More Good than Bad to Report for Bret

Although the Lance Smith issue was prominent Thursday night, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema had plenty of good news to report on the injury front, on sidelined wide receivers coach Henry Mason and who might be his starting quarterback August 30.

CHICAGO — It looks like Lance Smith may have played his last game as a Badger.

Smith, the troubled running back that missed UW's five road games last season after legal trouble, apparently violated terms of the first-offenders program he was enrolled in and has been suspended from the team indefinitely.

UW head coach Bret Bielema announced the suspension in a statement released Thursday night from the conference's media day.

"It has come to my attention that Lance has failed to meet certain requirements relating to the first-offender program he was placed in last fall," Bielema said in the statement. Bielema declined to comment further on the issue when asked Friday.

Smith's disciplinary issues aren't the only theme recurring from this time last year.

A season ago, UW head coach Bret Bielema hinted that the starting quarterback position was senior Tyler Donovan's to lose going into the season.

With similar quarterback questions lingering this season, at Big Ten Media Day Thursday Bielema said the number one quarterback spot seems to be senior Allan Evridge's.

Evridge, who is being pushed primarily by junior Dustin Sherer, as well as sophomore Scott Tolzien, has the edge on both when it comes to game experience. Not only did Evridge appear in several games last season, he started six games as a redshirt freshman at Kansas State before transferring to UW before the 2006 season.

"The one advantage with Allan is he's been in the huddle, he's made calls, made adjustments, been hit very hard … and bounced back from that," Bielema said.

Bielema stopped short of naming Evridge his starter, however, and said that how he performs during fall camp will be the deciding factor.

"I don't want to go with a starter at this point for one reason," Bielema said. "When you've got a guy who's starting for the first time, you wonder how he's going to be prepared to handle game day against Akron. The only way you can simulate that as a coach is do it everyday in practice and try to build as much pressure and as much anxiety to see how they will react."

Badgers Getting Healthy

The injury issues that left the Wisconsin defense practicing very shorthanded throughout much of the spring practice season appear to be winding down. By the time UW's fall camp opens August 4, the Badgers should be close to fully healthy.

Cornerbacks Aaron Henry and Allen Langford and defensive tackle Jason Chapman are all coming off of knee ligament surgeries and should be able to participate fully from the outset. Defensive tackle Mike Newkirk (shoulder surgery) and defensive end Kirk DeCremer (back) should be ready to go as well.

While those players may be cleared to practice, Bielema said the coaching staff might hold them out of one practice a day during two-a-days as a precautionary measure. A similar approach was taken with former left tackle when Joe Thomas when he came back from a torn knee ligament.

According to Bielema, the only player who may need to be held out of certain drills is starting defensive end Matt Shaughnessy, who is recovering from a broken leg.

Mason Update

Henry Mason, the former UW wide receivers coach, is still recovering from a spinal scare that happened over a year ago. Bielema said he last saw Mason at the golf outing the UW head coach puts on.

"Every time I see him he's a little bit better," Bielema said. "His personality, his outlook on things is very, very positive and he just continues to move in the right direction."

Mason won't return to the program until at least after signing day; Bielema has receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander under contract until then.

"I'm not going to shut the door on it," Bielema said of a possible Mason return. "There's a point in time where that has to be addressed. I had to make a move and that's why I signed Del to another one-year contract."

Badger Nation Top Stories