The Badgers moved practice to Camp Randall Stadium Wednesday afternoon due to the threat of inclement weather. Just before the skies opened up, Wisconsin moved inside to the McClain Center to finish up practice.
News and notes from the afternoon session:
- Chris Pressley will play this season. In fact, look for him during the first home game. After practice Wednesday Wisconsin offensive coordinator Brian White emphatically stated that Pressley will play and that he will play in the opener. He also stated that Pressley will remain at tailback. As for his play on the field, Pressley has continued to impress, and his ability to side step defenders, as well as deliver a blow, keeps getting better.
- Dontez Sanders was back with the second-team defense Wednesday afternoon but he was not done boisterously making plays. For the second practice in a row Sanders returned an interception for a touchdown and had plenty to say about it.
- Tony Paciotti caught a long pass down the middle of the field that would have gone for a touchdown had the whistle not blown.
- Darrin Charles continued what has been an impressive week, particularly on a catch in double coverage where he out-leapt two defenders.
- Taylor Mehlhaff and Adam Schober had another impressive display. The wind was swirling as the storm approached the stadium but was gusting in the kickers favor. As a result Mehlhaff seemed to loft the balls toward the end zone. He drilled one kick three yards past the back line.
- Scott Starks and Zach Hampton looked impressive as kick returners. Incumbent Brandon Williams has the spot locked up, of course, but the depth here looks immeasurably better than it did last spring. Marcus Randle El and Booker Stanley are also in the mix.
- Matt Bernstein has looked good this fall as receiver out of the backfield and as a runner. When he has a little room to work with after making a catch he is not someone an opposing defensive back wants to try to line up.
- Jamil Walker presents a nice contrast to his fellow true freshman tailback, Pressley. Walker has done a solid job finding holes and making cuts. And when he gets an opening, he can really turn it on with his speed.
- True freshman defensive tackle Nick Hayden has been working with the second defense for most of this week. If the Badgers decide to use a freshman lineman right away he appears to be the top candidate.
- Redshirt freshman Justin Ostrowski will play a considerable role as a backup defensive tackle this season and will make some plays in addition to spelling starters Jason Jefferson and Anttaj Hawthorne. Ostrowski has continued to show the combination of strength and athleticism that provides him with so much promise.
- Jefferson will never get the publicity of his senior defensive tackle partner Hawthorne, but he will be a tough matchup for opponents this season. Jefferson has quietly had a strong fall camp, occupying blockers and working his way into the backfield.
- Hawthorne, meanwhile, batted down a pass in the morning session.
- It will be interesting to see how excitable Bret Bielema is on game days. He has been very energetic throughout fall camp, often running after players to congratulate them, yelling instructions, encouragement and criticism at what has to be at or near the top of his lungs. Wednesday morning he sprinted about 40 yards to offer one player some words of advice.
During practice Tuesday, Camp Randall's new sound system was being tested and Wednesday they were testing the visual systems on the three new scoreboards. It was, simply, loud and clear.