In what has already been a season replete with adversity, the Wisconsin defense was dealt yet another unfortunate blow Thursday after it was announced senior nose tackle Olive Sagapolu will miss the remainder of the 2018 season because of an arm injury requiring surgery. The senior has played his final snap as a Badger.
The Wisconsin State Journal covered responses from the Badger coaches as they offered their sympathies to Sagapolu today.
“He’s been great how he’s handling it, but you feel bad for him — any time guys miss games, but particularly seniors,” Head Coach Paul Chryst said. “He was playing really good, and he’s done that for a long time. He played as a true freshman, and he got understandably overshadowed with Conor (Sheehy) and Chikwe (Obasih) and Alec (James). He was playing really well this year.”
Sagapolu suffered the injury at Northwestern Oct. 27. The Badgers had hoped for a quick recovery and return this season, but with the decision to undergo surgery Wednesday, Sagapolu’s Badger career has come to an unfortunate end, and the team must now move on.
Sagapolu will be replaced by true freshman Bryson Williams, who made his first career start last week in Wisconsin’s 31-17 victory over Rutgers.
“We’ve loved the way he’s progressed throughout the season,” UW defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard said of Williams. “Just with his understanding of the scheme, and then just gaining confidence and learning what I can and can’t do as a player at this level as a true freshman.”
Williams will plug a crucial hole at nose tackle for the remainder of the Badgers’ season, as Wisconsin ranks 62nd in the nation in total rushing defense heading into the final three games of the season.
Sagapolu appeared in eight games this season and recorded 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.