Star tailback Melvin Gordon is still on the run at Wisconsin, but new leaders must emerge on defense in 2014.
Coach Gary Andersen's team lost eight defensive starters from a squad that finished 9-4 last year. The most notable loss was star linebacker Chris Borland, who is now with the San Francisco 49ers.
But what helps the returnees is that Andersen rotated a lot of players in and out of the lineup, so there is some experience. The goal this year is to be faster and more athletic, in part to help keep up with trendy spread offenses.
The Badgers are also still sorting through a quarterback competition. Andersen needs to decide between incumbent Joel Stave and dual-threat challenger Tanner McEvoy by the Aug. 30 opener against LSU.