UW Health Sports Medicine 

March 2010 Archives

"The Voice" with Matt Lepay

Admit it Badger fan.  You are really struggling with the fact that Michigan State is going back to the Final Four. I understand. It can be very difficult to appreciate the success of Bucky's big basketball rival. Yet, the Spartans did it again. Now all I can do is stand and applaud.

UW Class of 2010: Gasser named Wisconsin player of the year

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The Badgers' 2009-10 season may still be warm, but it's never too early to start looking at next season is it? With that in mind, congratulations go out to Wisconsin's Class of 2010 signee Josh Gasser (pronounced GAH-ser), who was named the 2010 Gatorade Wisconsin boys basketball player of the year.

Thumbnail image for 1852ce06-a96e-11de-a1f0-001cc4c03286.preview-300.jpgThe award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Gasser as Wisconsin's best high school boys basketball player.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior point guard led the Pirates (19-5) to the Division 2 state tournament regional finals this past season, averaging 23.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game. A returning Division 2 First Team All-State selection as named by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association, Gasser shot 50.3 percent from the field and 84.5 percent from the free-throw line this winter. Also a 2010 McDonald's High School All-American Game selection committee nominee, he averaged 22 points, 11 rebounds and three assists as a junior.

Gasser has maintained a 3.58 GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating his time on behalf of the Special Olympics and as a youth basketball instructor, he has volunteered as part of an elementary school literacy-outreach program, a grounds-keeping effort at a local nature preserve and a holiday gift-giving campaign for underprivileged children.

Gasser is joined in UW's Class of 2010 by 6-foot-11 center Evan Anderson (Eau Claire, Wis.) and 6-foot-8 forward Duje Dukan (Deerfield, Ill.).

Complete Signing day story with bios of the Class of 2010

Game on!

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

One more blog before spring break!!

I love a sunny day, and I love my drive into work along the Lake as my radio is playing the hits from the 80s and 90s. How can you not be happy to start your day listening to the Safety Dance or Maniac Monday?  

It is the Friday before spring break, and I feel like we are the only coaches working today. I have finished my last individual meetings for the week with the team. I make it a point in the spring to meet with each player to review their performance in the most recent games. I feel this feedback along with video and individual sessions really improves our player development in the spring. The spring is where we really have time to develop the team, so I view this as a very important time of the year.

Spring break, FB-style

We've all heard the stories from spring break (some of us may have also lived them). So what tropical locations are the Badger football players off to as Spring Break 2010 commences?

QB Scott Tolzien - home to Illinois (maybe an elementary school visit in there as well ... here's a video of a first/second grade class at Scott's old grammar school)

DB Aaron Henry - staying in Madison (plane fare to Florida was too expensive to get back home this week)

LB Chris Borland - home to Ohio (a bunch of the Ohio guys are driving back together, thanks to Jeff Duckworth's dad)

DE J.J. Watt - home to Pewaukee (and most likely a trip back to see his old teammates at Central Michigan .. with some school visits mixed in as well)

RB Montee Ball - staying in Madison (his parents now live in Middleton so I guess you can say he's going home)

DT Patrick Butrym
- home to Milwaukee (maybe a trip up north sometime during the week)

As you can see, I didn't poll everyone on the team but I couldn't find anyone that was hitting a traditional Spring Break locale. Everyone I talked to was looking forward to some home cooking by mom. Maybe I'll get some good stories after everyone comes back.

Penney looking for NBA look

Former Wisconsin legend Kirk Penney is back in the United States trying to crack an NBA roster for the stretch run. After completing another successful season for the New Zealand Breakers, Penney recently signed with the Sioux Falls Sky Force of the NBA D-League. He is scheduled to make his debut Friday night vs. the Springfield Armor.

DF0111075-PENNEY2.jpgAfter earning back-to-back first-team All-Big Ten honors at Wisconsin, Penney had brief stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat before spending five seasons playing overseas in Europe and his native country New Zealand.

In signing with the Sky Force, Penney joins former Badgers Greg Stiemsma and Joe Krabbenhoft on the roster. Tanner Bronson also serves as an assistant coach for Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls coach Tony Fritz told the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader:

"We have great leadership on this team, and to add a guy that's played internationally and can come into a nice role can only benefit you," Fritz said, adding that Penney's ability to shoot at a high percentage should open up the offense.

"We need someone who can really stretch the floor for us, so guys like Greg (Stiemsma), Ray (Sykes) and (Alexander Johnson) can dominate the middle like they have been."

Added Penney on his new home: "This team has already established itself. I'll just try to fit in where I can and enjoy being on what seems to be a great team with great guys."

Krabbenhoft, who returned to the Sky Force after playing in Korea, is averaging 12.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Stiemsma, who has started 40 of 41 games, is averaging 8.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and a team-high 3.5 blocks.

Elsewhere in the NBDL, Marcus Landry has been turning heads since being optioned from the Boston Celtics to the Maine Red Claws. In nine games with Maine, Landry is averaging 11.6 points per game, highlighted by a 34-point night that included eight 3-pointers on March 21.

Brian Butch continues to post some of the league's top numbers, averaging 18.0 points and 11.6 rebounds per game for the Bakersfield Jam. In a 120-109 win over the Tulsa 66ers on Thursday, Butch posted game-highs with 33 points and 15 rebounds.

Butch is also keeping his daily blog on BigTenNetwork.com that is worth a read.

Photo of the Day: March 26

This will be the final Photo of the Day until Spring Break is over on Monday, April 5.

Before the start of yesterday's practice, defensive coordinator Dave Doeren instructs LBs Mike Taylor, Culmer St. Jean and Chris Borland. Those three look to be the starters at LB once fall camp starts but all three are currently sitting out of spring drills (Taylor and Borland are out until the start of summer conditioning while St. Jean sprained his ankle last week and could be back when spring break is over).

Practice8_1.jpgBadger fans can now comment on UWBadgers.com blogs. To be eligible to have your comment posted on a blog, please include your full name and email address. Click the headline above to show the comment box or click the "comments" link above.

Spring practice report No. 8

In its last practice before spring break, the Wisconsin football team was inside the McClain Center for 24 periods in front of a large contingent of Wisconsin high school football coaches from across the state.

They were in attendance as part of the 34th annual Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Football Clinic. All coaches were extended an open invitation to attend practice. Among the speakers of note at the clinic will be NFL head coaches Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens and Bronco Mendenhall, head coach of Brigham Young University, former Purdue head coach Joe Tiller, and more.

"That was hump day, practice No. 8 so we are officially over halfway through," head coach Bret Bielema said after practice. "I thought for the most part the guys have really competed well, good energy, good excitement."

Watch highlights from practice and Coach Bielema's complete post-practice media session

Defense on top
Early enrollee and DL Warren Herring made his presence known as the second units squared off against one another. A fake handoff up the middle led to an end-around for WR Jared Abberderis, but Herring was there to greet him and snuff out the play for a loss.

With the No. 1 offense going against the No. 2 defense, LB Coddye Ring-Noonan blitzed up the middle and batted down a pass on his way to the quarterback. Not long after, DE David Gilbert was able to penetrate off the end and bring down RB Zach Brown in the backfield on a sweep left.

Practice No. 8 Photo Gallery

Later in practice, WR Jeff Duckworth caught a pass underneath and turned up field. He didn't tuck the ball away enough though as linebacker Kevin Claxton was able to punch it out, resulting in a turnover for the defense.

The "move the ball drill" didn't really live up to its name as the defenses limited what the offenses were able to accomplish. The first unit achieved only one first down, while neither the No. 1 or No. 2 offenses were able to move the ball past their own 30-yard line.

One bright spot for the offense came during the red zone period. The Noi. 2 offense produced two TDs, one on an 18-yard TD pass from QB Jon Budmayr to WR Jeff Duckworth and the other on a nice run by newly converted RB Kyle Zuleger.

Getting better
After practice, Coach Bielema singled out FS Aaron Henry and CB Antonio Fenelus as two players who have made big jumps during the first two weeks of spring ball. On offense, Bielema noted offensive linemen Jake Current, Travis Frederick, Ricky Wagner and Josh Oglesby for their performance thus far.

poles.jpgWhat's with the poles?
One of the curiosities of the spring has been the use of poles (pictured right) during the Badgers' special teams work, specifically the punt team. The poles are used as spacers in UW's spread punt formation, ensuring everyone lines up the correct distance from the man inside of them.

