Thursday Morning Practice Report

The Badgers returned to the practice field for the first time since Wednesday's scrimmage Thursday morning at the O'Connor Center. Here are some notes from that practice, along with a few tidbits from Barry Alvarez, including how many new players he expects to contribute this year.

The Badgers returned to two-a-days following Wednesday's scrimmage, practicing early Thursday morning on a beautiful, cool morning. The weather has almost been too nice, as Wisconsin has been exposed to minimal hot weather. Coach Barry Alvarez would like to see the conditions become a little less comfortable before camp breaks.

"If I had my druthers, some time next week I'd really like to have some hot, humid weather," Alvarez said. "I just think as part of the preparation, I know we're going to have to play in some warm weather. Notoriously, our first game has always been extremely hot, and I know it's going to be an oven when we get to Las Vegas."

Wisconsin will practice again this afternoon in front of the largest audience of fall camp. Donors to the program are invited to an event at practice this afternoon, for their one chance to see the Badgers in action before the season opener August 23. Selected coaches and players will talk to the donors following practice.

Here are some notes/thoughts from Wednesday morning's practice:

- Erasmus James, Jake Sprague and Jim Leonhard were wearing black jerseys, as recognition for them having outstanding scrimmages yesterday. James has played his way onto the No. 1 defensive line, while Sprague reportedly had an outstanding scrimmage yesterday causing havoc in the backfield. Leonhard has been very solid in his promotion to the No. 1 defense, in addition to his presence in the return game.

"He's the most consistent guy we have (on kick/punt return)," Alvarez said. "We all have a lot of confidence in Jimmy, both in the secondary and as a returner. He's got excellent speed, probably runs faster than Nick Davis, and I think he'll do a nice job for us."

- If anybody else is going to make an impression in camp and work their way into the two-deep, they better do it quick. There are only a handful of practices and one more scrimmage before the Badger staff will make some decisions and split the roster into the two-deep and scout team offense/defense. Preparation for the Fresno State game begins early next week, including film work and installation of the Bulldogs' schemes into practice.

As of right now, Coach Barry Alvarez said he's anticipating using eight new players this season.

"I think we're going to get about what I anticipated, right around eight new guys," Alvarez said. "That's a pretty good percentage. And I think this is a very good class."

Alvarez declined to name the eight guys he will use this year, but said it should be fairly obvious by looking at which players have been working with the first and second teams. Players that have received extended looks with the top two units include Scott Campbell, Alex Lewis, Tony Moss, Lamarr Watkins, Levonne Rowan, Dwayne Smith, Booker Stanley, Brandon Williams and Mark Zalewski. Walk-ons Cody Childs and Jeff Holzbauer also have a chance to contribute, primarily on special teams.

- Rowan made a nice read for an interception during skeleton drills. He is fighting for playing time in the secondary rotation.

"He's very athletic. Tremendous speed, he has sprinter's speed, he's very long, he's a big corner," Alvarez said of Rowan. "He's learning as he goes along, and he's a fast learner. But he's very athletic and very competitive. He's raw. He has a long way to go, but he certainly has a lot of ability."

- Zalewski played with the No. 1 defense during the morning session again, with Jeff Mack missing practice with class.

- Dan Buenning attended Thursday morning's practice but has not returned to action.

- For those asking about linebacker Howard Boye-Doe, he is reportedly still with the program, but is not participating in fall camp.

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