Madison – Seeing Wisconsin linebacker Vince Biegel working on pass-rush moves and dropping into coverage Saturday before UW’s game against No. 2 Ohio State suggested the fifth-year senior might be close to returning to the lineup.
Biegel, who has missed two games since undergoing foot surgery on Sept. 29, has been upgraded to questionable this week for Iowa.
“As far as chances,” head coach Paul Chryst said Monday, “we’ll see how the week goes.”
Redshirt junior Garret Dooley and redshirt freshman Zack Baun have combined to fill in for Biegel, who recorded two tackles for loss and nine total tackles through four games.
Transcript: UW football chat with Jeff Potrykus
Dooley has 17 tackles in six games, including a sack. Baun has 14 tackles, including 3½ for loss, in six games.
“Just knowing the type of competitor and person that Vince is,” senior cornerback Sojourn Shelton said, “whenever he gets his chance to get on the field I know he will be 100 mph and juiced up. That is the way he always is.
“That is our leader of this defense. I would want to say the heart of this team. He is a guy that is…”
A little crazy?
“Yea,” Shelton said, smiling. “But that’s Biegel, though. And you need a guy like that on your team. You need somebody that is just on another level.
“I can’t wait for him to get back out there. Dooley and Baun have been playing really well but Biegel … having him get a chance to get out there and get after some quarterbacks is going to be fun to see.”
Biegel has started 32 games and played in 46 at UW. He talked openly during the off-season about his desire to play against teams like Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State. Having to miss the Michigan and Ohio State games no doubt was difficult.
“Vince loves playing the game,” Chryst said. “He really, in all the right ways, cares about this team. And so that has been the sting for him.
"But once you go in a procedure and you’re making progress to me it is less anxious, and it is more looking forward to when he can go again. He has been taking good steps forward and we hope that continues.”
Inside linebacker Jack Cichy, who on Monday was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week after recording 11 solo tackles and 15 total tackles in the loss to Ohio State, was asked if he thought Biegel will be lobbying the training staff this week.
“I think we all know how Vince would approach that,” Cichy said, smiling. “Vince is going to have to take it one day at a time, like we take it as a team.
“But when he is ready he will be back and it will be exciting to unleash him again, whenever that is.”
Extra points: Biegel is one of seven players listed as questionable this week. The others are nose tackle Olive Sagapolu (arm), wide receiver Rob Wheelwright (leg), tailback Taiwan Deal (leg), offensive lineman Jon Dietzen (leg), Baun (leg) and safety Keelon Brookins (leg). Nickel cornerback Natrell Jamerson (fibula) remains out. ...
The winner of the UW-Iowa game has gone on to win the West Division in each of the first two seasons since Big Ten officials realigned the divisions.