Earlier this summer, Michael Bennett was contemplating missing the Badgers' first five games -- a decision that, under normal circumstances, would be preposterous.
It turns out he had a pretty good excuse.
The 22-year-old tailback has one of the Big Ten's most impressive athletic resumes, but not in football. Bennett, the 2000 Big Ten Track Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in the 100-meter dash and was planning to go to the Sydney Games if the opportunity arised.
However, Barry Alvarez & Co. breathed a collective sigh of relief in July, when Bennett announced he would eschew his Olympic hopes and stick to football. He said he wasn't allowed to get into a comfortable track preparation schedule due to offseason football conditioning and summer school.
"Football is not going to [wait] just for me," Bennett said.
Despite rushing for only 298 yards in 1999, Bennett is Wisconsin's primary hope to fill the void left by Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. At 204 pounds -- 54 pounds lighter than Dayne -- Bennett's blazing speed should add a different dimension to the Badger backfield in the fall.
-- Luke Winn