Back in the fold and ready to roll
LT Gabe Carimi participated in his first full practice of the spring and wasted no time mixing it up. He was involved in a couple of small dustups, one with CB Marcus Cromartie and the other with DE J.J. Watt. You could tell he was ready to start hitting people. After practice Coach Bielema joked that he was down in the locker room and Watt and Carimi "kissed and made up." He also referenced a flare up between Joe Thomas and Joe Monty during his first year as a head coach. When he asked Thomas what the deal was, Joe responded, "It had to happen."

Be smart

That was the message coach Bielema had for his team as practice ended. With spring break approaching he told the players to enjoy their time off but to be safe and smart. He told them not to do anything that would take away from all the hard work they've put in through winter conditioning and the first half of spring practice. Bielema also emphasized making sure those that were going home spent time with their families, not just their friends.

The team will reconvene on for a meeting on Monday, April 5, while practice resumes on Tuesday, April 6 at 3:45 p.m.

Badger fans can now comment on UWBadgers.com blogs. To be eligible to have your comment posted on a blog, please include your full name and email address. Click the headline above to show the comment box or click the "comments" link above.
The 34th annual Wisconsin High School Coaches Association Football Clinic is being held Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Madison. As is usually the case, head coach Bret Bielema has invited the attendees to watch practice today, which takes place at 3 p.m. on the practice field in the McClain Center. It is UW's last practice before Spring Break starts on Saturday.

There is a terrific lineup of guest speakers and presenters, including former Purdue head coach Joe Tiller, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbough and defensive coordinator (and Madison native) Greg Mattison and former UW assistant and current Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress. In addition, coach Bielema, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and defensive coordinator Dave Doeren will make presentations.Tomorrow night, the entire Badger staff is available during an informal Q&A session.

Photo of the Day: March 25

UW started practice on Tuesday with a new twist on the "Badger" drill. Instead of everyone lining up on the goal line and going down the line, the entire team went out to midfield and head coach Bret Bielema called out two names to go heads up. Here, TE Lance Kendricks and DE Louis Nzegwu go at it:

Badger drill.jpgBadger fans can now comment on UWBadgers.com blogs. To be eligible to have your comment posted on a blog, please include your full name and email address. Click the headline above to show the comment box or click the "comments" link above. 

ESPN.com complete Badger spring FB preview

ESPNcom_3_24_10.jpgCheck out the front page of ESPN.com football's site right now:

That's the Badgers front and center.

Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg was in Madison last week and talked to head coach Bret Bielema and a number of players.

You can check out Adam's video interview with Coach Bielema, his story on UW contending for a Big Ten title in 2010 and his story on the Badgers' potent offense.

The front page with all the links is right here.

Badger fans can now comment on UWBadgers.com blogs. To be eligible to have your comment posted on a blog, please include your full name and email address. Click the headline above to show the comment box or click the "comments" link above. 

Photo of the Day: March 24

LB Chris Borland at a recent practice, sporting a new haircut and showing off his arm in case Coach Chryst wants to add some depth at QB:


Spring practice report No. 7

The Badgers practiced outside again on Tuesday for 24 periods, their seventh practice of the spring. They have just one more practice, Thursday, before Spring Break starts on Saturday.

Watch highlights from practice as well as head coach Bret Bielema's post-practice interview

Badger fans and anyone who has watched Wisconsin football regularly the last couple of years is well versed in the numerous reverses that are a staple of UW's running game. They were on full display during the middle of practice when the Badgers went 11-on-11.

In the span of about five plays, UW ran the tight end around with Lance Kendricks that was so successful against Purdue last year then ran successive fly sweeps with wide receivers David Gilreath and Isaac Anderson. Later in the period, Gilreath was the recipient of another fly sweep handoff. The period was reminiscent to the Badgers win at Indiana in 2008 (at least according to one astute media member in attendance).

toon.jpgRedundant, again
News flash - Nick Toon makes big catches. These spring practice reports sometimes seem like a broken record. During the parts of practice that I really paid attention to (two hours is a long time to concentrate, plus I have to take all those great photos), there were three main periods that caught my eye, red zone skelly, 11-on-11 red zone and, for the first time this spring, 11-on-11 2-minute drill. Toon came up big in all three phases.

In the beginning of red zone skelly, Toon made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone for a score. On the final play of the period, he made another TD grab, tip toeing the same sideline.

When the full team got together for red zone, Toon again hauled in a TD then caught a crossing route that very well may have gotten into the end zone (there was no tackling during practice today).

Toon saved his best for last, however. During the 2-minute drill, the No. 1 offense drove down to the four-yard line with six seconds left on the clock. Toon contributed two of the catches to get them down there while RB Zach Brown took a dump off and shook a linebacker for a big gain on 3rd-and-10.

On the final play of the drive, QB Scott Tolzien looked for Toon on a fade in the right side of the end zone. Toon outjumped FS Aaron Henry and the two fell to the ground with Toon cluthing the ball and Henry's arm. TD Badgers!

Practice No. 7 Photo Gallery

Defense does not rest
That's not to say UW's defense wasn't heard from during practice. In the red zone skelly period, Henry and CB Devin Smith combined to break up what looked like a TD pass to RB Bradie Ewing out of the backfield. Henry also recorded an interception at the goal line during the 11-on-11 red zone period, as Tolzien rolled to his right and tried to squeeze a pass into Toon.

The No. 2 defense was also able to stop the No. 2 offense in the 2-minute drill. QB Jon Budmayr and WR Jared Abbrederis, who hooked up on a long pass during skelly, nearly ended the 2-minute drill on the first play but another bomb from Budmayr to Abbrederis just went off his fingertips. The offense was able to drive inside the 25-yard line but after a few near misses, time ran out.     

Injury update
Head coach Bret Bielema said that QB Curt Phillips suffered a torn ACL during Saturday's scrimmage.

"Right now we're just waiting for the swelling to go down and he'll have surgery here in the next couple of weeks," Bielema said after practice. "Obviously disappointed for him but all indications are that he'll come back and be able to rehab. There is probably a potential hope for the season next year, but really that's up in the air. Every knee injury comes about a little bit differently."

Coach Bielema also said that OL Gabe Carimi, OL John Moffitt and DL Brendan Kelly all appear to be on track to join practice following spring break. TE Brian Wozniak strained his MCL on Saturday and Bielema hopes to have him back after spring break, possibly for the last week of practice.

Spring games underway

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

Another day and another blog! It was a crazy weekend this past weekend as we had three games in two days. Needless to say, the players were sore and tired at the end of our third game on Sunday afternoon.

We started the weekend with a match on Saturday against Illinois State in Normal, Ill.  I completely enjoyed the three and a half hour trip to Illinois State with a great group of players in my van. It was very quiet as they all studied in the van. We had a successful trip to Illinois State winning 4-1, but the game was a little funky as we only played 9 v 9.  It took a while for our players to figure out the system and get their rhythm back playing against outside competition. The big goal scorer of the game was Paige Adams with her first hat trick of her career here at Wisconsin.

After the game, we immediately got back in the vans and headed back to Madison. We got home around 8 pm just in time to have the players get home, eat and sleep to prepare for their next game at 10:30 am on Sunday. It was a grueling schedule, but we wanted to push the players out of their comfort zones physically.  We played Central Michigan at 10:30 am and drew, 0-0. I was disappointed with the result and performance. However, this is what the spring is all about, challenging players and playing them in different roles along with developing the entire program's mentality. As I told the players, this is a continuous process, and one we must continue to work on together. 

Joe Thomas earns new fan

I was still the main person on men's basketball during Joe Thomas' career as a Badger but I helped out with football enough to know that Joe was a first-class person. Most of the world found out a little about what kind of guy he was when he declined an invitation to the NFL Draft in New York to go fishing with his dad.

Joe provided another example on a recent NFL-USO Tour of Afghanistan. He was moved by a short meeting with an Army soldier. He was so touched by the soldier's story that when Joe returned to the states, he looked up the soldier's mom and sent her an email telling her how brave her son was and how much Joe appreciated what he was doing. The mother reached out to the media in Cleveland and this story was the result.

At a time when a lot of news outlets focus on the negative things professional athletes are involved in it is very refreshing to have a person like Joe Thomas associated with the university. Hopefully he makes a lot of people proud to be Badger fans.

