August 18 morning practice report, part 1

The Badgers are 12 days away from the season opener in Morgantown, W. Va., but Wisconsin's coaching staff has had a game plan together for quite some time.

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"Our game plans are ready, they have been ready," coach Barry Alvarez said. "We have worked on West Virginia since this spring. We have game-planned them going into this camp. Now it is just teaching the kids. We haven't started on West Virginia with the players. We will do the scouting report and we will get a good jump on them starting this Wednesday."


Alvarez, who grew up less than an hour from Morgantown in Burgettstown, Pa., said he hasn't visited Morgantown in some time, but he knows what type of football environment the Mountaineers will present.


"I know that football is very important there," Alvarez said. "They take it real serious. It is a tough place to play. It will be a Big Ten stadium atmosphere. And I know that they have a good football team. I know that their staff feels good about the team. They are  challenging their kids and their kids are looking forward to playing us. I know it is going to be a very difficult game in a tough environment."


A physical fall camp


The Badgers have included some sort of full scrimmage session in almost every practice this fall. This morning was one exception, with the team doing situational scrimmaging without full tackling. According to Alvarez the abundance of hitting this fall is out of the ordinary and due to the team's preparation for its first opponent.


"We have had the most physical camp that I have had probably since I've been here," Alvarez said. "We always are pretty physical but we haven't scrimmaged as much (in the past) as we have this year. I'm doing that because of our first game.


Pleasant surprises


Alvarez has been satisfied throughout camp with the progress of his team. This morning he lauded the team in general and singled out a few players or positions for additional praise.


"I've been very pleased with our kids," Alvarez said. "I've been pleased with how they have practiced, how they have gone about their business. The only surprises I have are a few that have been pleasant surprises.


"I think just how Owen Daniels, for one, has progressed; how our punters have progressed and how well they are kicking. Our freshman class is a nice group and just what they are giving us.


"A number of people have progressed physically as I hoped they would and they have matured physically as I hoped they would."


Daniels appears to be not simply a pleasant surprise; he appears to be winning playing time. Daniels was listed at tight end last spring while he rehabbed a torn ACL suffered in his first stint at the position during last season's Alamo Bowl practices.


This fall he has worked out primarily at wide receiver, though the coaches have stated on numerous occasions that he would be used as a jack-of-all trades receiver. This proclamation came to fruition this morning with Daniels lining up at tight end, H-back and as a wing. He also continued to work to a significant degree from the slot. More importantly, Daniels is receiving consistent reps with the first-team offense in some personnel packages. All this after less than two weeks playing receiver.

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