Monday Practice Report

The Badgers held their fourth practice of spring football Monday afternoon at the McClain Center. Here are news and notes from the practice:

- Today's practice was held in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts only, after going full pads on Saturday morning.

- We had the first change on either No. 1 unit this spring, as Chuckie Cowans has been moved to starting cornerback opposite Scott Starks. Sophomore Levonne Rowan began the spring starting at that position. As mentioned in Saturday's practice report, Cowans and Robert Brooks have both looked extremely impressive, enough that new DB coach Ron Lee is considering them for starting status.

Cowans played the entire day as a No. 1 CB, while Brett Bell shifted over to left cornerback opposite Rowan on the No. 2 unit. Travaan Hayes is also getting more reps, and Lee said he's been happy with his play as well. At the very least, Brooks should be the frontrunner to be the top nickel back. He also received some reps with the No. 1 defense at strong safety during Monday's practice.

It should be noted if Cowans were to hold onto the starting spot into the fall, the Badgers' average height in the secondary would be around 5-9. But Cowans has shown great athleticism and playmaking ability, and there figures to be a lot more maneuvering over the next four months.

- Brandon Williams continues to look explosive, and the play of the day was John Stocco throwing a picture-perfect spiral down the middle of the field to Williams, who had burned past Patrick Ellestad on a deep route.

- While Donovan Raiola looks solid at the starting center position, Jason Palermo has really stood out in individual drills and seems to have steadily improved since his move to center. Mike Lorenz has also had an outstanding spring and should have few problems holding onto the right tackle position. Morgan Davis and Jake Wood are still battling for the left tackle position (and it likely won't be settled for a long time), with Davis currently getting more reps with the No. 1 offense.

- Jeff Mack missed practice (presumably for a class conflict), and his spot was filled by Kyle McCorison. With Mack out, Alex Lewis got some reps at the Mike linebacker position as well. But as we will detail in the next print edition of Badger Nation, the Mike and Eagle linebacker positions have changed a little bit. Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove has made some subtle changes in each position's responsibilities, making them more similar than they were last season. Expect to see more rotation amongst those two positions because of their new similarities.

- A substantial portion at the end of practice was dedicated to the installation of more looks offensively and defensively. Throughout the first three practices, the Badgers were operating with very basic formations on both sides of the ball. There is just one more practice left before a two-week hiatus (Wednesday afternoon), after which a lot more will be thrown into the mix.

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