Wisconsin's earlier practices feel like a prelude to this fall camp session. Full pads correlate to full hitting, full adrenaline. The fire has been there since the moment practice began, but now, with the opportunity to really get down to business, it has come forth in full display. On this first day in pads, and first day of full hitting, many Badger athletes were impressive. Here are a few highlights:
- Alex Lewis' energy could not be contained Sunday. From the beginning of practice he was all over the field, making one big hit after another. He was the deliverer or the recipient of a number of the afternoon's biggest hits, constantly moving and making plays. Last spring, the coaching staff raved at Lewis' development, and it shows. He seems very comfortable now, making instinctual plays and flying after the ball.
- As may be expected of a 273-pound fullback who moves rather well, Matt Bernstein was also heard from plenty Sunday afternoon. On a few memorable occasions, Bernstein and Lewis met full bore, resulting in the days loudest hits. The encounters were, more often than not, a stalemate.
- Early in practice, Lewis laid a huge blow on running back Jerone Pettus. Pettus, though, responded on the next play, turning the corner and darting down the sideline untouched.
- Lewis was the recipient of one of day's best blocks, from reserve guard Jeff Lang, who pulled and put his whole body into a block that drove the linebacker out of the play.
- Wisconsin's plethora of receiving talent looks as deep as all the lakes that Madison contains. Freshman Brandon Tobias continues to impress. Sunday afternoon he put on a display a big-time double move, creating separation down the field. The 6-5 Tobias has a knack for getting open and flashes very good hands to go with impressive athleticism.
- Brandon Williams had catch of the day, even if he made it look commonplace. Jim Sorgi threw a bullet into tight coverage and Williams leaped forward and snagged it before the defense could get a hand on the ball or him.
- Freshman safety Johnny White closely rivaled Lewis for the days most excitable, and hardest hitting, player. White was very active and energetic, fearlessly stepping up to make plays.
- Among reserve defensive backs, Dontez Sanders was also impressive. The second team strong safety has good instincts and range. He also contributed his share of memorable hits.
- A number of defensive linemen were impressive Sunday, but the headliners were starting defensive tackle Anttaj Hawthorne and end Jonathan Welsh. Hawthorne flashed a devastating bull rush and complimented it well with counter moves. Welsh's quickness, always as asset, was particularly impressive. He turned the corner in a blur when pass rushing and also did a nice job changing things up and throwing different moves at offensive linemen.