August 17 report, part 1

After a lenghty intrasquad scrimmage Saturday the Badgers did not practice Sunday. The Badgers have 14 practices under their belts. Soon, the team will focus its energies on game preparation for the opener in Morgantown. There is a palpable sense that the season is near. A number of significant notes and positive developments have been on display this fall. Here are the top five:

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  1. Morgan Davis—his work with Chris McIntosh over the summer appears to have paid off. As a result, one of the Badgers biggest question marks no longer appears a point of contention. Davis has solidified his position as the team's top left tackle. Davis will not be confused with McIntosh, but he has learned to use his 6-5, 326-pound frame, driving well off the line and doing a respectable work in pass blocking. The jury on Davis's development at left tackle will remain out until his first challenge against West Virginia, but the position is settled.


  1. Lee Evans—the superstar receiver who simply could not be covered two years ago appears completely recovered from two knee surgeries that kept him off the field all of last season. Evans runs fantastic routes, catches everything in sight and the jump in his step shows no sign of having undergone more than a year of rehabilitation. He was held out of full scrimmage work Saturday, but Evans has gone toe-to-toe with his teammates throughout the fall and held up very well.


  1. The Receivers—Evans, of course, is just one of a slew of impressive receivers. The amazing thing is how much talent is mired within the depth chart. Every receiver on the roster has had a solid if not exceptional camp. Sophomore Brandon White has been spectacular, but he is still the No. 5 receiver at best, behind Evans, Brandon Williams, Jonathan Orr and Darrin Charles, all of whom have been nothing short of stellar. Williams is a blur in and out of cuts, Orr looks faster and stronger than during his breakout season last year and Charles is well prepared to continue what he started with a strong Alamo Bowl performance. It doesn't stop with them, not by a long shot. Despite playing the position for only a week and a half, Owen Daniels has flashed a lot skill. He seems a natural fit as a slot receiver with good speed and hands and ideal size. Senior Byron Brown has also had an impressive fall camp. Then there is the freshmen class—Ernest Mason, Brandon Tobias, Luke Swan and Jonte Flowers. Mason and Tobias look like superstars in the making. Flowers needs to get bigger, but he has a load of talent. Swan is the ideal possession receiver. He catches everything and runs exceptional routes. Wisconsin is poised to have one of the nation's best receiving corps into the foreseeable future.


  1. Scott Starks—Is any player more valuable than Scott Starks? The Badgers do not have much experience at corner aside from Starks, who will be starting for the third straight season. Starks appears to have gotten stronger, quicker, more explosive. He has always had good instincts, and they appear to be in overdrive this fall. His counterpart, Brett Bell, has also had a respectable fall camp, playing a physical corner on the right side.


  1. Joe Stellmacher—The Badgers coaches feel they have found another playmaker among walk-on defensive backs. Stellmacher has had one of the most impressive camps on the team and has played himself onto the first-team nickel defense. For good reason. He has been all over the field making plays. The new nickel, which looks to get as much athleticism on the field as possible, looks set to improve Wisconsin's pass defense significantly.

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