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Best, worst case scenarios for Badgers cornerbacks in 2019

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We are almost there folks — the start of Wisconsin Badgers fall camp is right around the corner and that means some answers to big questions will come sooner than later.

But, it’s still preseason and predictions time across the college football landscape. We’re not immune to that here at talkingBadgers, but we are doing it up a bit different.

Previous Positions:Running Back | Defensive Line | Wide Receiver | Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker | Quarterback

We’re going to look at each position group and give you the best and worst case scenarios at play.

Up today is a look at perhaps the position with the least answers heading in to fall camp — cornerback.

Best Case Scenario:

Eney, meeny, miny, mo…that’s what it seemed like for the Badgers cornerbacks last season and much of this offseason. Thanks to injury, youth, inexperience or any combination of the bunch, last season was a crapshoot at cornerback.

The hope for this season is that of the six players who saw double digit appearances in 2018, three or four of them emerge as reliable options.

Rachad Wildgoose, Madison Cone and Faion Hicks were considered the top options coming out of spring ball, but that was far from set in stone. So, the best case scenario is that each of those three players grew even more between spring and fall camp.

Having anyone become a consistent option is ideal, because last season the Badgers normally aggressive defense was anything but that as they tried to protect a youthful secondary.

If anyone progresses as a reliable option, the Badgers may be able to open up the playbook and be more aggressive once again. So, in my best case scenario, I see Wildgoose, Hicks and Deron Harrell emerge as the best options from this group and they become good one-on-one cover guys that allow this defense to be more diverse in how they line up.

Worst Case Scenario:

No doubt about it, the worst case scenario is that the experience gained from a young secondary last season isn’t capitalized on. Questions abound about where the top six guys really fit in heading in to fall camp, and if none of them emerge as better and more consistent than they were last season, that’s a major problem.

It’s also an opportunity for guys like freshman Donte Burton, who showed flashes in playing four games last season, but if UW has to have Burton playing huge numbers of snaps every week this season, it feels like there were some big time misses along the way.

The Badgers secondary proved they had some talent, it’s about putting it all together now. My fear is that somehow they don’t put it together and that hinders the rest of the defense.

UW is in a much more pass-happy division than they were in just a few year ago. Minnesota, Nebraska and Purdue would love to open up the game through the air and if the Badgers aren’t capable of stopping that attack in 2019 it could be a long season in Madison.

Most Likely to Happen:

While the fears are real about this secondary, I saw a lot to like about this group as they were largely thrown to the wolves last year. There’s talent and Jim Leonhard can mold that talent.

Look for Wildgoose, Hicks and Harrell to be the keys to success. All three showed moxie last year, even if they didn’t have every big of knowledge or technique down.

I’ll be really interested to see the role that Madison Cone plays, as he is likely to start out at nickel back. If I’m right, there are four very capable options and they will rise to the occasion.

There should be a “wait and see” attitude towards this group, but you should be more optimistic than pessimistic about the future at cornerback.

Look for more aggressive coverages and more opportunities for interceptions. Wisconsin racked up 14 interceptions as a team in 2018, with six of them coming from the secondary and four coming from that youthful group of cornerbacks.

They have the ability to be game-changers in 2019 and I see that as more likely than not being how they are remembered for this season.

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Cephus says he wants to return to Badgers football

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Earlier on Monday we got word from the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the status of Quintez Cephus, the student. He was to have his expulsion reversed after the evidence from his acquittal was brought forth to the university.

The only question left was if he would want to return to the university and the Wisconsin Badgers football team.

During a press conference on Monday afternoon, the speculation was put to an end. Quintez Cephus wants to return to the university and the football team.

During his press conference, Cephus mentioned how he wanted to stay at Wisconsin largely because of the support he got from his teammates and the entire staff of the UW football program.

He also mentioned that he had yet to speak with head coach Paul Chryst face-to-face after this decision was announced, but he would be doing so later in the day on Monday.

Many will also wonder if he’s ready physically and mentally to get back on the football field this season. Well, Cephus has been working out in Arizona for three months straight in anticipation of coming back on the field.

Judging by the video he’s put out, he’s certainly in some good physical condition.

Of course, only time will tell how quickly any and all of this will happen for Cephus and the Badgers. But, Cephus is very clearly focused on not wasting this opportunity and doing things at a very high level.

There are likely a few NCAA hurdles to officially jump through, but I’m also guessing the paperwork was just waiting to be put in motion once the university reinstated him and he gave the go-ahead.

Either way, he will be a welcome sight for an already strong group of wide receivers.

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UW reinstates Quintez Cephus

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A week after Quintez Cephus, his teammates and his attorneys went in front of the cameras to implore the University of Wisconsin-Madison to allow Cephus back in to school, we now have word on his status.

On Monday morning, it was revealed that Cephus was reinstated to the university. UW sent out the following tweet regarding the matter:

In the statement announcing their decision, the university noted that they had received information that wasn’t available during their initial Title IX investigation.