March 23: Photo of the Day

Defensive back Dezmen Southward skies to catch a ball during drills in the beginning of yesterday's practice:

start 109.jpg

Field of 32: Making 32 observations until 2nd round tip-off

After the success of the first round's 'Field of 64', @BadgerMBBall is back at it with the 'Field of 32' for round two. Leading up to Sunday's NCAA tournament game between No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 12 Cornell, @BadgerMBBall sent out 32 Tweets with observations and commentary from the Badgers' stay in Jacksonville. Follow along to get them in real time (http://twitter.com/BadgerMBBall).

If you're not a follower, here's what you missed...

1. Tip-off Wisconsin vs. Cornell!

2. Hard to tell the difference between the Cornell and Wisconsin sections today ... lots of red in the building

3. Philly connections all over the place in Jax ... Bo Ryan and Cornell coach Steve Donahue grew up 15 yrs & 10 mi apart

4. Game officials for today: Anthony Greene, Scott Thornley, Mike Kitts

5. Starting lineup for Wisconsin: G Trevon Hughes, G Jordan Taylor, G Jason Bohannon, F Keaton Nankivil, F Jon Leuer

6. Starting lineup for Cornell: G Louis Dale, G Chris Wroblewski, F Ryan Wittman, F Jon Jaques, C Jeff Foote

7. During the national anthem, Cornell's cheering section yells out loud when the word "Red!" comes up

8. The UW band just finished up the national anthem ... best version of the Star Spangled Banner yet in Jacksonville

9. Family affair today with Leuer, Taylor, Jarmusz, Nankivil & Bohannon families in the seats to take in the game

Balanced success

With "March Madness" in full bloom, I thought it would be appropriate to see how the UW athletic department stacks up with other schools around the country in terms of regular-season success.

B_Smith.jpgThere are currently 35 schools that compete at the Division I level in men's basketball, women's basketball and men's hockey. Among those schools are Big Ten members Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State as well as "big-names" such as Notre Dame, Connecticut and Boston College.

Out of those 35 schools, only two qualified teams for the NCAA tournament in all three sports. One, obviously, is the Badgers or I probably wouldn't be writing this. The other is Vermont who, coincidently, was paired up against UW in the first round of both the women's basketball and men's hockey tournaments (the Badger men's hockey team will look for revenge for the loss Vermont hung on the women's hoops team).

It is just the second time in school history all three Badger teams advanced to the NCAA tournament. The only other time was in 2001 when UW was a No. 6 seed in men's basketball, a No. 7 seed in women's basketball and a No. 4 seed in men's hockey. This year, men's hoops was a No. 4 seed, women's hoops a No. 7 and men's hockey a No. 1.

The Voice with Matt Lepay

You might be surprised to know that the most moving moment your friendly blogger experienced this past weekend had nothing to do with the NCAA basketball tournament.  Rather, it was all about college wrestling. 

Spring practice report No. 6

After a day off on Sunday, the football team was back in action on Monday afternoon. The team practiced for 24 periods, or roughly two hours, outside in Camp Randall Stadium wearing full pads.

Practice No. 6 Photo Gallery

Secondary shines
The secondary had a couple of big plays during the practice. Junior Antonio Fenelus had himself a solid day of practice, making multiple plays in the secondary. He broke up a pair of passes and intercepted a fade pass deep down the far sideline. During skelly, senior Jay Valai broke in front of a Jon Budmayr pass and picked it off. It likely would have gone for a touchdown in a game. Aaron Henry also got into the act late in practice as he broke up a deep pass from Scott Tolzien intended for Isaac Anderson.

Post-practice interviews with QB Scott Tolzien, OL Bill Nagy and WR Isaac Anderson

Kendricks already in Bowl form
If you'll recall the Champs Sports Bowl, senior tight end Lance Kendricks had big blocks on each of John Clay's touchdown runs, flattening the opposition in the process. He showed that blocking prowess again in the "move the ball" drill on Monday to earn our Play of the Day. On a counter play to the left, Kendricks threw down a pancake block on Henry to create a hole for Zach Brown, much to the delight of his offensive brethren.

start 188.jpgSame faces, different places
A couple of position changes occurred on Monday as a pair of defensive backs found new homes on the other side of the ball. Redshirt freshman Kyle Zuleger (pictured above) was taking snaps at running back, while redshirt junior Chukwuma Offor was lined up at wide receiver. During the "move the ball" drill at the end of practice, Zuleger was standing right next to running backs coach John Settle as Settle pointed things out to the new back.

News and Notes
Head coach Bret Bielema was mic'd up for the beginning of practice. Be sure to check back to UWBadgers.com for the full video ... Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith from the Big Ten Network were both in attendance, as were recently departed seniors Garrett Graham and Jeff Stehle ... the Badgers are back tomorrow for practice outside in Camp Randall. The team is schedule to go in half-packs ... quarterback Curt Phillips, linebacker Culmer St. Jean and tight end Brian Wozniak  did not practice after sustaining injuries on Saturday

News and Notes for Monday's practice

We will be outside again as there is "plentiful" sunshine and it is currently 53 degrees. Full pads today.

Practice4_1.jpgGerry DiNardo, the former head coach of Indiana and LSU and current Big Ten Network analyst, is in the house to watch practice.

Adam Rittenberg from ESPN.com says his full "Badger Spring Football" package will be online on Wednesday. He was in town last week, talked to a bunch of players and coaches, sat in on some meetings and watched practice.

Final Bo Ryan radio show tonight at 7 p.m.

Join Bo Ryan and the entire Wisconsin men's basketball team tonight at the Great Dane Hilldale (357 Price Place) for the final Bo Ryan radio show of the season. Admission as always is free and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Thumbnail image for Ryan_SD_fundraiser.jpg

Alongside hosts Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas, Ryan will recap the season including the Badgers' postseason run to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Ryan's show is broadcast statewide on the Wisconsin Radio Network. Here is a complete list of local stationscarrying the program.

Stop out and show your support for the team after another great season.

Photo of the Day: March 22

Nick Toon had plenty to celebrate about after his great TD catch during Saturday's scrimmage (too bad this photo was taken as the team was stretching before practice):


Historic night for Wisconsin wrestling

In case you missed it last night, sophomore Andrew Howe capped off a perfect season with a national championship at 165 lbs. He finished the year with a 37-0 record to become the fourth wrestler in UW history to go undefeated.

In addition, the team finished fourth which ties for the best finish at the NCAAs in school history. They also did it in 1976 and 1978.

Lastly, head coach Barry Davis was honored as the NWCA National Coach of the Year.

Read all about it in our Session VI Recap.

After the event was over, the team convened at a local restaurant with lots of family, friends and UW supporters to celebrate one of the best seasons in Wisconsin wrestling history.

We're on our way back to Madison now. We left Omaha at about 8:15 this morning. The bus has satellite TV so hoping it'll work for us to watch some basketball later in the day. As for now, we're watching Twilight. Nope, not a typo.

All three coaches' wives are on the bus and they won out in the movie selection. Coach Davis said it was a reward for them for all they put up with during the season. I'm thinking this is going to be time for the guys to get some sleep after a big night.

Howe goes for NCAA title tonight

Sophomore Andrew Howe is looking to cap off his season with an NCAA championship tonight at 165 lbs. at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

The session kicks off at 6:30 and can be seen live on ESPN.

Howe faces Dan Vallimont of Penn State. They have already met twice this year, with Howe winning 7-2 in the dual matchup and 3-1 in the Big Ten Championship semifinals. Howe also beat Vallimont last season, 3-2.

As a team, Wisconsin sits in fifth place with 66.5 points. The best finish in school history came in 1976 when the team finished fourth. The team's best finish under Barry Davis is ninth, which happened in 2000 and 2009.

Howe (36-0) is looking to become the 13th different NCAA Champion in school history and the first since current UW Associate Head Coach won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.

Howe also has a chance to be just the fourth Badger to go undefeated in a single season, joining Matt Demaray (42-0 in 1990-91), Andy Rein (40-0 in 1979-80) and Lee Kemp (39-0 in 1975-76).

I talked with assistant head coach Jared Frayer about 10 minutes ago and he says Andrew is feeling good leading up to the match. Frayer said one of the big things is that Andrew has been in this position before (he was a runner-up last season) so he knows what to expect. 

