturday's contest marks the first time a Big Ten team has ventured to Corvallis since 1971 when the Beavers defeated Iowa, 33-19.

"The thing that I think our kids have been preparing with crowd noise, they've been embracing the opportunity to go on the road," said Bielema.

Bielema also mentioned he has been getting a lot of requests for tickets, leading him to believe Wisconsin fans will have a good showing at the game.

Byers takes medical redshirt

After suffering a severe concussion last season, a fall camp concussion has caused redshirt sophomore linebacker Cody Byers to take a medical redshirt and retire.

"We flew him home last week, he sat down and talked to his parents and he comes from a great high school program," said Bielema of Byers. "We wanted to make sure we did it the right way. One thing the NCAA has come along with is helping kids in difficult situations."

Bielema said Byers being left off the initial 105-man roster was due to his recovering from the concussion, not because of the off-campus fight that led to the attack on Montee Ball.

"That was just bad timing for Cody," said Bielema. "Cody is a great kid (and) we're going to see him get his degree here."


Is Melvin Gordon still pretty upbeat despite not playing?

"He was awesome. We tried to get the ball in his hands on the kickoff return. Plus we wanted to work Montee pretty heavily, which we did. I tried to get those other guys involved, but I am really happy where Melvin is at. He's had a great week of practice. Today he was very explosive. I want to get him the ball early."

Extra Points: Bielema said four true freshmen – Vince Biegel, Reggie Love, Reggie Mitchell and Dan Voltz – will make the trip with the possibility of playing their first game … Bielema said he knew the Oregon State coaches would somehow get the coaches' copy of Wisconsin's opening game, but tried to ‘just make it difficult' for them … Kyle French will start on kickoff and field goals, but Bielema said true freshman Jack Russell is ‘right there.'

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