University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema said Monday he has been in contact with former wide receiver Kraig Appleton.
While Bielema didn't completely close the door on a return, it's going to take some work on Appleton's part.
Appleton, a highly regarded recruit from East St. Louis, Ill., was one of three players suspended in February by Bielema. A short time later, Appleton left school - apparently not in good academic standing.
Appleton recently posted on Facebook he would like to return to UW.
"Kraig ... tried to contact me right when camp was getting going," Bielema said. "I had some other people reach out to him, just because I wanted to make sure he understood, I wasn't sitting there waiting for his phone call.
"During the recruiting process, I liked Kraig, what he brought to the table. (He) had some issues here I wasn't pleased with, I let him know about it. I don't (know about) the reality of him coming back to Wisconsin ... but I do believe in giving people an opportunity to redeem what they've done in the past."
For Appleton to return, Bielema said he would have to attend a junior college and earn an associate's degree.
"I told him I'd work with him," Bielema said. "If I can help him do that, I'll do that. I've just got to make sure he's ready to do things the right way for that to happen."
Hit hurts Gilreath
Senior wide receiver David Gilreath is listed at 5-foot-11, 169 pounds, yet he has always taken pride in his toughness.
So, one of the hardest things for Gilreath after getting knocked unconscious and suffering a concussion against San Jose State Saturday was being forced to leave the field in an ambulance.
"(Sunday) he came in my office - as you guys know, David is very modest," Bielema said. "He's like, ‘I can't believe I had to get carried off the field.'
"I'm like, ‘David, let's just be thankful for where we're at right now.' ''
Given the severity of the concussion, Gilreath is not expected to play against Arizona State Saturday and might have to sit out next week, too, with an eye toward the Big Ten Conference opener Oct. 2.
"There's a progression he has to get through to be where he needs to be," Bielema said. "Whether he gets there or not (by) Saturday, we won't really know."
Junior wide receiver Nick Toon, who missed the last game with a turf toe injury, was scheduled to run with trainers Monday. He could return to practice on Tuesday, but more likely, it will be Wednesday.
Right tackle Josh Oglesby's knee injury will not require any surgery, but it seems unlikely he will play this week. Sophomore Ricky Wagner would get his first start.
"Ricky stepped in there after Josh went down and played pretty well down the stretch," Bielema said.
Sophomore linebacker Mike Taylor, who played the first half and the first defensive series of the second half, came out with no problems and should be full go this week.
Taylor, playing in his first game since undergoing major knee surgery last season, looked a little tentative at first, but assisted on two tackles late in the first half.
"I thought it was great," defensive coordinator Dave Doeren said. "I wanted to get him 30 snaps and that's what I did. He felt good, he made plays.
"I got him on the headset (late in the first half). I said, ‘You're going to take the first series here and you're done. You did a good job and I want you to build on this and not have a setback.' He was really fired up about it."
Bielema said sophomore linebacker Chris Borland, who missed the game with a shoulder injury, should practice Tuesday. "We'll kind of see how he handles the week right now," Bielema said.
Taylor previously was listed as the co-starter at the field position, where senior Blake Sorensen is now the starter. Taylor has now moved back to boundary, the position he played last year. Borland is listed as the co-starter at the boundary.
"If Chris and Mike were 100 percent, we'd probably go with those two guys as starters," Bielema said.
Defensive end David Gilbert also suffered a concussion, perhaps as early as the opening kickoff. Although he was not showing any symptoms Sunday, he also must show progress this week to be cleared to play.
Austin Peay game set
UW's game against Austin Peay on Sept. 25 at Camp Randall Stadium will start at 11 a.m. and will be televised by the Big Ten Network.