Spring practice report No. 5

For the first time this spring, UW took part in a live scrimmage. After 45 minutes of individual drills, which included some work on the punt team, the Badgers took a water break and broke into their offensive and defensive units for some old-fashioned American football, complete with officials and tackling.

Practice No. 5 Photo Gallery

The scrimmage consisted of some situational play. It began with first and second down, where everything started at first-and-10 and the ball was spotted for second down wherever the result of the first down play was. Then the Badgers worked on third downs, starting with 3rd-and-2 and gradually moving the ball back to 3rd-and-12. There were then two drives (ones vs. ones and twos vs. twos) of "move the ball" (basically football as you would see in a game). Practice ended with some work in the red zone followed by about 10 plays for the No. 3 offense and defense.  

"I thought the scrimmage went well," head coach Bret Bielema said. "A couple guys jumped out. I think Jon (Budmayr) can throw the ball around pretty good, which is evident. Jared Abbrederis, if you've been watching practice, has really come along well at the wide receiver spot. It was also nice to see some hits on defense."

Head coach Bret Bielema's complete post-practice media session (video)

The defense set the tone on the very first play as CB Antonio Fenelus came up to drop RB Montee Ball for a two-yard loss on a toss play. Later in that series involving the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense, LB Kevin Rouse intercepted a pass from QB Scott Tolzien as the defensive line was pressuring Tolzien.

During the third-down drills, Tolzien hooked up with WR Kyle Jefferson for conversions on consecutive 3rd-and-long situations. Jon Budmayr also had a nice conversion of a 3rd-and-long, hitting fellow freshman Jeff Duckworth on about a 15-yard gain after he was flushed out of the pocket.

In the two drives of "move the ball" the defense won one and the offense won one. When the No. 1 offense and defense squared off, Fenelus ended the drive by intercepting Tolzien's pass on a rollout to the right.

The No. 2 offense got revenge when Budmayr marched them down the field for a score. Zach Brown got the drive started with a 12-yard scamper, cutting to the outside to find running room. Budmayr then hit Jefferson and TE Jacob Pederson each for about 12 yards. On first-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Ball looked as though he would score but DT Ethan Hemer came up with a big hit to keep him out of the end zone. Following a procedure penalty, Ball got his touchdown from six yards out, making a great cutback to hit pay dirt.

Practice5_7.jpgThe No. 1 offense got two cracks in the red zone drill and was 1-for-2. On the first drive, tight coverage by Fenelus on Nick Toon forced a 3rd-and-long. J.J. Watt then came up with a sack to halt the scoring threat.

On the next drive, Toon and Tolzien hooked up for about a 15-yard touchdown that was eerily reminiscent of Toon's "Play of the Year" http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/121109aal.html catch vs. Michigan last season. Matched up 1-on-1 with CB Devin Smith, Toon jumped over Smith and was able to come down with the ball despite Smith being flagged for pass interference.

When the No. 3 offense and the No. 3 defense squared off, WR Jared Abbrederis again came up with a big play, hauling in about a 60-yard touchdown pass from QB Nate Tice.

With only three healthy running backs in the spring, Bradie Ewing got his share of work and then some. Ewing lined up at fullback for many of the plays with the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses then saw some time at tailback with the No. 3s.

QB Curt Phillips and TE Brian Wozniak both left the scrimmage with injuries. Coach Bielema did not know the extent of the injuries after practice.

Faces in the Crowd
Among the large crowd in attendance to witness the scrimmage was Mike Tice, father of UW quarterback Nate Tice and offensive line coach for the Chicago Bears ... former UW assistant coach Jay Hayes, now the defensive line coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, was also in attendance ... former Badger players included Taylor Mehlhaff, Mickey Turner and Garrett Graham

Scouting Report

Wisconsin took the floor Saturday for it's closed practice at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Assistant Coach Howard Moore led the team through the scouting report for Sunday's opponent Cornell.

Moore has been breaking down the Big Red ever since the brackets were announced last Sunday, however the Badgers know one day of on-court preparation is a major challenge.

Head coach Bo Ryan said in his press conference Saturday that he has had several coaching friends call him with the same message: "A coach's worst nightmare is preparing for Cornell in one day."

NCAA_Jax 061sm.jpg

Practice, press and pasta

The Badgers' bus pulled out of Madison on Friday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. CT. The travel party got a slightly later start than planned after remaining in Madison until the conclusion of the UW men's basketball game against Wofford in the opening round of their NCAA tournament. Fortunately, the Badgers pulled off the "W" in the nail-biter, advancing to face Cornell in the second round.


Brandvold places sixth at NCAA Championships

No. 5 seed Trevor Brandvold finished in sixth place at 197 lbs., at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships with a 7-0 loss to No. 6 Eric Lapotsky of Oklahoma.

Lapotsky earned a takedown with 2:04 remaining in the first period, then added two nearfall points at the very end of the stanza to lead 4-0.

The second period started in neutral but Lapotsky extended his lead to 6-0 with a takedown with 40 seconds left. Brandvold then started down in third period but was unable to score. Riding time made it a 7-0 final for Lapotsky.

Ruschell places fourth at NCAA Championships

Senior Kyle Ruschell entered the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships as the No. 4 seed at 149 lbs., and the seeding held true as he was defeated by No. 3 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma, 5-4, in the third place match.

Terry got a takedown 32 seconds into the match to lead 2-0, but Ruschell answered with a reversal with 1:42 to go in the period. Terry went ahead 3-2 though with an escape six seconds after Ruschell's takedown. Terry added to his lead with a 5-2 takedown with 41 seconds to go.

The second period was scoreless, although Ruschell nearly scored a takedown at the end of the period, but the action went off the mat before that could happen.

Terry started down in the third period and Ruschell was able to add two nearfall points 16 seconds into the frame. Ruschell rode him for the duration of the match but was unable to turn him to earn additional points.

Ruschell is a two-time All-American, placing third last season and fourth this season.

Graff takes fifth at NCAA Championships

No. 8 Tyler Graff took home fifth place at 133 lbs., at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships with a 5-3 decision over No. 6 Dan Mitcheff of Kent State.

Graff had a 2-0 lead just 25 seconds into the match with a takedown. Mitcheff escaped 22 seconds later to leave the score at 2-1 in favor of Graff after the first period.

Mitcheff started down in the second period and tied the match at 2-2 with an escape five seconds into the frame. Graff regained the lead though at 4-2 with 27 seconds left in the period. With five seconds left, Mitcheff was able to escape to cut the lead to 4-3 after two periods.

In the final period, Graff started down but escaped just 12 seconds in. He was able to stave off repeated takedown attempts to capture fifth place.

Brandvold shut out in consolation semis

No. 5 Trevor Brandvold was shut out, 10-0, in the consolation semifinals by No. 3 Hudson Taylor of Maryland. Brandvold now will wrestle for fifth place.

Taylor started with a takedown two minutes into the match and then added three nearfall points to lead 5-0 after the first period.

The second period started in neutral, but Taylor took down Brandvold with 55 seconds left in the period to lead 7-0 after two.

Taylor started down in the third period but reversed Brandvold to lead 9-0. Riding time made it 10-0.

Brandvold will now wrestle for fifth place against No. 6 Eric Lapotsky of Oklahoma.

Ruschell beats Molinaro to move to third place match

No. 4 seed Kyle Ruschell defeated Big Ten foe and No. 5 seed Frank Molinaro of Penn State, 7-1, to advance to the third place match for the second year in a row.

Ruschell, who entered the match 1-1 against Molinaro this year, got a takedown 29 seconds into the match to lead 2-0. He then rode him for the rest of the first period to establish riding time.

In the second period, Ruschell started down but scored a reversal four seconds into the frame to move ahead 4-0. Like in the first, Ruschell was able to ride out Molinaro for the rest of the period.

The wrestlers started in neutral for the third period, but Ruschell earned his third takedown of the match with 33 seconds to go. Molinaro got his lone point with an escape with seven seconds left, but an impressive riding time of 4:45 for Ruschell gave him the 7-1 win.

Ruschell will wrestle No. 3 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma for third place.

Graff to wrestle for fifth place

No. 8 seed Tyler Graff will wrestle for fifth place at 133 lbs., after being pinned by No. 3 Franklin Gomez at the 3:36 mark in the consolation semifinals.

