The Wisconsin Badgers and LSU Tigers will open the 2016 college football season Saturday afternoon at Lambeau Field.
The number one defensive issue for the Badger defense is LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette broke more tackles than any running back in all of college football last season.
While the Wisconsin secondary will have to provide run support on Fournette and the Tigers ground game, they have an issue of their own.
The starting Wisconsin secondary stands 5’10, 5’10, 5’9 and 5’11. Cornerback Sojourn Shelton is a veteran in the Badger secondary, having started 37 games. But he stands 5’9 and weights 168 pounds.
The LSU top four wide receivers average 6’3 1/2 and more than 200 pounds (203). Six of the nine Tiger scholarship receivers are 6’3 or taller.
Shelton said they face tall receivers every week in the Big Ten. Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox knows his guys will be challenged, but there’s no extra concern.
Wisconsin’s first-year secondary coach Jim Leonard is a perfect example of what you can get accomplished with a height shortage. He’s 5’8, yet was a three-time All-American safety at Wisconsin and has 21 career interceptions, which is fourth on the Big Ten’s all-time list. He also went on to have a healthy career in the NFL.
It didn’t take long for opponents to forget about Leonard’s lack of height. The Badgers defensive backs are hoping to earn that respect with their performance on the field this Saturday as well.