Saturday Morning Practice Report

The Badgers hit the field for the first of two practices Saturday morning at the O'Connor Center. Here are some notes/thoughts from the morning session.

Saturday morning's practice saw a lot of people given a chance to perform with the first two units, as the Badger coaching staff is clearly giving everyone a shot to make a statement and move up the depth chart.

The area most open for competition is the secondary, where many players have been shifted from one position to another (and back again), while lots of young players are being tried out in the two-deep. Saturday morning, the No. 1 secondary consisted of Jim Leonhard, Ryan Aiello, B.J. Tucker and Scott Starks. Guys also getting reps in the two-deep included first-year players Levonne Rowan (at cornerback), Tony Moss, Lamarr Watkins.

There has also been a very active competition amongst the receivers. Brandon Williams continued to look fantastic Saturday morning, making plays all over the field and getting reps with the No. 1 offense. He is also being heavily considered as a punt returner. Other guys on the punt return rotation Saturday morning were Leonhard, Starks, Cody Childs and Jerone Pettus.

The competition is also heating up in the kicking game. As mentioned by Coach Alvarez, he is going to put his kickers in pressure situations from day one, and see how they respond. R.J. Morse was the only player punting on Saturday morning, and he was murdering the ball. If he can become a little more consistent, as Special Teams Coach Brian Murphy is working on diligently, he could be one of the best punters in the nation with his monster leg. As for the kickers, Mike Allen and Adam Espinoza were both perfect on field goals. Scott Campbell leads the pack for the kickoff job thus far.

Other notes:

- Lee Evans did not practice this morning. He stood on the sideline watching. Dan Buenning did not attend Saturday morning's practice.

- Mark Zalewski and Alex Lewis are currently with the No. 2 linebacking corps.

- 1994 Rose Bowl team member Kenny Gales is helping coach defensive backs. He is on campus finishing up his degree.

- Speaking of former UW players, remember the name Nana Gillette-Spio? The former Badger running back recruit is now a member of the UW Video Services crew. He is part of the team filming practice on a daily basis.

- It looks like Brett Bell has been moved to free safety for the time being, but as mentioned earlier, there have been many temporary changes as Ron Cooper continues to look for the perfect mix.

- Ryan Aiello is starting to make those Jason Doering comparisons come to life. When Doering was here, there was rarely a non-contact practice that went by when there would be a play where you'd thank God it wasn't full-contact or he might have decapitated someone. If Saturday morning's practice was a scrimmage situation, he might have beheaded David Braun coming across the middle. Aiello seems to playing with tremendous timing and placement, similar to Doering's knack for always being in the right place at the right time to knock somebody's helmet off.

- One recent number change I haven't mentioned yet -- Morse is now wearing No. 31. Many people yesterday asked Anttaj Hawthorne about choosing No. 77, in a Scott Starks-Jamar Fletcher type comparison. But Hawthorne wore No. 77 in high school, and knew from the day he signed with Wisconsin that he would ask for that number when Bryant left.

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