Gomez got the early lead with a takedown with 1:48 left in the first period. Graff scored a reversal though with 59 seconds remaining to tie the match at 2-2.

Graff chose to start down in the second period, but got rolled onto his back and Gomez got the shoulders down at the 3:36 mark.

Graff now wrestles for fifth place against No. 6 Dan Mitcheff of Kent State. The two have not met this year.

Session V Schedule

Wisconsin claimed four All-Americans in session IV last night. Read all about it with the Session IV recap.

Session V begins at 10 a.m. and can be seen on ESPNU. Here's the schedule:

Consolation Semifinals
133 lbs.: (Match # 584) No. 8 Tyler Graff (UW) vs. No. 3 Franklin Gomez (Michigan State)

  • With a win, Graff moves to Match # 604 to wrestle for third place against the winner of No. 6 Dan Mitcheff of of Kent State and No. 4 Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State
  • With a loss, Graff moves to Match # 605 to wrestle for fifth place against the loser of No. 6 Dan Mitcheff of Kent State and No. 4 Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State

149 lbs.: (Match # 587) No. 4 Kyle Ruschell (UW) vs. No. 5 Frank Molinaro (Penn State)

  • With a win, Ruschell moves to Match # 610 to wrestle for third place against the winner of Torsten Gillespie of Edinboro and No. 3 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma
  • With a loss, Ruschell moves to Match # 611 to wrestle for fifth place against the loser of Torsten Gillespie of Edinboro and No. 3 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma

197 lbs.: (Match # 598) No. 5 Trevor Brandvold (UW) vs. No. 3 Hudson Taylor (Maryland)

  • With a win, Brandvold moves to Match # 625 to wrestle for third place against the winner of No. 6 Eric Lapotsky of Oklahoma and No. 4 Cam Simaz of Cornell
  • With a loss, Brandvold moves to Match # 626 to wrestle for fifth place against the loser of No. 6 Eric Lapotsky of Oklahoma and No. 4 Cam Simaz of Cornell

Brandvold wins second match of session to reach consolation semis

No. 5 seed Trevor Brandvold topped Big Ten rival and No. 8 seed Sonny Yohn of Minnesota, 13-7, to move on to the consolation semifinals. The win guarantees Brandvold no worse than sixth place, while he can also still attain third place.

Trailing 3-2, Brandvold scored a reversal with 20 seconds left in the first period to take a 4-3 lead that he would not give up. Two nearfall points plus an escape by Yohn made it 6-4 after the first period.

Brandvold started down in the second period but escaped to go ahead 7-4. A takedown with 39 seconds left in the stanza gave him a 9-4 lead. The third period featured two more takedowns for Brandvold and three escapes by Yohn to make the final score 13-7.

Brandvold now faces No. 3 Hudson Taylor of Maryland in the consolation semifinals.

Ruschell makes consolation semis with sudden victory win

No. 4 seed Kyle Ruschell moved on to the consolation semifinals with a 3-1, sudden victory win over No. 9 Kevin LeValley of Bucknell. Ruschell can now finish as high as third and no worse than sixth.

After a scoreless first period, Ruschell escaped three seconds into the second period to lead 1-0. The score stayed that way until LeValley escaped seven seconds into the third period.

The 1-1 match then moved to sudden victory where, with five seconds left, Ruschell earned a takedown to win 3-1 and move on to a bout against Frank Molinaro of Penn State.

Graff earns spot in consolation semifinals

No. 8 seed Tyler Graff earned a spot in the consolation semifinals with a 2-1, tiebreaker win over No. 5 Borislav Novachkov of Cal Poly.

Graff, who can finish no worse than sixth and as high as third now, escaped in the second period to go up 1-0. Graff then let Novachkov escape at the beginning of the third period to tie things up.

The matched moved to overtime and neither wrestler scored in sudden victory. Novahckov was unable to escape in his 30 seconds, but Graff took just three seconds to escape for the 2-1 win.

He now faces Franklin Gomez of Michigan State in the consolation semifinals.

Brandvold becomes first-time All-American

Junior Trevor Brandvold, the No. 5 seed, became a first-time All-American thanks to a 7-4 victory over conference foe and No. 9 seed, Chad Beatty of Iowa.

Brandvold jumped ahead 2-0 after the first period thanks to a takedown with 13 seconds left in the frame. He then chose down in the second period and escaped six seconds in to move up 3-0. With 1:31 left, he got another takedown to lead 5-0.

With the score 5-1 in favor of Brandvold going into the third period, Beatty escaped to make it 5-2 with 37 seconds left. He got a takedown with 17 seconds left, but Brandvold escaped to lead 6-4. Riding time made it 7-4.

Howe reaches finals for second year in a row

Top seed Andrew Howe has become a two-time finalist at 165 lbs. after winning his semifinal match on Friday night. Howe bested Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma, 4-1, to advance to the title match for the second year in a row.

Howe, who was runner-up a year ago, took a 2-0 lead 1:23 into match with a takedown.

The score stayed that way until Caldwell escaped four seconds into the second period.

Howe took control again though in the third period with a takedown with 1:47 to go. He added riding time for a 4-1 victory.

Howe now moves on to face a familiar foe, Dan Vallimont of Penn State. They have already met twice this year, with Howe winning 7-2 in the dual matchup and 3-1 in the Big Ten Championship semifinals. Howe also beat Vallimont last season, 3-2.

Ruschell wins thriller to become All-American

Senior and No. 4 seed Kyle Ruschell survived a thriller in the wrestlebacks to become a two-time All-American at 149 lbs. He defeated No. 6 Matthew Kyler of Army, 4-3, in the second tiebreaker.

Neither wrestler scored in the first period, while Kyler was able to escape in second period. Ruschell did the same in the third period to force overtime.

The first overtime passed scoreless, while Kyler earned an escape with 21 seconds left in the first tiebreaker. Ruschell matched him though and earned an escape in the waning seconds of the second tiebreaker.

After another sudden victory period went scoreless, Ruschell was awarded a point after Kyler was called for locked hands. Ruschell escaped a second later to take a 4-2 lead.

Kyler escaped in the fourth overtime, but it was too late as Ruschell advanced 4-3. Ruschell will now match up against No. 9 Kevin LeValley of Bucknell.

Win makes Graff an All-American

With a win in the wrestlebacks, redshirt freshman and No. 8 seed Tyler Graff earned All-American status at 133 lbs. Graff defeated Mike Grey of Cornell, 13-5, to guarantee a finish no worse than eighth.

Graff took control early, scoring three takedowns in the first period to lead 6-2 after the first three minutes.

Starting in neutral in the second period, Graff scored a takedown with 1:01 remaining. Grey escaped to make it 8-3 after two periods.

Starting the third period on bottom, Grey escaped eight seconds into the frame, but Graff took him back down with 1:15 to go. Another escape by Grey was followed by another takedown from Graff with 12 seconds to go. With 1:25 of riding time, Graff came away with a 13-5 win.

He will wrestle No. 5 Borislav Novachkov of Cal Poly in the sixth round. They met once earlier this year at the Cliff Keen Invite with Novachkov winning 5-2.

Session IV schedule

We're about 45 minutes away from Session IV here at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships here in Omaha, Neb. Four of the seven Badgers are still alive in competition.

Here's your schedule for tonight:

Championship Semifinals
165 lbs.: (Match # 561) No. 1 Andrew Howe (UW) vs. Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma)

133 lbs.: (Match # 507) No. 8 Tyler Graff (UW) vs. No. 7 Mike Grey (Cornell)
149 lbs.: (Match # 513) No. 4 Kyle Ruschell (UW) vs. No. 6 Matthew Kyler (Army)
197 lbs.: (Match # 536) No. 5 Trevor Brandvold (UW) vs. No. 9 Chad Beatty (Iowa)

Ruschell stays alive with tight win

Senior and No. 4 seed Kyle Ruschell kept his hopes for All-American status alive with a 6-1 win over Eric Albright of Pittsburgh at 149 lbs.

The first period was scoreless, but Ruschell earned an escape after starting the second period on bottom.

Albright tied the match at 1-1 after he escaped to start the third period. The score remained that way until Ruschell got a takedown with 34 seconds remaining. He was then able to ride Albright and pick up nearfall points to make the final margin 6-1.

Bugenhagen knocked out at heavyweight

Junior Eric Bugenhagen was knocked out of competition at heavyweight by No. 4 Nathan Everhart, 6-2.

