Wisconsin’s defense will look much different in 2018

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Wisconsin will play its final game of the season on Saturday, and it’ll do so with one of the best defenses in the country. The Badgers lead the nation in yards allowed per game, and are third in yards allowed per play and scoring defense. It’s been a remarkable run and one that fans should savor. Because when Wisconsin takes the field against Western Kentucky next August there are going to be quite a few unfamiliar faces on that side of the ball.

The Badgers are slated to lose at least six starters — DE Alec James, DE Conor Sheehy, OLB Garret Dooley, OLB Leon Jacobs, CB Derrick Tindal and S Natrell Jamerson — and as many as eight depending on whether ILB T.J. Edwards and CB Nick Nelson forego their seniors seasons and enter the draft.

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Filling the massive holes left behind will be the job of defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard and his assistants. How might it look? Leonhard offered up what amounted to a position-by-position look Thursday morning in South Florida where the Badgers are gearing up to take on Miami in the Orange Bowl.

Here’s what he had to say:

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