Punters, kickers impress Alvarez

Stark contrast to a year ago, when punting game was team's weakest point

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MADISON, Wis.—Wisconsin's kicking game got a workout in Saturday's spring game, particularly Paul Standring, a redshirt freshman punter who sits behind senior R.J. Morse and redshirt freshman Kenneth DeBauche on the depth chart. Standring had a number of beautiful punts, including ones of 49, 47 and 40 yards. Another punt, though, went off the side of his foot and only traveled 23 yards.


"I think he had a great game," senior place kicker Mike Allen said. "It's kind of neat to come in here, to have these young kids come in and really get time to shine and show what they can do."


DeBauche also got a chance to shine, sailing one attempt over junior Brandon White's head and bouncing it to the 8-yard line for a 78-yard punt.


"I think [White] was a little surprised," DeBauche said. "He helped me out a little by not catching that. I'll have to thank him later."


He also had a 48-yard punt go for a touchback, though it did bounce initially at the five.


DeBauche is expected to compete with Morse for the starting punting job.


"I think Kenny DeBauche will challenge for that job," Alvarez said. "We thought all along he's punted well all spring. I thought he was again especially good today."


Allen made all six of his extra points and hit field goals from 24 and 22 yards. He generally kicked off well, including one touchback, but two kickoffs were fielded short of the 10-yard line.  


"Mike Allen was excellent today and I think our incoming freshman kicker (Taylor Mehlhaff), may give us some help at least as a kickoff guy," Alvarez said.


"There was a strong wind coming at me in a few different situations, but overall, I think it was an okay day, it was pretty good," Allen said. "I was satisfied."


It was a drastic change from a year ago, when the Badger punters—then Morse and Adam Wozniak—struggled immensely.


"I was pleased with the kicking game," Alvarez said Saturday.


Senior Jim Leonhard, the team's top punt returner, and junior Brandon Williams, the top kick returner, were each held out of the spring game with injuries. Sophomore Ernest Mason, the Badgers' No. 2 at each of those positions last season, is suspended.


As a result, Zach Hampton and Luke Swan received the most reps at kick returner while Brandon White became the Cardinal punt returner after Paul Hubbard muffed his first and only attempt early in the game. Swan was the only returner to cut loose, gaining 50 yards on a reverse kickoff return.

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