After the first period went by scoreless, Bugenhagen earned an escape to after starting on bottom in the second period. The 1-0 lead would not last though as Everhart scored a takedown with 1:03 left in the second.

The score remained 2-1 going into the third period. Everhart started down and escaped, then got another takedown with 56 seconds left. Bugenhagen escaped with seven seconds left, but riding time was added to give Everhart the 6-2 win.

Rutt eliminated

Travis Rutt lost in the third round of consolations to be eliminated at 184 lbs. Facing Zack Giesen of Stanford, Rutt dropped a 10-4 decision.

Giesen led throughout, jumping ahead 5-0 before Rutt was able to score an escape. Another takedown was followed by another escape to close the second period with Giesen in front, 7-2.

Rutt started down in the third and escaped to cut the lead to 7-3, but another takedown from Giesen made it 9-3. Rutt managed one last escape with 58 seconds left, but riding time made it 10-4 for Giesen.

Brandvold beaten in quarterfinals

No. 5 seed Trevor Brandvold was unable to hold on to a first period lead, falling to No. 4 seed Cam Simaz of Cornell, 8-5, in the quarterfinals at 197 lbs.

Thanks to a takedown, Brandvold held a 2-0 lead after one period. He then kept the two-point cushion after two periods thanks to a pair of escapes sandwiched around a takedown by Simaz.

The third period proved troublesome though as Simaz escaped six seconds in after starting in the down position. Simaz then scored a takedown with 1:48 left to move ahead 5-4. Brandvold was able to knot the match at 5-5 after an escape with 1:26 to go, but Simaz came back with a takedown 15 seconds later to pull ahead 7-5. Riding time was a factor, giving Simaz an additional point.

Howe reaches semifinals

Top seed Andrew Howe improved his record to 35-0 this season and gained a spot in the semifinals with a 7-2 decision over No. 9 Andrew Rendos of Bucknell in the quarterfinals at 165 lbs.

Howe took an early lead by scoring a takedown 59 seconds into the match. Rendos was able to escape with one minute left in the period, but Howe grabbed another takedown with 18 seconds left to lead 4-1 after one.

Starting in the bottom position, Rendos escaped 36 seconds into the period, but a takedown by Howe with 45 seconds left extended his lead to 6-2.

There was no scoring in the third period, but Howe was able to secure riding time to win 7-2.

Howe will face unseeded Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma in the semifinals on Friday night.

Ruschell moves on with pin

No. 4 seed Kyle Ruschell stayed alive in the wrestlebacks with a win via pin in the wrestlebacks at 149 lbs.

Facing David Cheza of Michigan State, Ruschell got a takedown 48 seconds into the match and then was able to carry that over into a pin at the 1:45 mark of the match.

Ruschell advances to the next round of the consolations where he will face Eric Albright of Pittsburgh.

Schmitt eliminated

Cole Schmitt's run at the NCAA Championships ended on Friday morning as he was pinned by Oregon State's Michael Mangrum at 1:50 of the match.

After a scoreless first period, Mangrum started down in the second. He escaped four seconds into the frame then got a takedown with 1:18 to go. Eight seconds later, he got Schmitt's shoulders down to with the match.

Graff shut out in quarterfinals loss

No. 8 seed Tyler Graff was shut out by No. 1 Jayson Ness of Minnesota in the quarterfinals of the 133 lbs., division on Friday morning, 4-0.

The first period was scoreless, but Ness, who started down in the second, escaped five seconds into the period. He then scored a takedown with 1:34 left in the period to go ahead 3-0.

The third period featured no scoring, but riding time was added for Ness to make the final score, 4-0.

Graff wrestles again on Friday night in the wrestlebacks.

Photo of the Day: March 19

Defensive end J.J. Watt shows off some graceful moves during a "strip" drill, punching the ball out with one hand and grabbing it out of the air with the other during yesterday's practice.


Session III awaits

Good morning all and welcome to Session III of the Division I NCAA Wrestling Championships. After two sessions, the Badgers are tied for fourth with 23 team points. Check out our full recap of Session II.

All seven wrestlers who qualified for the NCAAs are still alive, including three who are still in contention for the title at their weight class.

Session III Schedule:

Championship Quarterfinals
133 lbs.: (Match # 429) No. 8 Tyler Graff (UW) vs. No. 1 Jayson Ness (Minnesota)
165 lbs.: (Match # 461) No. 1 Andrew Howe (UW) vs. No. 9 Andrew Rendos (Bucknell)
197 lbs.: (Match # 486) No. 5 Trevor Brandvold (UW) vs. No. 4 Cam Simaz (Cornell)

141 lbs.: (Match # 358) Cole Schmitt (UW) vs. Michael Mangrum (Oregon State)
149 lbs.: (Match # 366) No. 4 Kyle Ruschell (UW) vs. David Cheza (Michigan State)
184 lbs.: (Match # 399) Travis Rutt (UW) vs. Zack Giesen (Stanford)
HWT: (Match # 420) Eric Bugenhagen (UW) vs. No. 6 Nathan Everhart (Indiana)

Bugenhagen wins tight match to advance in wrestlebacks

In the last match of Session II, Eric Bugenhagen survived a close battle against Eddie Bordas of Rider, 5-1, in the wrestlebacks at heavyweight.

With the first period going scoreless, Bugenhagen started down in the second period. He escaped one second into the period to go up 1-0.

In the third period, Bugenhagen secured riding time and allowed Bordas to escape to have the match tied at 1-1. Bordas used up his injury time though, allowing Bugenhagen to choose to go to the down position. Bugenhagen then escaped with 27 seconds left to go up 2-1. With one second left, Bordas was called for fleeing the mat. Riding time made it 5-1.

Team standings

Team standings through Championship Second Round:

1. Iowa 33.5
2. Oklahoma State 23.0
3. Cornell 21.0
4. Wisconsin 20.0
5. Iowa State 19.0
    Ohio State 19.0
7. Oklahoma 18.5
8. Lehigh 17.0
9. Central Michigan 16.0
    Penn State 16.0

Other Big Ten Schools
11. Minnesota 15.0
15. Michigan State 11.0
22. Purdue 9.0
27. Indiana 8.5
31. Illinois 7.5
32. Michigan 7.0
59. Northwestern 0.0

Schmitt stays alive

Cole Schmitt scored a 10-2 major decision over Ryan Adams of North Dakota State to stay alive in the wrestlebacks at 141 lbs.

Schmitt moved ahead 2-0 with a takedown 55 seconds into the match. In the closing seconds of the first period, he picked up 3 nearfall points to lead 5-0 after 1.

Starting in neutral in the 2nd, Adams was able to get a takedown, but Schmitt escaped to lead 6-2 after 2 periods.

Schmitt started down in the 3rd period but escaped 10 seconds into the final frame to go up 7-2. He then got a takedown 30 seconds into the period. With the addition of riding time, Schmitt won 10-2.

Score update

Through the second round of the heavyweight division of the championship round, Wisconsin sits in 4th place with 20 points. Iowa leads all schools with 33.5 points

Brandvold gains quarters with win

In a matchup of ranked wrestlers, No. 5 Trevor Brandvold downed No. 12 Brent Haynes of Missouri, 5-2, at 197 lbs.

With 1:11 left in the first period, Brandvold earned a takedown to go up 2-0.

To start the second period, Brandvold began down and escaped 13 seconds in. A takedown from Haynes with 1:36 remaining cut the lead to 3-2, but Brandvold escaped with 1 minute remaining.

Haynes started in the down position in the third period, and Brandvold was able to ride him the entire frame to earn riding time and win 5-2.

Rutt beaten by No. 1 Smith of Boise State

Sophomore Travis Rutt took an early lead, but he was overcome by No. 1 Kirk Smith of Boise State in a second round matchup at 184 lbs.

After a scoreless first period, Rutt earned an escape after starting down in the second period. The lead would not last though as Smith got a takedown with 51 seconds left.

Smith started the third period down and escaped then scored a takedown in the first 48 seconds of the third period to move up 5-1. Rutt escaped with 33 seconds left, but riding time was given to Smith to make it a 6-2 final.

Spring practice report No. 4

In the midst of the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the Wisconsin football team tended to business as usual. The Badgers held their fourth spring practice in half-pack (shoulder pads, helmets and shorts) for 24 periods. For the second straight practice, Wisconsin was outside in Camp Randall for a breezy 60-degree day under the sun.

