Fall camp report, Aug. 24

News and notes from Wisconsin's practice at Camp Randall Tuesday afternoon

Brett Bell is solidifying himself as the starting cornerback opposite Scott Starks. Bell had been slowly but surely getting more reps with the first team. Tuesday, he took nearly all of the reps opposite Starks. Chuckie Cowans has had a good camp to this point and Levonne Rowan has plenty of talent, but Bell has more big-play ability than Cowans and is more consistent than Rowan.

Allen Langford played almost exclusively with the second defense Tuesday. He will definitely play on special teams and could see the field as a reserve corner.

Starks, meanwhile, had perhaps the most emphatic hit of fall camp during Tuesday's practice. Tyler Donovan threw a swing pass to Chris Pressley and before the 265-pound true freshman could turn completely upfield, Starks lined him up and leveled him. The hit could be heard clearly from the stands at Camp Randall.

Starks was not the only defensive back to make a big hit or big play Tuesday. Joe Stellmacher had one of his own, drilling Kurt Ware to break up a pass.

Orr shines

Bit by bit, rep by rep, Jonathan Orr is building more consistency to go with his considerable talent. Though it was hard to tell whether he got a foot in bounds, Orr made a full extension, Super-Man-style leap through the air to haul in a John Stocco pass near the back of the end zone, during red zone drills. It was a remarkable effort on Orr's part.

Orr also made an a really good catch on a deep throw over the middle, using his speed to get separation and then leaping up and attacking the football rather than waiting for it to come to him.

Brandon White played well during practice Monday and kept up that momentum Tuesday, catching two touchdown passes during 7-on-7 red zone work (versus the first and second defenses).

White is joining Orr, Darrin Charles and Brandon Williams in receiving reps with the first offense.

Kickoffs for now

At the end of a scrimmage drill near the end of practice Tuesday, Taylor Mehlhaff set up a 47-yard field goal from the right hash and left it short and to the right. He has proved with his prodigious kickoffs that he has incredible leg strength. As a place kicker, though, he is still working on getting the timing down and getting accustomed to not using a tee when attempting field goals.

Mehlhaff will be indispensable to the Badgers as a kickoff specialist this season. If he gets the kinks out on field goals there is still a possibility that he could serve as a long-range place kicker.

James, Welsh bring heat

Erasmus James and Jonathan Welsh met at the quarterback on a number of occasions Tuesday. James was particularly impressive both rushing the passer and versus the run. He nearly caught Jamil Walker from behind during one session.

Kalvin Barrett took part in all full contact sessions for the first time in about a week Tuesday and took reps with the second team.

Mike Newkirk looks much more comfortable now that he is back at defensive end, but he is also at square one with his position from a college football perspective and has some catch-up work to do. It should not take him long, though. He made some impressive plays Tuesday while working in with the second defense, including batting down a pass after disengaging from an offensive lineman. Newkirk is not your average 235-pound defensive end. His first instinct is to go through the offensive tackle across from him, despite giving up 70 pounds or more. He will need to diversify his pass rush moves, but his bull rush is always going to be a plus move, especially for a player his size.

More notes

Paul Joran worked in with the first team at sam linebacker Tuesday. He forced a fumble versus the first offense.

Dontez Sanders went back to taking all of the first-team reps at will linebacker, with LaMarr Watkins taking second-team reps. Andy Crooks was the sole No. 2 mike linebacker.

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