Sunday Bowl Practice Report

Here are some notes from Sunday's bowl practice from Badger Nation contributor Cary Dohman.

On a day when Wisconsin's Alamo Bowl opponent was announced, the Badgers were hard at work preparing for their showdown with Colorado Dec. 28. Wisconsin completed its third consecutive day of practice following a week of rest after its victory against Minnesota. Here is a rundown of notes about today's practice:

- The Badgers got some bad news concerning the status of quarterback Owen Daniels. Daniels injured his knee during Saturday's practice and will be out for the rest of the season.

"He just stepped on a foot," Alvarez said. "A guy was in front of him and he caught the ball and he stepped on a foot and twisted that knee. It doesn't look good. He is probably going to need surgery."

Prior to the injury there was serious discussion amongst the coaching staff that he might move to the tight end position. The coaching staff had been extremely excited about the possibility of lining him up in that slot.

"I was really impressed how he was coming along," Alvarez said. "We were actually working him into the game plan at tight end because we thought it was a natural position and he surprised us, how fast he picked it up and how he ran routes. He gave us some 4.6 speed there where he can give us some separation from linebackers. He can get down the middle in a two-deep zone. He can catch the ball and he is smart. We were really fired up on him."

- On a more positive note, linebacker Jeff Mack is coming along nicely in his recuperation. Mack, who missed six games this season due to a shoulder injury, came back from his injury to play in the regular season finale against Minnesota. Mack continued to practice in full contact drills and seemed to be running blitz schemes like he was never injured. "I'm not 100 percent yet, Mack said. "I am probably around 85-90 percent. It feels good. It feels fine. Right now it's just getting back into the swing of things, getting the timing down, getting our disguises down, getting comfortable. Right now it feels pretty good and I am ready to do more conditioning this week."

- With the struggles that the kicking game has gone through in the 2002 season, one area that needs to be addressed is the punting game. Alvarez commented on that after practice:

"If I can find (a punter) I have set aside a spot," Alvarez said. "If we can find a punter that we like that's worth a scholarship. I have sent a letter out to all the coaches in the state. I have got some responses back, even from Minnesota."

- Safety Jim Leonhard looked better in practice today as he continued to return punts and participate in full-contact drills without his injury seeming to bother him. But Scott Starks and Brandon Williams continued to return punts today in case problems occur with Leonhard's hand.

- With injuries that needed more healing, the break was nice to take a week off, but Wisconsin will once again increase it's conditioning soon in preparation for their game against Colorado.

"We did take a week break," Mack said. "So now we have to get back in the swing of things, start running a little more, and just get everything going again."

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