MADISON, Wisconsin (WKOW) – The Badger football team is undergoing a lot of changes this offseason. An entire new team of coaches marks the biggest changes. But those coaches are also switching up the Badgers defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4. That puts the spotlight on one player in particular.
Fifth-year senior Dezmen Southward is getting his chance to really show his stuff this spring. He's blossomed into a pillar for the Badgers' defense and is being asked to do different things. Southward has the chance to become a true impact player.
"I'm playing nickel more," says Southward. "I'm doing a lot more man-to-man covering and blitzing more. I'm just all over the field and I love it."
In just the last two practices, coaches have started to create plays to capitalize on Southward's versatility.
"Dez is a big guy that runs like a little guy," says UW Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda. "There's a whole lot you can do with him in terms of covering slow receivers in terms of blitzing and playing in the post."
It's not just the coaches who have started to created plays to capitalize on his versatility.
"Dez is probably the best athlete on the team," says linebacker Chris Borland. "He's big enough to play linebacker and fast enough to play corner. He can do almost anything on the field."
Southward entered this spring as the secondary's most accomplished player and the Badgers are counting on him to be a disruptive force this upcoming season.