Toward the tail end of practice Monday afternoon, Wisconsin broke its lineup into those who are "in the depth" and those that are on scout teams.
It is important to note that this initial breakdown is not written in stone. It is, however, a good barometer of who has a chance to play this season.
There were a few surprises among those players who have been in the program before. Redshirt freshman receiver Brandon Tobias, for instance, is still on the scout team.
The receivers who are in the depth include: Brandon Williams, Jonathan Orr, Darrin Charles, Brandon White, Marcus Randle El, Jeff Holzbauer, Jarvis Minton and Paul Hubbard.
In addition to Minton and Randle El, three other true freshmen are in the depth offensively: tailbacks Chris Pressley and Jamil Walker and quarterback Bryan Savage.
Defensively, five freshmen are in the depth: end Mike Newkirk, tackle Nick Hayden, cornerbacks Jack Ikegwuonu and Allen Langford and linebacker Andy Crooks.
The No. 1 and No. 2 kickoff specialists are true freshmen: Taylor Mehlhaff and Adam Schober.
Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said Saturday that he expected seven or eight freshmen to play this season. With 12 players listed above that still could be the case. Savage is clearly the No. 3 quarterback right now and is likely only to see the field if John Stocco and/or Tyler Donovan goes down with an injury. Jamil Walker is the No. 4 tailback, but is also in the depth on a number of special teams, so he could see playing time immediately. Schober is technically in the depth but would only have the redshirt removed if Mehlhaff were injured and the team decided it did not want senior Mike Allen handling kickoffs in Mehlhaff's stead. Jarvis Minton is one of eight receivers in the depth but has played better and better throughout camp and, like Walker, is in the depth on special teams.
The other eight freshmen who are in the depth are either sure bets to play this year or are extremely likely to see the field quickly. Minton may soon make this nine.
More scout items of note:
Among Wisconsin's wealth of redshirt freshmen offensive linemen, only Danny Kaye has avoided a second year on the scout team.
Junior sam linebacker John Gillen, the Badgers' No. 3 at that position for much of fall camp, is working out with the scout team.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Kelly, who made the transition from mike linebacker to defensive end during fall camp, is in the depth. He is joined in the depth at end by Jonathan Welsh, Erasmus James, Joe Monty, Newkirk, Jamal Cooper and Mark Gorman.
Four tight ends are in the depth: Jason Pociask, Owen Daniels, Tony Paciotti and Joel Nellis. Kurt Ware and Dave Peck are on scout team.
It all looked so clear
Brett Bell continued to work in with the first-team defense at cornerback Monday afternoon, but Chuckie Cowans is still receiving the bulk of the first-team reps. He slides to the slot in the first-team nickel defense.
Early today, I wrote that Jack Ikegwuonu looked like the No. 6 corner. Maybe not. Ikegwuonu spent a lot of time with the No. 2 defense Monday afternoon. One thing is certain: there are six cornerbacks in the depth. If the group is broken into two teams, Scott Starks, Cowans and Bell would be first team with Levonne Rowan, Ikegwuonu and Allen Langford on the second team.
Dontez Sanders continues to get the majority of the reps with the first-team at will linebacker, but LaMarr Watkins also worked in with the first unit Monday afternoon. In addition, Watkins and Sanders essentially double shifted, with Watkins playing quite a few series as the second-team mike linebacker and Sanders playing with the second team at will.
Who needs kick coverage?
Mehlhaff continues to impress. With a stiff wind blowing across the field at the Bishop O'Connor Center Monday, he drilled kickoffs five and seven yards deep in the end zone and also kicked one two yards past the back line.
Defense has some fun
The biggest cheers during either practice Monday came during an 11-on-11 session that occurred prior to the team breaking into scouts in the afternoon session. During the segment, Levonne Rowan and Scott Starks hauled in interceptions in rapid succession and Rowan and Reggie Cribbs broke up passes. The defense fed off each play, getting progressively louder as the session proceeded.
John Stocco absolutely ripped a pass to Darrin Charles over the middle, which the senior deftly pulled in.
Mike Newkirk rotated in with the second defense at defensive end.
Zalewski looks very comfortable blitzing off the edge and has looked fluid in pass coverage. He darted into the backfield on a few occasions Monday afternoon and also put himself in positions to make plays when he dropped into coverage.
Reggie Cribbs has looked good consistently at linebacker, particularly on the blitz. He shot through the line and helped break up a pass Monday.
Dontez Sanders made a great play Monday. Stocco fired a pass to Jonathan Orr along the sideline, just getting it past Brett Bell, who made a full extension lunge through the air in an effort to break up the pass. If not for Sanders being in the right position to assist on the play, and quickly catching Orr along the sideline, the junior receiver would have been able to turn up field for a huge gain.
Orr made a good over-the-shoulder catch with Ikegwuonu in his hip pocket.
Minton had another very good practice, including a nice catch deep down the field.
Tyler Donovan completed a long pass to Tobias.
Paul Hubbard made a nice scoop on a low catch to complete a short reception.
Fall camp report, Aug. 23, afternoon edition
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