Practice No. 4 Photo Gallery

Stepping up in the Red Zone
The defense had another solid day with three interceptions during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 today. With an emphasis in making red zone stops, all three picks came when the offense was inside the 20-yard line.

During skelly (7-on-7), Devin Smith had a one-handed interception in the back of the end zone, fighting off Nick Toon to pick off the pass. Culmer St. Jean got the second pick of the day during 11-on-11 jumping in front of Isaac Anderson near the goal line.

"It was a long drive, the offense was driving and the red zone is where most points happen, 7 or 3, so getting the ball out of there and getting it back is definitely a good stop for our defense," said St. Jean.

Video highlights and post-practice interviews with LB Culmer St. Jean, DB Devin Smith and DT Patrick Butrym

Marcus Cromartie capped practice with a pick on the final play. Kevin Claxton tipped the ball, taking a hit from Jared Abbrederis and Cromartie caught the tip to get the turnover.  
During positional drills, new defensive back coach Chris Ash emphasized to his players to keep their eyes up. Looks like it paid off.

Practice4_11.jpgNext man in
With running back John Clay out, running backs coach John Settle has a small group to work with in Montee Ball, Zach Brown and Bradie Ewing. During 11-on-11, Ball and Brown each saw a lot of reps which seems to be paying off, both finding holes for big gains.

Ball had a good read breaking down the middle to get into the open field. Before practice was over, Brown also got in on the action. He broke off the line going down the left side for a big gain before getting pushed out of bounds. Ewing made his mark in the passing game, gaining nearly 20 yards on a pass from quarterback Jon Budmayr

Finding his sweet spot
Offensively Lance Kendricks had a good outing, finding his sweet spot in the back of the end zone. First Budmayr found him for the score during 11-on-11 drills inside the red zone and then quarterback Scott Tolzien connected on another touchdown in the back corner of the end zone during 11-on-11. He made both catches look easier than they were.

Showing some leg
The punting unit got its first live action of spring ball, giving Brad Nortman a chance to show off his leg. An unofficial average of Nortman's punts sailed approximately 40 yards into the wind. Before they wrapped up, Nortman hit his long which nearly cleared 60 yards, again kicking into the wind.

This and That
Not too many guests at practice today, however, the Badgers had a familiar visitor in former safety Chris Maragos.

J.J. Watt did a touchdown celebration during a water break that included jumping up and slamming the football over the goal post.

Next up
The majority of Saturday's practice will be a live scrimmage with officials present. UW's fifth practice starts at 10:15 a.m. and will likely be back indoors on the practice field in the McClain Center with the forecast calling for snow. 

Howe breezes to quarterfinals

Sophomore and No. 1 seed Andrew Howe won his second round match in dominating fashion over Justin Kerber of Cornell, 14-3. Howe finished with an impressive 3:39 of riding time in the match.

Howe got right to work, scoring a takedown 6 seconds into the match. He let Kerber up at 1:51, but then took him down 11 seconds later. Another escape was followed by another takedown as Howe led 6-2 after one period.

The second period started with Howe down, but he got a reversal to make it 8-2 with 1:06 left. An escape by Kerber was then followed by takedown from Howe. The second period ended with Howe up 10-3.

The third period featured Howe escaping as he started down. He then used a takedown and riding time to advance to the quarterfinals.

No. 4 Ruschell upset by Gillespie

Kyle Ruschell, the No. 4 seed at 149 lbs., was upset in the second round by Torsten Gillespie of Edinboro, 6-4.

Ruschell jumped out to a 3-0 lead after scoring a takedown in the waning seconds of the first period and then an escape six seconds into the second period.

The wrestlers started in neutral for the third period. Gillespie got a takedown with 1:30 left in the match, but Ruschell was able to escape to take a 4-2 lead with 1:22 remaining.

Gillespie was able to take him down though with 33 seconds left and then earned backpoints with 17 seconds left to earn the upset win.

Graff moves on to quarterfinals

No. 8 Tyler Graff had little trouble with No. 9 Steve Bell of Maryland in a second round match. Graff cruised to a 13-5 win to reach the quarterfinals at 133 lbs.

Thirty seconds into the match, Graff got a takedown to go up 2-0. An escape by Bell was followed by another takedown by Graff to go ahead 4-1. A reversal by Bell cut the lead to 4-3, but an escape gave Graff a 5-3 lead after an exciting first period.

Graff escaped after starting in the down position in the second period. He then scored a takedown with 33 seconds left in the period to go up 8-3. In the final 7 seconds of the period, Bell escaped but Graff got a last-second takedown to lead 10-4 after two periods.

The third period featured only two scores as Bell escaped at the 1:45 mark, while Graff added a takedown with 19 seconds left. Adding in riding time, Graff prevailed 13-5.

Session II moments away

We're just a few minutes away from Session II here at the NCAA Division I Championships. Hope you got a chance to read the recap from Session I.

UW Matchups tonight:

Championship Bracket
133: (Match #198) No. 8 Tyler Graff (UW) vs. No. 9 Steve Bell (Maryland)
149: (Match #232) No. 4 Kyle Ruschell (UW) vs. Torsten Gillespie (Edinboro)
165: (Match #261) No. 1 Andrew Howe (UW) vs. Justin Kerber (Cornell)
184: (Match #293) Travis Rutt (UW) vs. No. 1 Kirk Smith (Boise State)
197: (Match #311) No. 5 Trevor Brandvold (UW) vs. No. 12 Brent Haynes (Missouri)

141: (Match #222) Cole Schmitt (UW) vs.Ryan Adams (North Dakota State)
Hwt: (Match #340) Eric Bugenhagen (UW) vs. Eddie Bordas (Rider)

Bugenhagen drops match to No. 1 at heavyweight

Eric Bugenhagen dropped his opening round match to No. 1 David Zabriskie of Iowa State, 6-2, in the opening round of the heavyweight division.

After a scoreless opening period, Bugenhagen started down in the second and earned a quick escape three seconds into the stanza. Zabriskie took the lead though with a takedown with 1:32 left in the period.

Holding a 2-1 lead entering the third period, Zabriskie scored an escape 7 seconds into the period to move ahead 3-1. He used a takedown with 52 seconds left to go ahead 5-1. Bugenhagen earned one last escape with 22 seconds remaining, but riding time made the final score 6-2 in favor of Zabriskie.

Brandvold takes care of Jones with pin

No. 5 seed Trevor Brandvold used a first period pin to defeat Brent Jones of Virginia in the opening round at 197 lbs.

A takedown with 1:08 left in the first gave Brandvold a 2-0 lead, before an escape from Jones with 56 seconds left cut the lead to 2-1.

Brandvold was able to get the shoulders down though and earn a fall at 2:18 of the match to advance.

Some NFL news & notes

I'm sure everyone is thinking NFL today, so here's some info on former Badgers making noise in the NFL:

* Former Badger Troy Vincent, a No. 1 draft pick in 1992 and five-time Pro Bowler, was recently named vice president of player development for active players by the NFL.

DSC_3910.jpg* The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin is looking for a role for tight end Travis Beckum: "We are working on that though and we have to. His development is important to us too. Different rookies take different routes. He is a talented young guy that showed us, to be quite honest with you, a lot. Like special teams, he tried hard, was physical, was always on the kickoff return team. You are right, we got to get him in the offense and get him in there with consistency."

* The New Orleans Saints are looking to replace Scott Fujita at strong side linebacker and Jonathan Casillas is in the mix.

* According to the Detroit News, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz seems pretty happy with DeAndre Levy's play at middle linebacker last season: "I think that we are very happy where we are at middle linebacker. I thought DeAndre Levy was a guy that we drafted with a very particular skill-set in mind and we thought he could fill that (position). We are very pleased with what he did (last year) and I think we're in a good position there."

* Unlike the man he protected for so many years (Bret Favre), it looks like Mark Tauscher will finish his career as a Green Bay Packer. And reports say it will be a very lucrative two years for him.

* Matt Shaughnessy looks to be next in line now that the Raiders have released defensive end Greg Ellis.

Rutt earns victory by decision

Travis Rutt has earned a matchup against No. 1 seed Kirk Smith of Boise State after taking care of Nathan Schiedel of Binghamton, 7-3, at 184 lbs.

