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July 31, 2013

Fall Camp: 5 position battles

With fall camp scheduled to open Friday, BadgerBlitz.com compiled three pieces to prep Wisconsin fans. The first installment: Five position battles to watch during camp.

For a closer look, view the Badgers' projected depth chart.

Joel Stave Tanner McEvoy and Curt Phillips Edge: Stave
Gary Andersen noted the quarterback competition will be a three-man battle between Stave, McEvoy and Phillips. "It will be a three-man race. I have no timeline on it," Andersen said at the Big Ten Media Days. "We may jog out there the first play of the game with two quarterbacks on the field and see what happens from there." However, most expect Stave and McEvoy, both of whom have sophomore eligibility, to be the frontrunners. "On tape McEvoy is exactly what I said -- he can beat you with his arm, his mind and his legs. He proved that in junior college football," Andersen said.
Michael Trotter Jeffrey Lewis, among others Edge: Trotter
With Reggie Mitchell's transfer and Donnell Vercher not being admitted into Wisconsin, Dave Aranda has a huge hole to fill at safety alongside Dezmen Southward. And in reality, this battle will include Leo Musso, T.J. Reynard and Michael Caputo, among many others, in addition to Trotter and Lewis. "It's important for Dez to have the right guy playing with him," Andersen said. "For Dez to be a great player, he needs some support back there so he can be a nickel sometimes, so he can blitz sometimes and not just have to sit in the post all season."
Left Guard
Zac Matthias Dallas Lewallen Edge: Lewallen
The offensive line isn't completely locked in, but Ryan Groy (left tackle), Dan Voltz (center), Kyle Costigan (right guard) and Rob Havenstein (right tackle) are penciled in as starters. That leaves Lewallen, Matthias, and even Ray Ball, to fight for the job at left guard. Lewallen probably holds a slight edge after spring camp, but he needs to stay healthy, something he's battled with since arriving on campus. Matthias, a senior with starting experience, should give him a strong push in his final season.
Outside Linebacker
Joe Schobert Vince Biegel Edge: Biegel
Biegel is the high school All-American while Schobert is the in-state walk-on. And while Biegel probably holds a slight edge, Aranda had some very positive things to say about him this spring. "The one guy that really sticks out is Joe Schobert," Aranda said. "Joe has really been performing well, making plays when it counts. Whether he's isolated in coverage or setting the edge on defense -- rushing the passer -- he has great ability for coming up with a big play." Senior Nick Hill will also be heavily involved at outside linebacker.
No. 2 Wide Receiver
Jordan Fredrick The Field Edge: Fredrick
As was the situation in 2012, the coaching staff is looking for someone to be a consistent thread opposite Jared Abbrederis. Frederick emerged as the next best option as the season progressed, but first-year coach Chris Beatty has to get more production at the position this fall. Will it come from veterans Kenzel Doe, Chase Hammond and Jeff Duckworth, or will a youngster like A.J. Jordan, Robert Wheelwright and Reggie Love seize the opportunity?

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