ILBs Ready to Step Up After Cichy Injury - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

ILBs Ready to Step Up After Cichy Injury

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MADISON (WKOW) -

It's tough enough for Wisconsin to replace play makers after they graduate, but the Badgers are also no stranger to replacing because of injury - especially at linebacker.  A few guys from the inside unit say they know they need to step up after losing senior ILB Jack Cichy.  The defense was dealt the blow last week that Cichy would miss the entire 2017 football season because of a torn ACL.

[Injuries] happen a lot in football and guys go down, and we've been just fine," said junior ILB T.J. Edwards after practice on Thursday.  "He's a huge leader on our team but we won't miss a beat and Jack wouldn't want us to miss a beat or anything like that. So I don't think there's going to be any problem with guys stepping up."

"Everybody just has to play a little bigger," said sophomore ILB Chris Orr.  "Everybody has to step up a little more.  I personally try to challenge myself, T.J. and [junior ILB] Ryan [Connelly] just to fill that leadership role on the field.  Jack was a vocal guy and he's still going to be a leader from the sideline, booth, or whatever the case may be.  But you know it's a little different missing a guy out there.

Orr also tore his ACL last year.  He says the fact that the unit has gone through replacing guys because of injury repeatedly is actually a good thing - because they know how to overcome the situation.  The ILBs say they haven't been told who will fill in for Cichy or how they will rotate to keep fresh.

Connelly was asked if the 3-4 defensive scheme that former defensive coordinators Dave Aranda and Justin Wilcox ran could be kept up - despite the injuries -  under first-year D.C. Jim Leonhard.  "I could really see anything happening to be honest with you," said Connelly.  "Injuries happen and unfortunately that's kind of the thing we've become used to here the last couple years.  But yeah, I could see a fourth guy playing."

As for the walk-on-turned-Captain, Cichy said in a statement on social media that he doesn't quite know yet what's in store for his future, but he says he's not done with football just yet.

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