Dontez Sanders had spent his Wisconsin career bouncing around to a number of different positions prior to last spring, when Bret Bielema made him a weakside linebacker. Sanders looked comfortable there in the spring and has carried that over to a strong fall camp. Wednesday, Sanders spent the bulk of practice running with the first-team defense, while LaMarr Watkins took snaps with the second defense.
Sanders returned an interception for a touchdown Wednesday morning during full-team work. The unabashed Sanders was sure to tell his offensive counterparts all about it on the way to the end zone.
Walk-on Ben Landgraf has been working consistently with the third-team linebackers at sam this week. He has been joined on the third team by Jammar Crane and T.J. Wielebski.
Corner depth continues to look strong
Wisconsin has done some different things with its cornerback rotation throughout fall camp but in the past few days has regularly rotated the group in three pairs. Scott Starks and Chuckie Cowans have worked with the first defense, Bret Bell and Levonne Rowan with the first and second defense and Allen Langford and Jack Ikegwuonu have worked with the second defense and, today, the third defense. Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez told reporters yesterday not to read too much into where the pairs were playing. "We're just trying to figure out who we can trust and who can play for us," he said.
All six look like they can play for a Big Ten team. The only guarantee is that Scott Starks will start. Cowans, Rowan or Bell could start opposite him and all three will see the field this year. Langford and Ikegwuonu are nice insurance policies who have consistently played at high level this fall. They could play in certain situations or be used on special teams this year. Or, they could redshirt and prepare for next season, when the Badgers will have to replace Starks and Cowans.
Starks had the type of interception Wednesday morning that simply drew a tip of the cap from the offense. He read a route near the sideline perfectly, got a great jump on the ball and made an athletic, leaping catch.
Rowan had consecutive pass breakups during 7-on-7 work, making athletic plays to get to the ball in each situation. He nearly intercepted one of them.
Zach Hampton has received some work at nickel cornerback and continues to be a versatile player in the secondary. Hampton opened fall camp as the No. 3 free safety. He split time there with Casey Hogan early in fall camp but has spent more time at strong safety of late, even working in with the second defense Wednesday.
Davis back at tackle
Morgan Davis did take some reps at right guard with the first unit Wednesday morning but primarily played right tackle, once again splitting reps between the first and second unit with Mike Lorenz.
On the receiving end
True freshman Jarvis Minton came on strong Wednesday. Whether in 7-on-7 or full team situations, he found a way to get open and showed some explosion after the catch. He took a while to get warmed up once he arrived at fall camp, but Minton runs good routes and already appears to have a feel for setting up defensive backs and getting open, particularly in the middle of the field.
Darrin Charles has stepped up in the last few practices, catching a lot of passes. He has looked particularly good when he uses his speed and size to stretch the secondary deep.
John Stocco made a very impressive play Wednesday morning and it had very little to do with athletic ability. Forced out of the pocket by a strong pass rush, Stocco rolled to his left. He had a small window with which to run but would not have gained but a few yards had he taken that route. Matt Bernstein was running back toward his quarterback to try to give him an option along the sideline. Stocco, with a defender bearing down on him, calmly motioned to Bernstein to release back down field. Bernstein did and caught a well-placed pass over his shoulder for a gain of close to 20 yards.
Fall camp report, Aug. 18, morning session
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