On Saturday, junior Scott Tolzien will get his chance to join his three former teammates in the win column.
Impressing his coaches and his teammates throughout fall camp with his accuracy and reads, Tolzien will find himself under center when the Badgers host Northern Illinois in the season opener this Saturday.
"He really does a good job getting in and out of the huddle, pointing things out and just really handles the situation well," head coach Bret Bielema said during his Monday News Conference.
A late commit to the University of Wisconsin in 2006, Tolzien spurred offers by Kentucky, Northern Illinois and Toledo when the Badgers offered in late January, a school that was always tops of Tolzien's radar but was patient in offering.
"He's the Scott Tolzien plan," Bielema said when asked about the late offer to Tolzien. "Some guys are going to come in with 20 offers, some guys are going to come in with none. Each recruiting story is independent to that person. He's come here and took full advantage of every opportunity."
Another player that has taken advantage of the chance to compete is redshirt freshman Curt Phillips, who impressed the coaching staff and frustrated the first-team defense with his ability to make plays with both his arms and his legs, and causing more than a few seasoned veterans to get fooled rather easily.
Throw in the fact that Sherer has handled the demotion with the utmost class and the quarterback position looks strong heading into the season.
"Curt Phillips has continued to make strides and we've tried to put him in the position where he knows exactly what is going on," Bielema said. "The guy I am probably the most proud of, and I've brought him in and shared with him some of the stories I've gone through as a player and a coach, is Dustin Sherer. Going into his senior year with high expectations and not be named the starter, (Sherer) has been just tremendous with our starters. Anything he can get involved with, Dustin is doing that."
Offensive Lines Walking Wounded Making Steps
Despite the fall camp being relatively injury free, the offensive line was hampered by injures before and during camp. Five days before the opener, that unit is starting to get healthy again.
Junior left tackle Gabe Carimi will start on Saturday after suffering a knee sprain during the second week of camp. After practiced Thursday and Friday during scout team work, Carmi went against the number one defense on Sunday and, according to Bielema, performed well after being sidelined for 10 days.
"He had no repercussions or anything that indicated he wouldn't be anything but full go," Bielema said. "He's going to line up the first snap and play as long as needed to be. Because he's gone through this injury before, he's had to deal with it and was able to respond a little bit better this time than he (did) a year ago."
Bill Nagy (wrist, ankle) and John Moffitt (pectoral muscle) are day-to-day coming back from their respective injuries. Bielema said if the two can't play on Saturday, they should be ready for next Saturday's game against Fresno State.
"They have put themselves in as good of position as they can, it's just a matter of how well their body responds to what they are doing," Bielema said. "They are both in full gear and doing certain things with the trainers, they just haven't gone live against our defense."
When the two do play, Bielema doesn't expect to limit them in any way in terms of the number of snaps they receive. The big key will be how the two respond on Sunday in terms of how his body reacts.
If Moffitt and Nagy can't go, expect freshman Travis Frederick to start at center, where he worked with the No. 1 line for most of preseason camp, and sophomore Kevin Zeitler, who played in three games last season and started at the spot throughout camp, to start at right guard.
Other Walking Wounded
Brendan Kelly (groin) is off crutches and the medical staff has limited the amount of swelling in the area. He is also day-to-day for this weekend, but is expected to play next weekend.
"He got an extensive pool work out on Saturday and Sunday came in sore because he hasn't done a lot in 12 days. This week, we'll continue to progress him.
Jake Byrne returned on Sunday after missing two weeks and should be 100 percent by Saturday.
Extra Points: Three freshmen should see action on offense in the opener. They are: wide receiver Kraig Appleton, tailback Montee Ball and Frederick. On defense, linebacker Chris Borland and strong safety Josh Peprah should see action ... Bielema had no update on the indefinite suspension of fifth-year seniors Shane Carter and Aubrey Pleasant. Bielema originally stated the two would be suspended through fall camp