Wisconsin practiced in shorts and helmets for two-and-a-half hours Friday afternoon to kick off spring practice. The sessions consisted mostly of position drills and alignment situations, the stuff one would expect on a first day back. There was some scrimmaging, though, which became rather spirited at times.
- As expected, sophomore quarterback John Stocco was listed No. 1 on the official spring depth chart and took the snaps with the first-team offense. He is followed on the depth by senior Matt Schabert, redshirt freshman Tyler Donovan and freshman Sean Lewis. Donovan, though, took the bulk of the snaps with the second unit Friday. Chris White, who walked on last fall and redshirted, was not on the spring roster.
- The most interesting part of Friday's practice was a change in the way the linebackers were positioned. Not surprisingly, the first team ‘backers on day one were Mark Zalewski at eagle, Elliot Goode at mike and LaMarr Watkins at drop. The change, though, was that unlike last season, the eagle backer almost always lined up over the tight end, while the drop backer typically lined up inside of the weakside offensive tackle. Coaches and players were not available for comment Friday so it is unclear whether this was simply a change versus the formations the team worked against for this isolated practice or whether it is a more general variation.
- Junior Dontez Sanders has moved from strong safety to drop linebacker and with Kareem Timbers expected to miss spring practice with an injury, Sanders is currently No. 2 at the position.
- Redshirt freshman linebacker Brandon Kelly has moved from drop to mike linebacker, Wisconsin's middle linebacker position. Kelly worked with the second unit Friday. Sophomore Reggie Cribbs is currently No. 3 at mike, while sophomore Paul Joran is the primary backup for Zalewski at eagle.
- Inexplicably, the best plays Friday were made by Wisconsin's tight ends, not exactly the focal points of the team's offense. The play of the day belonged to Jason Pociask, who made a twisting, leaping catch near the sideline on a deep corner route. Pociask made two more nice catches on deep pass patterns Friday. Freshman Kurt Ware showed a great deal of quickness and receiving skill, especially on a leaping grab over the middle. Owen Daniels also made some nice catches. Daniels worked exclusively at Wisconsin's U-tight end position (H-back) after playing a wide receiver-tight end blend last year.
- Erasmus James dressed but effectively only warmed up with the team while Darius Jones was in street clothes, leaving defensive end quite a bit thin. Jonathan Welsh and Joe Monty worked with the first team, Jamal Cooper and Mark Gorman with the second unit.
- Senior Morgan Davis is listed as Wisconsin's starting left tackle and he took the snaps at that position with the first unit. However, he also worked extensively at right tackle with the second-team offense. Senior Mike Lorenz played right tackle with the first unit, while sophomore Joe Thomas played left tackle with the second team. Lorenz could have a tough time hanging onto his starting job.
- Junior Jake Wood bounced around from position to position last season, but appears to have found a home at right guard—at least for now. Wood took the snaps with Wisconsin's first unit Friday, bumping returning starter senior Jonathan Clinkscale to the second unit. Last season, Thomas supplanted Wood as the Badgers' No. 2 left tackle during fall camp, a move that initially pushed Wood to the right side. Wood eventually made the transition to guard but is listed as the No. 2 right tackle on the official spring depth chart. For the time being, however, he is a first-team guard.
- Redshirt freshmen left tackle Danny Kaye, right tackle Andrew Weininger, left guard Luke Knauf, center Marcus Coleman and sophomore Randy Gyllin made up the third-team offensive line.
- With starter Jim Leonhard not expected to take part in full contact action this spring, sophomore Roderick Rogers, who has converted to free safety from cornerback, should receive plenty of work. Rogers, who saw playing time last season in the nickel and dime packages and on special teams, had a very strong start to spring ball Friday, intercepting two passes during scrimmage drills.
- Freshman cornerback Jameson Davis, a 2004 recruit who enrolled in school a semester early, was listed as the No. 2 boundary cornerback on Wisconsin's official depth chart, released with the start of spring practice Friday. Junior Brett Bell is listed first at that position, while senior Scot Starks is the starter at field cornerback.
In live drills, however, the second- and third-string field corners, Levonne Rowan and Chuckie Cowans, took the reps at the cornerback positions with the second unit, while Davis worked in with the third and fourth stringers, along with junior Johnny Sylvain and redshirt freshmen walk-ons Nate Egholm and Ben Strickland.
- After starting at the position in the Music City Bowl, senior Robert Brooks remains the No. 1 strong safety.
- Darrin Charles may have had a better season in 2003, but Jonathan Orr is listed as a starting receiver on the official depth chart, opposite Brandon Williams.
- Redshirt freshman walk-on Josh Balts is playing fullback and is behind Matt Bernstein and Greg Root on the depth chart.
The following players are no longer listed on Wisconsin's roster:
CB Tony Moss
QB Chris White
LB Luke Garrow
OL Dan Roscoe
DB Josh Stiever
WR Dan Zepplin
In addition to early-entry 2004 recruits Sean Lewis and Jameson Davis, the following players, all walk-ons, were added to the roster this spring:
WR Matt Ironside, third-year student next fall, sophomore football eligibility, 6-0, 188 pounds, Wisconsin Rapids High School
DB Derek Konkol, third-year student next fall, sophomore football eligibility, 5-9, 182, Amherst (Wis.) High School
LB Dan Zess, third-year student next fall, sophomore football eligibility, 6-1, 238, East Troy (Wis.) High School
LB Adam Purcell, redshirt freshman, 6-1, 230, Milwaukee Marquette High School
LB Steve Moore, third-year student next fall, sophomore football eligibility, 6-1, 194, Wisconsin Lutheran High School