By TOM LEA
MADISON – There is no set plan to get James White on the field during Wisconsin’s 2012 season set to begin Sept. 1 inside Camp Randall Stadium. That’s not because he’s not worthy — not by any means — it’s simply going to depend on what happens within the course of a give game.
The same question could be asked about Melvin Gordon? How do you plan on getting him involved? And at what expense will James White’s playing time suffer?
“I think it’s more of a ratio,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “It depends on how games flow. Last year used to be the flip side of it. When we tried to get Montee in the game it was a certain amount of series unless we had a long series.
“We’ll kind of establish that Sunday.”
There are four legitimate running backs that could see playing time at just about any school throughout the Big Ten. And a fifth, Vonte Jackson, who may wind up redshirting, but could play special teams if his knee was entirely healthy.
Running backs coach Thomas Hammock said it’s a goal to get White out in space simply because that’s where he’s more dangerous. As the former Big Ten freshman of the year in 2010, also a 1,000-plus-yard rusher, White is just too talented to stay on the sideline.
“There are plays that you’ll see James and Montee in there and different scenarios when you see fullbacks and tight ends. We’ll put our best personnel on the field. There isn’t any doubt about that.”
Some of that has to do with the development of the wide receiver position on the offensive side of the ball. Currently there’s Jared Abbrederis and redshirt freshman Jordan Fredrick separating themselves as the top two receivers on the roster. Beside those two — and Fredrick has yet to step foot on the field, too — there isn’t much experience outside of Jeff Duckworth.
If that position doesn’t progress like the coaches hope, it could and probably would lead to more playing time for White.
“If we’ve only got a couple wide receivers we feel good about then you may see a lot of fullbacks and tight ends,” Bielema said. “There is one thing in my mind that I know our players understand.
“WE will put our best players on the field.”
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