Fall camp report, Aug. 20, morning session

News and notes from Friday morning's practice at the Bishop O'Connor Center

Dontez Sanders' high-energy play has made this fall camp one to remember for the junior linebacker. He was the first-team will linebacker Friday morning and looks poised to start at that position come Sept. 4. Sanders appeared to be reborn last spring when he made the transition to will but still looked a little rough around the edges. He has improved this fall and has really taken to the weakside linebacker position, where he can concentrate on flying to the ball and making plays. He has done that well, and for that reason has gone from looking like a career special teams player to a starter in six months.

LaMarr Watkins backed up Sanders at will Friday morning and also played a few series with the first team at mike, spelling Reggie Cribbs, who has been the starter at that position throughout fall camp. Watkins had a solo tackle for loss and combined with strong safety Johnny White for another.

Nick Sutton received some reps with the third team at will linebacker during full scrimmage work. The primary third-team linebacker, however, continued to be T.J. Wielebski at mike, John Gillen or Ben Landgraf at sam, and Jammar Crane at will.

Gorman working into rotation

Wisconsin had some question marks with its depth at defensive end heading into fall camp, but those appear to be answered. Erasmus James has looked remarkably healthy after returning from the hip injury that sidelined him all of last year. James, Jonathan Welsh and Joe Monty form a very talented top trio of ends, all of which will see a lot of time on the field this season. Monty has really come on this fall after playing sparingly last season.

The Badgers have gotten about what they could expect from Jamal Cooper, a redshirt freshman that could help in pass rush situations. What has been surprising is the play of Mark Gorman, an end-tackle tweener that has played end throughout camp this fall. Gorman is not going to be a dynamic playmaker but he could be a serviceable reserve and someone who can add some bulk at end against the run. Listed at 276 pounds, Gorman has shown a good bull rush and a knack for holding the point and getting to where the action is. Among the reserves, he has had one of the better camps.

More notes

Darrin Charles caught a touchdown pass of more than 50 yards in 7-on-7 drills and Jeff Holzbauer did the same in full-team work.

Brandon Tobias continued a strong week of practice, displaying good hands on a few short catches.

Jim Leonhard had a leaping interception Friday.

Bryan Savage threw an absolute rocket on a slant route to Jarvis Minton, which the true freshman snagged with relative ease.

Minton also had a diving catch on a pass from Tyler Donovan along the sideline.

On a similar route and with similarly tight coverage to the Donovan-Minton connection, John Stocco fired a pass to Brandon Williams, who made the reception.

Marcus Coleman had a strong practice Friday. A mauling drive blocker, Coleman should compete for a starting job next season at one of two open guard spots.

Wisconsin continued to rotate its first-team offensive linemen Friday morning. Mike Lorenz and Morgan Davis continue to split reps at right tackle, with Lorenz serving as the jumbo tight end and Davis working in at right guard. Jonathan Clinkscale takes the majority of the right guard reps and some at left guard.

Scott Starks had a pass breakup during team work.

Donovan had yet another big gain on a scramble.

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