The Badgers ended their first full day of two-a-days with a Saturday afternoon practice at the O'Connor Center in Madison, prior to breaking for one day. They will resume two-a-days Monday morning. Sunday afternoon will be spent taking the team photo and going through a special teams workout.
Here are some notes/thoughts from Saturday afternoon's practice:
- Dan Buenning attended Saturday afternoon's practice, watching on the hill. Lee Evans did not participate in the afternoon session, aside from catching passes shot from a ball machine on the upper practice field.
- Kenny Gales wasn't the only member of the 1994 Rose Bowl team present at Saturday afternoon's practice (he has been helping coach the defensive backs). Tarek Saleh stopped by the O'Connor Center to visit with coaches and watch practice.
- Ryan Aiello continued his Jason Doering impression during the afternoon practice, colliding with Brandon Williams across the middle during one deep pattern. Luckily for Williams, it was a non-contact practice, and Aiello held up enough to spare Williams from a devastating blow. Receivers better look out when the pads come on.
- Speaking of Brandon Williams, he had undeniably the best play of fall camp to date Saturday afternoon, making a diving grab off his fingertips down the left sideline, lying out completely to bring in the ball in an amazing catch. It was one of many tremendous plays Williams has made over the last day and a half.
- It's becoming obvious Ron Cooper has been a tremendous addition to the coaching staff. In addition to his work with Aiello (remember, in a spring issue of IW, Cooper said he was told Aiello was a step slow, but he wanted to see for himself), Cooper seems to have made a huge difference in B.J. Tucker. Throughout the first three practices, Tucker has been very solid, continuing the metamorphosis that began in the spring. Obviously, Tucker will have to prove himself when it counts, but right now Tucker looks like a much-improved player.
- The starting defense remained the same during Saturday afternoon's practice: Jim Leonhard, Aiello, B.J. Tucker and Scott Starks in the secondary, Broderick Williams, Jeff Mack and Kareem Timbers in the linebacking corps, and Erasmus James, Jason Jefferson, Anttaj Hawthorne and Jake Sprague on the defensive line. Robert Brooks and Michael Broussard have been splitting time with the No. 2 defense. Expect to see a lot of changes on a daily basis in the No. 1 and 2 defenses, because there is a ton of close competition at a number of positions. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out over the next few weeks.
- With the exception of Williams' NFL highlight-reel type grab, the best catch of the day belonged to walk-on true freshman Jeff Holzbauer. The 5-11, 185-pounder from Germantown made an outstanding, juggling catch in traffic down the right sideline during Saturday afternoon's practice, and has looked solid since the freshmen reported.
- Leonhard has moved into strong contention for a starting spot, and he had a beautiful read and interception during the Saturday afternoon session. He has gained a tremendous amount of muscle over the last 12 months (a la Nick Davis) without sacrificing any speed. He is also the frontrunner as the starting punt returner at this point.
Saturday Afternoon Practice Report
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