Badgers Need Rafael Gaglianone to be Right
Big news out of Wisconsin training camp yesterday was the Badgers gave kicker Rafael Gaglianone a few days off from kicking to help him recover from a a back issue. This is a troubling sign for the Badgers. Gaglianone is one of their best kickers in Badgers history, and a vital part to this team’s success in 2018. Wisconsin needs him to be okay, and if not, they’re going to have to rely on two kickers that have never kicked a field goal in a college football game. That’s a scary thought. Let’s hope Gaglianone’s back can be fixed.
The reason why there’s a little cause for concern in Madison today is Gaglianone missed almost all of 2016 with a back injury. Andrew Endicott stepped into his role and did okay despite some heartburn moments like the overtime thriller versus Nebraska. When you start hearing about chronic back problems for any athlete, it’s never a good sign. There is some good news here if we’re looking at this from the glass half full perspective that I usually like to live my life.
Number one, it’s August 10th. Wisconsin doesn’t play for 21 more days meaning Gaglianone has some legitimate time to get treatment and start working back to full strength. Number two is the Badgers do not really need him for the first two games of the season. Western Kentucky and New Mexico are decent teams, no pushovers, but they could afford to go without Fat Rafa if it were serious. Finally, it gives the young guys some experience with the number one unit and getting to kick field goals for the team. It doesn’t always translate to games, but it’s a good way to get their confidence up.
If people are wondering why this is an issue, ask yourself who do you want kicking a game-tying or game-winning field goal for Wisconsin in October? Fat Rafa or a freshman?