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    Friday, December 19, 2008

    Breaking Down The Badgers: Linebackers

    Wisconsin's linebackers are ranked first, second and third, respectively, on their team in tackles. Leading the Badgers in tackles is Jaevery McFadden who finished the season with 79 tackles. McFadden also has 2 1/2 tackles for a loss and 1 fumble recovery.

    Growing up in Riviera Beach, Florida, McFadden was a big Hurricanes fan and is eager to face the Noles in the Champs Sports Bowl. Happily for him, he won't have to wear any protective gear on his right hand, which was broken in Week 3 at Fresno State. McFadden was forced to play with a club on his hand for the next four games. He played with a soft cast against Illinois and Michigan State and then used a sleeve for the final three games of the season.

    Although he is listed on the depth charts as the middle or Mike linebacker, head coach Bret Bielema says that "Jaevery's best position might be the 'Will" or the weak-side position.

    McFadden and backup Culmer St. Jean split time in the regular-season finale against Cal Poly's triple-option attack because defensive coordinator Dave Doeren wanted to ensure he had a fresh defender in the middle.They liked what they saw from St. Jean, a sophomore. So with senior weak-side linebacker Jonathan Casillas given the day off at last Friday's practice, the No. 1 trio of linebackers featured St. Jean in the middle, McFadden on the weak side and senior DeAndre Levy on the strong side.

    Badger head coach Bret Bielema has suggested that the trio could see action in the bowl game, because the staff realizes McFadden and St. Jean could form two-thirds of the starting unit in 2009.

    DeAndre Levy at the Sam or strong side linebacker is second on the team in tackles with 65 and 7 1/2 tackles for a loss. He also has one interception and two fumble recoveries. Jonathan Casillas at Will or weak side linebacker is third on the team with 62 tackles and 6 tackles for a loss. He also has one 49 yard interception.

    Strong-side linebacker DeAndre Levy and McFadden have become symbolic of faster, more athletic linebackers that the Badgers have evolved to under Badger head coach Bret Bielema. Casillas is generally regarded as the fastest player on the team. He has made a name for himself saving touchdowns by chasing down players from behind.

    Wisconsin Linebacker Depth Chart:

    Sam Linebacker
    11 DeAndre Levy, 6-3, 228, Sr.
    42 Erik Prather, 6-3, 227, Jr.

    Mike Linebacker
    47 Jaevery McFadden, 6-3, 220, Jr.
    15 Culmer St. Jean, 6-1, 228, So.

    Will Linebacker
    2 Jonathan Casillas, 6-2, 226, Sr.
    27 Blake Sorensen, 6-1, 217, So.

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