Sanders getting to know position

Receiver turned defensive back has had spring and fall at will linebacker

During spring workouts Dontez Sanders acknowledged just how new his new position was.

"It is brand-new to me," he said in late March. "It is fun, though. I enjoy it a lot."

Prior to last spring, Sanders had played linebacker for all of two days, serving as a drop, or strong side, linebacker for that stint. When spring workouts commenced, Sanders, who began his Wisconsin career as a receiver before being shifted to defensive back, was moved to will, or weakside, linebacker in new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Bret Bielema's scheme.

"I played receiver, drop linebacker, strong safety, free safety, now I'm at linebacker," Sanders said. "I feel that with Coach ‘B' working with me and teaching me the ways that he wants me to play that I think I'll be a pretty good will linebacker for him."

Sanders spent all of spring backing up fellow junior LaMarr Watkins at will, a scenario that has repeated itself in fall camp. Sanders did receive ample work with the first unit during Wednesday's morning practice. During that session, and the afternoon's session, Sanders returned an interception for a touchdown. He has been an active, vocal presence throughout fall camp.

"I think Dontez is starting to understand his position on a defense much better," head coach Barry Alvarez said Wednesday. "He's in position more…One thing about Dontez, it always seems as though he's around the ball. The ball's tipped up in the air, it's an errant pass, the ball's on the ground, he always seems to have a knack to be around it. I think there will be a strong role (for him)."

"You don't normally envision a wide receiver coming in being a linebacker but Dontez really is vocal and makes things happen," Alvarez said. "And he's improving. He's improved greatly and he continues to improve. I was very pleased with his progress."

Badger Nation Top Stories