“UW–Madison obtained information following the criminal proceeding that was not provided to the university during the student conduct process, ” said the statement. “Chancellor Rebecca Blank conducted a review of this information and the petition for Quintez Cephus’ reinstatement as quickly as possible and in a complete and impartial manner.

“As a result of this review, sanctions for Quintez Cephus have been reduced and his expulsion lifted. There were findings of responsibility of the student non-academic misconduct code that were upheld.”

Chancellor Rebecca Blank had the following to say about the situation.

“All three of the primary participants in this case are our students, and I know the past year has been painful for everyone involved,” said Blank. “My decision is based on the availability of substantial new information that wasn’t made available to us during the earlier process. I recognize that some will disagree with this decision.”

“To those in our community who have experienced sexual assault, I sincerely hope that there is nothing in this case that will deter you from coming forward for support,” she added. “Our university continues to be prepared to listen and respond.”

Cephus had his expulsion lifted, but did not have all sanctions removed from his record. According to the statement, the findings of responsibility of the student non-academic misconduct code that were upheld.

With this reinstatement, Cephus has a decision in front of him. He is free to return to the university and the football team has made it clear they will welcome him back with open arms.

But, does he want to return to UW at all? All indications are that he does want to come back to school, but getting his expulsion lifted would allow him to move on from the university if he so chose.

We will have to wait for more information from the program once everyone has had a chance to make their decisions known.

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Joe Thomas makes CBS Sports All-time All-American list

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College football celebrates is 150th season in 2019 and that necessitates a look back at the history of the sport. That’s exactly what CBS Sports decided to do and they came up with a long list of the best players in college football history.

Given the fact that the Wisconsin Badgers went through long stretches of horrific play and few years of good work prior to 1990, seeing a Badgers name on the list was a long shot.

But, one Badger did make the list and that was famed left tackle Joe Thomas.

He was named to the honorable mention All-Time All-American offensive line category. Center was broken out in to a different group all together as well.

While at Wisconsin, Thomas became the first Badger to win the Outland Trophy, which is given to the nation’s best interior lineman. He also was named to the 2006 first team All-American list and started 39 games in his four years in Madison.

He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame after an 11-year career in which he made the Pro Bowl in 10 straight seasons.

Joining him on CBS Sports honorable mention offensive lineman list were Maurkice Pouncey (Florida), Lincoln Kennedy (Washington), John Hicks (Ohio State), Aaron Taylor (Nebraska) and Jake Long (Michigan).

Making the first team list were Orlando Pace (Ohio State), Jonathan Ogden (UCLA), John Hannah (Alabama) and Ron Yary (USC).

On the second team were Anthony Munoz (USC), Bryant McKinnie (Miami), Will Shields (Nebraska) and Tony Boselli (USC).

Those are all some amazing names and gives us all a great reminder of just how great college football has been over the years to be sure.

Thomas is the only Badgers player to make the list, yes including all-time greats like Ron Dayne and Alan Ameche, let alone perhaps the most famous player of the formative years of college football — Pat O’Dea.

Yes, he doesn’t fit neatly in to the mold of a modern college football player, but this was supposed to be a list of the best players to ever grace the field in the history of the game.

It’s very hard to argue that O’Dea wasn’t exactly that in his era. He was a two time All-American in 1898 and 1899 as a punter and a fullback.

If CBS Sports was serious about honoring the entirety of college football, having O’Dea on the list would be a good place to start.

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Badgers unveil throwback unis for Northwestern game

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College football is celebrating its 150th year in 2019 and the Wisconsin Badgers have been playing the game since the 1889 season.

In order to honor some of the history of the game and the program, the Badgers will put on throwback (and I use that term loosely) uniforms according to a video released by the football program on Tuesday afternoon.

It appears that UW is looking back to the days where a simple UW adorned the front of the sweaters, as they were called at the time, in that 1889 season.

Today, regulations say that all teams must include numbers on the front and back of the jersey and thus the conundrum the Badgers find themselves in here.

Interestingly, the helmets will feature a first-time logo with the ‘UW’ having never appeared together in any helmet in Badgers history. Given the fact that back in 1889 there was no such thing as a helmet in the game of football it was an interesting call.

The helmets will also feature just a thin Cardinal stripe down the center and gray face masks.

Personally, I have to say I’m not a fan of cramming the ‘UW’ on to the front of the jersey and it would’ve been interesting to see them go back to the Bucky Badger helmet or something else.

It just looks too congested on the front of the jersey, but I do like the idea of the black shoes, khaki colored pants and the red jersey overall. It does harken back to that era in as much as is possible in today’s modern game.

However, the players were certainly excited for a different-than-normal look to the Badgers uniforms.

The logo on the side of the khaki colored pants is also the one that the athletic department used from 1962 to 1965 according to research.

Wisconsin will take on Northwestern in the Sept. 28 game that will feature these jerseys inside Camp Randall. Northwestern will also have a similar look as part of what Under Armour is calling its Second Heritage line.

What do you think of this ‘throwback’ look? Hit up the comments below or follow on Twitter @talkingBadgers.

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