News and notes: Taylor Mehlhaff took command of the kickoff duties as soon as put his left foot on the ball…Wisconsin's punting duties are still wide open, with R.J. Morse and Kenneth DeBauche in a tight battle...Punt returner Jim Leonhard, kick returner Brandon Williams and place kicker Mike Allen will all return to their positions.
Fall MVP: Mehlhaff. Mike Allen hitting nearly every field goal he attempted from within 42 yards was impressive. Jim Leonhard's nearly flawless work preparing for another season as one of college football's best punt returners was also impressive. But nothing in all of fall camp drew cheers as consistently as one of Mehlhaff's booming kickoffs. The true freshman is still adapting to kicking field goals, so his time will have to wait in that regard, but he is a huge weapon as a kickoff specialist. If the wind is kicking just right, it would not be a surprise if Mehlhaff put a kickoff through the uprights. Opponents might quit working on kick return before playing the Badgers.
Player on the rise: See above.
Questions answered: Mehlhaff emphatically answered Wisconsin's kickoff struggles. The Badgers also have depth at the position, with true freshman walk-on Adam Schober regularly kicking off into the end zone. Mike Allen is healthy and ready for a strong senior season.
Questions remain: Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said again Friday that he did not know whether Kenneth DeBauche or R.J. Morse would handle the punting duties. The guess here is that DeBauche was starting to pull ahead as camp came to a close.
Who returns kicks? The Badgers have a number of possibilities opposite Brandon Williams. The team would like to have Williams focus on receiver so the larger question is whether the Badgers can find someone they trust to regularly return kicks. Candidates include Jarvis Minton, Marcus Randle El, Booker Stanley, Scott Starks, Zach Hampton and Jamil Walker.
How long of field goals can Mike Allen attempt? The Badgers place kicker has been hitting his attempts with greater authority but it is still unlikely that his range will extend much beyond 40 yards.
Final note: Expect Wisconsin's special teams to be a tremendous strength. Leonhard and Williams are threats every time they touch the ball, Allen is near automatic when he is within his range and Mehlhaff will give the Badgers all sorts of momentum. Whoever punts should be OK.
Fall camp wrap, special teams
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