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Wisconsin RB Corey Clement back at full speed in spring ball

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) Corey Clement burst through the hole, with one man left to beat in the secondary.

Spring scrimmage or not, the Wisconsin running back operated as if a game was on the line. The safety got pushed aside after Clement used a stiff arm.

Clement was eager to leave an impression that will last through the offseason and summer, leaving any memories of an underwhelming 2015 season behind him in the dust.

''I don't want to seem cocky at all, but no one man should bring a running back down,'' Clement said.

He seemed to relish every carry at the Badgers' spring scrimmage on Saturday, even if it was just a glorified practice. He spun his stiff-arm as a learning experience for the defense, too.

''I'm sorry the defense had to take that in,'' Clement said, ''but that's work for them as well.''

A 2015 season that began with a buzz of a potential Heisman Trophy campaign for Clement ended with stinging disappointment.

Clement suffered a sports hernia the last week of training camp. The injury and ensuing surgery limited him all season. Off the field, Clement was involved in a scrum on Nov. 8 at his off-campus apartment building that led to police citing him for disorderly conduct.

For Clement, that made Saturday's outing all the more satisfying, even if there was no hard tackling. He had five carries for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Coach Paul Chyrst doesn't like to put much stock into one practice. But he did make a small exception for Clement.

The key for Clement was to get through all 15 practices in March and April. He struck a deal with Chryst - stay healthy and he would get to carry the ball in the spring game.

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''I think that this was good for him to finish out. He was excited to be back and practicing and feeling healthy,'' Chryst said after the scrimmage.

A healthy Clement playing a full season could give Wisconsin a loaded backfield.

Dare Ogunbowale, a converted defensive back, emerged to become the team's leading rusher last season with 819 yards on 194 carries. He's also turned into a team leader. Taiwan Deal gained 503 yards on 117 carries as a redshirt freshman. Alec Ingold, who is moving to fullback, was a goal-line specialist with six rushing touchdowns on 49 carries.

Freshman Bradrick Shaw could also get carries. He was redshirted last season after arriving from Alabama as a promising prep prospect.

A young Badgers offensive line should be better in 2016 after experiencing growing pains last year.

But the key, once again, might be Clement.

Clement finished with 221 yards on just 48 carries last year. The ideal goal would be to exceed his sophomore year production, when Clement had 949 yards and nine scores on 147 attempts serving as the backup to Melvin Gordon.

Clement said he has a clean bill of health, and that he's planning to train this offseason as normal to get ready for preseason practice in the summer. If Clement can stay healthy, he could be the star attraction this year.

Spring practice could be the springboard.

''I think I just needed to get hit a little bit, run around, execute some blocks and just feel like football again,'' Clement said.


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