Former U-D Jesuit star Scotty Nelson, Wisconsin ready to tackle Michigan after long layoff

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Saturday night can’t come soon enough for Wisconsin junior safety Scotty Nelson.

Nelson, who is from U-D Jesuit, and No. 13 Wisconsin haven’t played a game since the Badgers’ season opener, a dominating 45-7 win over Illinois on Oct. 23.

Games against Nebraska on Oct. 31 and against Purdue on Nov. 7 were canceled due to Wisconsin's COVID issues.

Scotty Nelson

And while Nelson has been free of COVID, the same can’t be said of some of his teammates as the Badgers get set to finally return to the field Saturday night to face Michigan at the Big House.

“It’s very frustrating; any time when you get to the point where you’re ready to go and the numbers aren’t on your side, you really can’t do anything about it since it’s in the hand of the university," Nelson told The Detroit News. "So you have to roll with the punches and try and stop the spreading as much as you can and keep everybody safe, and keep that mindset that you’re still in season and still have a game coming up.”

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Nelson is familiar with the Wolverines since he has had time to follow them on television.

“I’ve been watching games since I’m a big college football fan, obviously,” said Nelson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in last year’s opener.

“I’ve been trying to get to know teams, watching Michigan, getting an idea of what they are, watching Indiana, watching all the teams that we have on the schedule.

“I think any chance you have to watch football, be around football, especially when it gets taken away, I think guys want to do that because they have that itch to get back, get in the swing of things.”

Nelson, who was a two-way star at U-D Jesuit (quarterback/defensive back) while also playing on the Class A state championship basketball team with Cassius Winston, described what happened at Wisconsin after the win over Illinois.

“We had a walk-through and one good practice that second week and then they shut us down,” Nelson said. “It was tough to get the game plan, start to learn, start to find the adjustments and everything you needed to do and then it gets taken away. It’s very challenging to try to kind of respond to that.

“They just told us to stay home. They didn’t want us in the facility. They wanted it to stop spreading. Everybody was kind of quarantining."

Nelson said the Badgers will be ready for the Wolverines.

"Our case numbers have dropped significantly from last week, so we should be good to go, preparing like we’re good to go, just focusing one day at a time and trying to stop the spread and getting as many zero positives as we can, and then just compete at practice and get better," he said.

“We have to make up some time from the past couple of weeks. I think we’re doing a good job with that and knocking the rust off and getting our minds right for this game.

“We started doing a little more stuff over the weekend, just a small introduction back to position drills, but we’re back to a normal schedule now and trying to get to game day. Michigan’s a very talented team and we’re going to have to have our minds right and be ready to go because I know they’re going to come out swinging for us. We’re really looking forward to it. We’re excited to get back out there and have the opportunity to play again.”