Badgers lineman Michael Deiter set to make program-record 52nd start
From left guard to center to left tackle and back to left guard again, Michael Deiter’s role on the University of Wisconsin’s offensive line never remained constant throughout the past four years.
What did stay the same is that Deiter — at one position or another — lined up as part of that unit every week since the Badgers opened Deiter’s redshirt freshman season in 2015 against Alabama.
The fifth-year senior is set to break a program record with his 52nd start this week at Purdue, passing the 51 started by former UW cornerback Sojourn Shelton.
“I’m just glad I was able to play a bunch of football with my friends, and that’s kind of how I always viewed it,” Deiter said. “I never wanted to not be a part of it. I guess I just took that every week and we ended up here 52 starts later. I’m just thankful that I haven’t had to deal with a ton of injuries or anything like that, or even something that kept me out for a week. I’ve been able to consistently go, and I would say I’m pretty lucky there.”
Deiter’s also a bit fortunate to be with the Badgers this season. Former UW coach Gary Andersen and his staff considered pulling Deiter’s redshirt in 2014 heading into that year’s Big Ten Championship game as starting center Dan Voltz battled ankle injuries.
Deiter said he still thinks back on that situation, which could have led to the alternate timeline of his eligibility running out after the 2017 season if he had ultimately taken snaps in what ended as a 59-0 blowout loss to Ohio State in 2014.
“If I just would have played a few snaps in any of those games, this season would have never happened,” Deiter said. “I’m definitely glad that didn’t happen.”
Deiter’s versatility stands out. It’s rare to find linemen at this level who can play all three positions well.
He willingly moved out to left tackle, by far his least natural position, for the entirety of last season when the Badgers were struggling to find depth at that spot and went on to earn All-American honors. Deiter opted to wait on the NFL and returned for 2018 to further show those at the next level what he’s capable of at guard.
“The number of things that he’s been asked to do or volunteered or wanted to do for this team, it speaks volumes on how much he cares about this team,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. “To do that is one thing. To do it well is a whole other.
“Just what that record speaks on is a lot of the really good things that are hard. You’re good enough to start that many games. You’re durable enough to start that many games and to be able to play with the number of different guys that he’s played with, and each one of those groups, they’ve enjoyed playing with him. That speaks highly of a person, when they truly love and respect who that person is as a teammate. ... There’s been a lot of really good football players come through this program. When you can set yourself apart at the top of any list, that’s something to be proud of.”
Hornibrook remains questionable
UW starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook (concussion) remained questionable on the Badgers’ injury report Monday after the junior missed last week’s game at Penn State.
Hornibrook suffered the injury against Rutgers on Nov. 3, his second concussion over a three-game stretch.
Right tackle David Edwards (left arm) and running back Taiwan Deal (right leg) are also listed as questionable for Saturday’s game at Purdue, along with cornerback Travian Blaylock (right leg) and fullback Mason Stokke (left leg).
Coan redshirt plan unchanged
UW no longer holds a chance of winning the Big Ten West, but that won’t change how the Badgers approach quarterback Jack Coan’s playing time over their final two regular-season games.
A new NCAA rule allows players to see action in four games or fewer and still redshirt. Coan played in UW’s previous three games, and if Hornibrook’s unable to return this week at Purdue and next week against Minnesota, Coan could lose a year of eligibility after entering the year with a plan to redshirt.
Chryst indicated that he’s not planning on saving Coan’s redshirt by playing third-string quarterback Danny Vanden Boom.
“You try to maximize each and every opportunity that you get,” Chryst said. “It wouldn’t be right of us as coaches to, there’s a lot of people that have invested in this year, and you want to do all that you can to give our team the best chance.”
UW-Minnesota kickoff time announced
UW’s regular-season finale against Minnesota will kick off at 2:30 p.m. from Camp Randall Stadium on Nov. 24, the Badgers announced Monday.
The programs have faced each other more times (127) than any other FBS rivalry. UW holds a 14-game winning streak over the Golden Gophers heading into next week’s match-up.