Football notes: no split safeties

Badgers will establish clear starters during fall camp

University of Wisconsin defensive backs coach Ron Lee clearly remembers his playing days at Washington State.

"I always had a hard time even playing at safety [in] that when I'm hot I don't want anybody taking me out," Lee said last month.

With that in mind, Lee does not want to be playing musical safeties during games this fall.

The Badgers could be tempted to rotate their safeties this season. Juniors free safeties Roderick Rogers and Zach Hampton and strong safeties Johnny White and Joe Stellmacher are packed pretty tight on UW's two deep with fall training camp fast approaching. Lee expects the competitions to be intense, but when the Sept. 3 season opener against Bowling Green rolls around, he will have picked two horses to run with —at least for that Saturday.

"When we go into that game those two guys back there are going to be my guys. The other guys can spell them," Lee said. "By the end of camp the two guys that perform well that I can trust will start the season, will be the guys until they can't do it."

However, the two safeties that fall short of the starting lineup will be in the mix for spots in the nickel and dime defenses.

Versatile frosh in the secondary

The Badgers signed three scholarship defensive backs in the class of 2005, all of which will be tried at multiple positions this fall.

Shane Carter could still end up playing wide receiver, but Lee said he will begin his career as a defensive back. He could play free safety or cornerback.

Prince Moody could play corner or either safety position and Aubrey Pleasant will be tried at strong and free safety.

Do any of the freshmen have a chance to play this fall?

"We are going to put them in a position where they can help us," Lee said. "And if they are able to help us then let's get them ready. We'll always have the theory or the belief that if that young man is sure he can handle the competition on the field and handle the classroom off the field then he should be ready to help us. But it has to be a balance."

Lee did not expect to see any other scholarship freshmen in the secondary, but he may want to petition for another.

"You look at (linebacker) Jonathan (Casillas), the kid ran a 10.5 (100 meters)," Lee said. "(I) might have to do a little bartering with (defensive coordinator and co-linebackers coach Bret) Bielema to see if I can get him back there with me.

"We have those kind of athletes that can play two or three spots because they are athletes."

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