August 15 morning practice report

Wisconsin began its 10th day of practice Friday morning at the O'Connor Center. Here are news/notes from this morning's session:

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At the tail end of practice, the Badgers typically work on some aspect of special teams in  a full-team setting. Coach Barry Alvarez has stressed the importance of his special teams units in the team's success, at one time this summer pointing out how the truly great Wisconsin teams have had truly great special teams.


The Badgers special teams improved to a substantial degree from 2001 to 2002 and Alvarez feels another big jump could be in order.


"We have the same guys for the most part on the coverage teams," Alvarez said. "We have the same kickers. They are more mature. I think they understand and I always believe that special teams are just effort and I think they have given us good effort, good concentration. I don't see why we couldn't make another big jump."


A huge part of special teams, the place kickers, have to become used to a new home surface this year. For place kicker Mike Allen and kickoff specialist Scott Campbell, that means finding the right footing all over again. The reports so far have been positive.


"They seemed to feel it was fine," Alvarez said. "You just have to get used to it, just like kicking off of grass particularly compared to kicking off of turf where it is nice and clean and you get different levels and some uneasiness in grass. At least it is consistent and once you get accustomed to it it is going to be that way regardless of where the ball is spotted."


More notes:


  • Two players, junior tight end Bob Docherty and sophomore guard Jeff Lang, have left the team. Alvarez did not have any further details when the departures were announced Friday morning.


  • Add Darrin Charles to the list of receivers that have demonstrated incredible skill this fall. Charles has always been a spectacular athlete and it is a wonder to watch a player his size run as well as he does. Charles has run good routes, found open spaces and displayed good hands throughout fall camp workouts.


  • Anttaj Hawthorne was once again very impressive in pass rush drills. He has a number of moves and he can use all of them to beat an offensive lineman and get into the backfield. Hawthorne appears poised for a big season.


  • Reserve right tackle Jake Wood was also impressive in pass rush drills Friday morning. He played very physically and tallied a few pancake blocks for his effort.


  • Inside linebacker Elliot Goode worked almost exclusively with the second defense this morning, playing alongside senior Kyle McCorison. Mark Zalewski received some reps with the second team as well.

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