MADISON, Wis. — Corey Clement will take as many carries as he can get, even if he doesn’t need to carry the whole load at Wisconsin.
Clement is one of the two senior tailbacks atop the depth chart for the 10th-ranked Badgers. But with his breakaway speed, Clement is the key to the offense.
“Looking for more. Still hungry for carries,” Clement said two days was after he ran for 86 yards and a score on a career-high 21 carries in the 16-14 upset of LSU at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
“Felt like I still had a lot more in the tank as far as the game kept going,” Clement said.
What a difference a year makes for Clement, who got hurt the week of last season’s opener against Alabama. He suffered what turned out to be a sports hernia, and had surgery a few weeks later. He wasn’t really the same the rest of the year. In November, Clement was involved in a scrum at his apartment building, which led to a police citation for disorderly conduct.
Clement did finish 2015 with 66 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the 23-21 win over Southern California in the Holiday Bowl.
All through the offseason and preseason, Clement talked about getting a fresh start. Nothing like a rousing win over an SEC power to get his senior year going. The victory also gave the Badgers a lift into the AP Top 25 , matching its best season debut in the poll with a No. 10 ranking.
“It’s up to us to keep all the preparation, all the hard work going,” Clement said Monday at Camp Randall Stadium.
The Badgers’ offensive line sent another message with a solid job against LSU’s athletic defense. It was a step forward for a young front five that starts a new left tackle, junior college transfer Ryan Ramczyk, and four sophomores.
“I thought that guys played physical and what helped is that they were prepared,” coach Paul Chryst said.
One of the four, left guard Micah Kapoi, had a left leg injury that has left him questionable for the home opener on Saturday against Akron. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Jon Dietzen, but the line still held up relatively well.
They’re blocking for two seniors in Clement and backup Dare Ogunbowale, who ran for 44 yards on nine carries against LSU. Ogunbowale, a former defensive back, has turned into a team leader and solid all-around back.
“Dare, you trust him in any situation,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said Tuesday.
And maybe, just maybe, the Badgers might dust off a few plays that use both running backs in the backfield. The last time that they did that was two years ago, when they had Melvin Gordon and Clement.
“Whether Dare is lined up in the slot or I’m lined up in the slot, and somebody’s in the backfield — just to throw off the defense a little bit more,” Clement said.
Playing time isn’t up to him, though. The rotations are up to running back coach John Settle, though he won’t turn down any opportunity to take a carry.
“I’m hoping he looks forward to keep feeding me the rock,” Clement said.
Online: AP College Football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org/
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