Borland ready to go for Badgers vs. Sun DevilsWisconsin linebacker Chris Borland says he’s eager to return on Saturday against Arizona State.
Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland says he’s eager to return on Saturday against Arizona State.
Borland sat out last week’s victory over San Jose State, after he aggravated a previous shoulder injury in the Badgers’ opener at Nevada-Las Vegas almost two weeks ago. Borland has received clearance from the Badgers’ medical staff to return – and he said he never doubted he’d be back for this weekend. It will give Wisconsin its four top linebackers for the first time all season. The others are Mike Taylor, Blake Sorenson, and Culmer Saint Jean.
Meanwhile, back-up defensive end David Gilbert is still not cleared to return after suffering a concussion while covering a kickoff last week. He was limited at practice yesterday, and he has another exam set for today.
Wisconsin is doing a better job of covering kickoffs this season – and that ability will be tested on Saturday when the Badgers host Arizona State. The Sun Devils are 21st in the nation with an average kickoff return of 26 yards. Le Quan Lewis is ASU’s top returner, averaging 35-and-a-half yards. The Badgers’ Philip Welch has improved his kickoffs from a year. He’s averaging almost 68 yards per kick, up from 65-and-a-half a year ago. And his hang time has improved to around four-point-one seconds, up from three-point-eight last season. Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge says many college kickers only get hang times of three-point-eight or less, so Welch’s kickoffs are excellent. As a result, Wisconsin’s opponents are averaging just over 20 yards per kick return. That’s better than a year ago, when the average was almost 26-and-a-half.