One of the primary questions Badger fans were left asking after Friday night's victory over Fresno State was, why didn't Alex Lewis get more playing time? The junior college transfer from Delran, N.J. appeared to be a terror on special teams units, and has been touted as one reason the UW staff expects this defense to be better than last year.
After watching the film, Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove is ready to give Lewis more snaps against UNLV.
"You'll see him play quite a bit this week," Cosgrove said. "(Starter Broderick Williams and Lewis) both did a lot of good things, but there is improvement to be made."
Cosgrove said he was reluctant to throw Lewis into the fire too quickly, and he's still very much in the learning process.
"I didn't have him in the spring. He lost that spring," Cosgrove said. "You'd like to have him, but I didn't have him and there's nothing we can do about it. So you bring him along. And he keeps on improving every week. He has a tremendous work ethic, picking up the system, so as we go along he'll play more."
Cosgrove is still figuring out what Lewis and his other young linebackers are capable of, and he has made some moves to put them in positions to contribute. While Lamarr Watkins is backing up Kareem Timbers at the drop position, Elliot Goode is listed in the two-deep (along with Kyle McCorison) behind Jeff Mack at the Mike position.
Cosgrove said the first step is to see what the young players do on special teams, then they will earn their way into the mix on defense.
"Right now they have to work hard to improve, and then they have to become dominant special teams players. That's their role right now. As they improve and understand things, they will play more," Cosgrove said.
Lewis certainly made a case for himself last week on special teams, streaking down the field and making a couple of plays.
"It's just him seeing things," Cosgrove said. "You miss the spring, you miss all that practice time in the spring, he came in like a freshman. But you see the strides he's made compared to these other freshmen."
Will Alex Lewis play more this week?
Badger Nation Top Stories
Breakdown: Penn State vs. No.15 WisconsinAfter a physical overtime win at Minnesota Saturday, No.15 Wisconsin looks to overcome a short turnaround when it hosts a physical Penn State team tonight. BadgerNation breaks down…
Badger Nation9:26 AM
Three-Point Shot: Penn StateBefore No.15 Wisconsin takes on Penn State at the Kohl Center tonight, here are the three questions we're looking to have answered.
Badger Nation7:11 AM
State of the Nation - 1.23.17Wisconsin has taken full advantage of the contact period, handing out over a dozen offers to 2018 prospects. Get the breakdown on many of them in this week's State of the Nation.
Badger NationYesterday at 9:53 AM
Things Go Great for Warinner at WisconsinJunior linebacker Edward Warinner is a top 2018 prospect, a player Wisconsin was eager to host for its junior day Saturday.
Scout FootballYesterday at 9:50 AM