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Devin Smith injury hampers Wisconsin secondary
The Wisconsin Badgers received some bad news when it was determined that the injury to Devin Smith has ended his season. Smith is one of the anchors to a pretty efficient defense in Wisconsin and losing him could be a big thing for the team to try and overcome.
According to ESPN, Smith suffered an injury to his left foot late in the first quarter of Wisconsin's game on Saturday, Sept. 10. It was later determined that he would have to have surgery on the foot, and he underwent it on Monday afternoon.
The prognosis is that he will miss the remainder of the season and that he has no shot at a return to the active roster. Pretty much making that official, Badgers head coach Bret Bielema has already stated that Smith will use his redshirt for this season. This opens the door for a full (and healthy) return for the 2012 season. That would be a chance for him to play as a fifth-year senior, and it would certainly help the secondary for another year.
Smith had been the starter in 2009, nailing down one half of the field for all 13 games. In 2010, though, he was moved into a reserve role on a deeper team but regained his starting job in 2011. During that 2009 campaign, he posted 55 tackles and 11 passes defended, showing he was up to the job.
Now Wisconsin will lean heavily on junior Marcus Cromartie for the rest of the year, but early reviews show this guy can get the job done. He certainly didn't give up any touchdowns in the 35-0 win for Wisconsin over Oregon State this past week and would appear to be up to the task. He might not be the ideal kid to have at the corner position for the rest of the season, but it also doesn't appear like this injury will cost the Badgers dearly.
Wisconsin takes on Northern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 17, and the Huskies will probably try to target Cromartie early on. If the defensive line of the Badgers even allows enough time for the Huskies quarterback to set for a deep pass, there is already a pretty strong core of safeties ready to back up Cromartie. While it might be disheartening to lose a senior for the rest of the season, this is still going to be a Badgers team contending not just for a Big Ten Conference title, but for an invite to the BCS Championship Game.
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