Donovan questionable against UW-Stout
UW-Whitewater quarterback Jeff Donovan knows what Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is going through this season.
And not the part about replacing a legend.
Donovan, like Rodgers, is battling an injury to his throwing shoulder. The Warhawk quarterback suffered the injury late in the third quarter of Whitewater’s 40-10 victory over UW-Eau Claire last Saturday. Warhawk coach Lance Leipold lists Donovan as 50-50 for Saturday’s regular-season home finale against UW-Stout.
“Jeff practiced in full pads Tuesday,” Leipold said. “He had an X-ray. He’s going through rehab.”
Privacy rules prohibit Leipold from revealing the exact nature or extent of Donovan’s injury.
Sophomore backup and Milton High grad Bruce Langer will get the call if Donovan is unable to play.
“Bruce took the majority of reps in practice Tuesday,” Leipold said. “We have great confidence in him. We’re not drawing up a bunch of new stuff. (The playbook) will stay the same.
“Bruce has been in every meeting. He gets his reps. This is a great opportunity for him.”
Langer has appeared in five games this season, completing 6 of 10 passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
“(Bruce has) gotten in a few ball games. He’s a very intelligent young man. He picks things up different. There’s no sense of panic,” Leipold said.
“The players respect the depth we have in the program. We have to move forward. It’s a take-care-of-your-business type mentality.”
Beyond the quarterback situation, the fifth-ranked Warhawks (7-1 overall, 4-1 WIAC) know they can still at least share a conference title and earn a likely NCAA Division III playoff bid with victories Saturday against Stout (5-3, 3-2) and the following week at UW-Platteville.
Not only would a victory keep those goals in sight, it would allow the six seniors being honored at Perkins Field on Saturday to notch the 50th win of their college careers. Those six—linebackers Jace Rindahl and Keegan Brennan, offensive linemen Robert Gilbreath and Mike Sherman, tight end Nick Slupski and defensive lineman Mike Dufrane—have been part of a 49-4 run by the Warhawks, which includes three straight trips to the national title game and last year’s national championship.
“This group should be highly commended for what it’s given to the program,” Leipold said.
Two of the league’s top running backs will be on display for the second straight week. And both are freshmen.
The Warhawks’ Levell Coppage rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns against the Blugolds last week. That pushed him atop the WIAC leaderboard with 1,114 yards. He has also scored 18 touchdowns and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
Stout will counter with its own first-year phenom, Stanley-Boyd grad Craig Warminski. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder has cracked the 200-yard mark in each of Stout’s last two games, pushing his season total to 716 yards on just 112 carries. He ranks third in the WIAC in rushing.
Warminski had 207 yards against UW-La Crosse. That came a week after he torched River Falls for 250 yards.
“As an offense, when you look at them as a team, they’re in the top three or four (in the league) in everything,” Leipold said. “They’re very blue collar. The more you watch, the more you’re impressed with the path they’ve taken.”
Defensively, the Blue Devils feature one of the league’s top players. Defensive end Marcus Ball leads the WIAC with 11 sacks. He also has 21 tackles for a loss. Both totals lead the WIAC.
Leipold said his Warhawks are likely to see the Blue Devils at their best.
“They only have two losses (in the WIAC),” Leipold said. “They’re still within striking distance.”
What: UW-Stout (5-3 overall, 3-2 WIAC) at UW-Whitewater (7-1, 4-1).
Where: Perkins Field (12,000), Whitewater.
When: Noon Saturday.
TV/Radio: Charter Cable (Channel 20 on Janesville cable); WKCH (106.5 FM).