Notebook: fullback depth

Pressley, Rentmeester competing; scrimmage plan for two-a-days; guards showing improvement

MADISON — The University of Wisconsin football team boasts one of the nation's best fullbacks in senior Matt Bernstein. But the fourth-year starter is the Badgers' only player with experience at the position. Still, there is potential for very strong depth with sophomore Chris Pressley (6-foot-1, 256 pounds) and redshirt freshman Bill Rentmeester (6-0, 249) competing for the No. 2 spot in training camp.

Pressley, a converted tailback, is considered Wisconsin's strongest player. Both bring good size to the table and have the ability to run the ball, though Rentmeester, who played some tailback in spring workouts, looks more natural in this regard.

Saturday, UW coach Barry Alvarez said it is too early to stack Pressley and Rentmeester up on the depth chart.

"We have to see how they go. They're both physical guys, they're both guys that will be on the field in special teams," Alvarez said.

Rentmeester could also play H-back this year.

"I think we will feature probably Billy in some of the tight end motion stuff to get him involved a little bit more," Alvarez said. "We'll probably keep them both on the same line as backup fullbacks. I'm not really concerned about who's slotted in, who's [No. 2]. We're just looking for guys who can play and there's always a place for them."

Asked about his understudies at the Big Ten media days in Chicago two weeks ago, Bernstein was generous with his praise.

"Billy Rentmeester. I think he's phenomenal," Bernstein said. "He can run the ball… He's just a hardnosed kid too. He wants to hit. He's got his weight up. I think he'll be real good….

"[Pressley] is like a brick wall running into him. People run into him and they are just stopped. I think he'll be great too. It will be a fight for the second position but those two guys are going to be good for the next three years, four years."

Practice plan

Sunday marks the first day the Badgers will be in full pads, allowing the team to start thinking about full-contact scrimmaging.

"We'll deal with a lot of hitting but I don't know how many (scrimmages)," Alvarez said. "We'll probably have at least one game-type scrimmage so they get a sense of moving the ball in field position and the kicking game but we will have, because of some of the young guys, we will hit more maybe than we have in the past, particularly (compared to) a team like last year's, where it was veteran. We will hit in segments, scrimmage in specific segments when we're in full pads."

Guards showing improvement

True freshman Andy Kemp continues to impress. Very strong and athletic for an 18-year-old lineman, Kemp is ensconced in the depth as the top reserve guard behind fifth-year seniors Jason Palermo and Matt Lawrence. Kemp has played left guard with the second offense throughout camp, backing up Lawrence, but is not quite pushing him for the starting job.

"Not yet, but I think he's improved," Alvarez said of Kemp. "I think Matt Lawrence and Jason… have really played well. I've been very impressed with what they've done. I think Andy, for a true freshman, has really made good progress."

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