By TOM LEA
PRAIRIE DU SAC – Though the calendar currently reads June, and knowing full well that plenty of things can and will change in the weeks leading into August’s fall camp, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema spoke incredibly high of incoming freshman linebacker recruit Vince Biegel.
Though that position is probably the most stacked of any positional unit on the defensive side of the ball, Bielema made it seem like Biegel, the reigning Wisconsin prep player of the year, has a legitimate chance at earning playing time during his first season in Madison.
“I think Vince has got a chance,” Bielema, speaking at the Bret Bielema shootout at Lake Wisconsin Country Club said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve got two outstanding linebackers, but the rest is kind of up for grabs.”
Ethan Armstrong, who underwent hip surgery midway through the 2011 season, has made significant progress in his recovery and is looking ‘really good’ according to Bielema. If he’s healthy there’s a strong chance he can secure the starting strong side linebacker position.
If there is any sort of setback, however, or if Biegel simply performs at a high enough level throughout summer conditioning, there’s a likelihood that he could position himself as a guy that could contend for a significant playing role.
“I think Vince really made a huge impression on coach Herbert and his staff in the weight room and what he can physically do,” Bielema said. “He’s just so much more physically advanced than Mike Taylor and Chris Borland ever thought about. They’ll never want to say that, but it’s true. We’ve just got to be able to coach him up and get him in the right position.”
Bielema even likened Biegel’s passion for the game and drive to that of Borland an former defensive standout J.J. Watt.
“He’s a guy that has a lot of ability,” Bielema said. “But he’s always unsatisfied with all he does. It’s kind of the J.J. Watt mode. He’s one of those guys that has a high end motor in conjunction with high end talent.”
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