The first period had no score, but Rutt earned an escape two seconds into the second period to take a 1-0 lead. With 1:26 left, Rutt earned his first takedown to move ahead 3-0. Leading 3-1, Rutt earned another takedown with 12 seconds left in the second to go ahead 5-1.

In the final period, Schiedel escaped with 1:36 remaining, but Rutt earned his third takedown of the match with 1:05 left. One more escape from Schiedel came with 48 seconds remaining, but it was too late as Rutt advanced with a 7-3 decision.

Howe makes quick work of Porter

Sophomore Andrew Howe entered the opening match at 165 lbs., as the No. 1 seed with an undefeated 32-0 mark.

He showed why he's the top wrestler in his weight class in the opening round as he pinned Chad Porter of Liberty at 2:03.

After scoring a takedown 47 seconds into the match, Howe rode Porter until getting the pin at 2:03.

Somebody's gotta work

While millions around the country will be watching basketball games either on their computers or TVs, I, along with our intern Jacqueline Boscacci, some media folks and about 80 players and 30 other staff will be outside in Camp Randall for football practice. Practice starts at 3:45 and is scheduled for 24 periods (two hours) in half-pack (shoulder pads, helmets and shorts).

Could be worse I guess. Saturday's weather calls for a high of 40 and light snow and next week calls for highs only in the 40s. Looks like this could be our last practice outside until after spring break.

As always, we will be back after practice with a complete practice report, photo gallery and video highlights.

(Like most people today, I am watching games. And though I am a Notre Dame grad, I did pick Old Dominion so I am currently undefeated in my "for entertainment purposes only" bracket)

Ruschell advances with shutout win

Senior Kyle Ruschell, the No. 4 seed at 149 lbs., was dominant in his 4-0 opening round win over Glenn Shober of Navy.

The opening 2:55 was scoreless, but with 5 seconds left in the first period, Ruschell scored a takedown. He then rode Shober for the entire second period to take a 2-0 lead into the third period.

Starting down, Ruschell escaped at 1:44 to move ahead 3-0. With the addition of riding time, Ruschell came away with a 4-0 win.

Schmitt falls to No. 10 Nauman

Redshirt freshman Cole Schmitt dropped his opening round match at 141 lbs., 6-2, to No. 10 seed Tyler Nauman of Pittsburgh.

After a scoreless first period, Naunman started down in the second period. He scored an escape at 55 seconds to take a 1-0 lead, but Schmitt scored a takedown with just 7 seconds left in the period to head into the final frame with a 2-1 lead.

With 1:35 to go, Nauman scored a takedown to move in front 3-2. Then, with 7 seconds left, he added three nearfall points to win 6-2.

Lessons from the master


Graff wins opening match

Redshirt freshman and No. 8 seed Tyler Graff won his opening match at 133 lbs., 16-6, over Bryan Ortenzio of Penn.

Graff scored a takedown at the 1:50 mark of the first period to take a lead he would not give up. After an escape at 1:32 by Ortenzio, Graff got another takedown with 42 seconds left to take a 4-1 lead after the first period.

The second period saw three escapes from Ortenzio but two more takedowns by Graff, who ended the second frame with an 8-4 lead.

Graff opened the third period with an escape of his own then added three more takedowns and 1:44 of riding time to come away with the 16-6 win.

Some links to read in between NCAA games

Photo of the Day: March 18

A look back to get everyone ready for tomorrow's NCAA tournament game between the Badgers and Wofford:


Session I Matchups

Here's what's on tap for UW wrestlers in today's opening session:

133 lbs.: (Match # 30) No. 8 Tyler Graff (UW) vs. Bryan Ortenzio (Penn)
141 lbs.: (Match # 56) Cole Schmitt (UW) vs. No. 10 Tyler Nauman (Pitt)
149 lbs.: (Match # 66) No. 4 Kyle Ruschell (UW) vs. Glenn Shober (Navy)
165 lbs.: (Match # 91) No. 1 Andrew Howe (UW) vs. Chad Porter (Liberty)
184 lbs.: (Match # 124) Travis Rutt (UW) vs. Nathan Schiedel (Binghamton)
197 lbs.: (Match # 143) No. 5 Trevor Brandvold (UW) vs. Brent Jones (Virginia)
Hwt.: (Match # 155) Eric Bugenhagen (UW) vs. No. 1 David Zabriskie (Iowa State)

Session I almost near

Well the time has arrived; session I of the 2010 NCAA Division I Championships is about 40 minutes away. Follow all the action today here at the Wrestling Blog.

Due to NCAA restrictions, I cannot provide real-time updates which makes doing a CoverItLive Blog kind of moot since that's the advantage of using it. So I think we'll use this forum and I can provide updates after each UW match. At the end of the session, there will be a full recap on UWBadgers.com.

Hello Jacksonville

NCAA_Jax 005sm.jpgThe Badgers landed in Jacksonville around 9 p.m. (ET) Wednesday night and were greeted by chilly and damp conditions. Who would have thought it would be warmer in Madison when we left than Florida? Don't fret... temperatures (and sun) are supposed to rise over the weekend.

NCAA_Jax 002sm.jpgA Jacksonville police escort led the way on our 25-minute drive from the airport to our team hotel downtown. Nothing beats a traffic jam like a swarm of police motorcycles zipping in and out, blocking the path for our team buses to roll through.

A television crew from Milwaukee also greeted the team and interviewed Coach Ryan and Jon Leuer.

It's practice and media interviews on tap for the Badgers today, as they begin their on-site preparations for Wofford.

Look what they're saying about the Badgers

Just about everyone is talking college hoops these days and everybody becomes an "expert." Well we've sifted through countless articles and blogs to come up with a few gems about the Badgers that you might enjoy.

Andy Katz of ESPN:
"A potential Sweet 16 matchup between No. 1 Kentucky and No. 4 Wisconsin could be a tough matchup for the Wildcats. The Badgers have taken down Duke this season and have the ability to fluster a team like Kentucky if senior guards Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon make shots. Junior forward Jon Leuer presents a tough a matchup with his ability to hit shots facing the basket as a step-out 4 man. Oh, and Bo Ryan is one of the most underrated game coaches in the biz."

Dick Vitale:
"Don't worry, Badger fans. Despite the loss to Illinois in the Big Ten quarterfinals, keep an eye on Bo Ryan's Badgers. This team was impressive in beating Duke earlier this season as well as strong league wins. They have a great understanding of how to play winning basketball. The return of Jon Leuer from a broken wrist has been a big positive. They have strength on the perimeter with Trevon Hughes, Jordan Taylor and Jason Bohanon. I really feel this team can compete with the big boys."
Adrian Branch:
"I think Wisconsin is one of the hottest teams coming into this tournament. With Jon Leuer, 6-10, he's like a Robbie Hummel-type of mismatch when he is playing well. Then Trevon Hughes, who can score from the outside. They have got a good inside-outside. And, by the way, a fantastic coach."

Jimmy Dykes:
"The biggest problem for the Terriers? His name is Bo Ryan. If you had to take a coach in this tournament and say who do you think is going to be most prepared on opening day, Bo Ryan is going to get a lot of votes now. This guy can flat out coach. He's got an underrated point guard in Hughes. They are not going to beat themselves."

"Here's the toughest game for Kentucky out of this whole bracket. It's not West Virginia. It's Temple or Wisconsin. It's how they play and how they are coached. They are going to shrink that floor. They have good offensive players. That's the most difficult game for Kentucky to get past."

Bob Wenzel of CBS referring to Bo Ryan:
"He's one of the top 10 coaches in the country," Wenzel said. "Every year Wisconsin isn't supposed to be good and every year they are terrific."

Spring has sprung in Madison!

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

It's been difficult to keep up with my blog, because I have been traveling quite a bit these past few weeks. As I mentioned before, I was in Las Vegas this past weekend recruiting. The difficult part of recruiting this weekend was the weather in Las Vegas. The wind was absolutely incredible on Saturday and Sunday, and everyone who watches soccer knows how much the wind impacts the game. The wind was so bad that a goal toppled over, a goalkeeper scored off a punt, and several teams had difficulty crossing midfield when they were playing against the wind.

At times it was difficult to judge talent, but I was excited to watch several of the players we have identified and hope will come to Wisconsin. I never really had the chance to enjoy Las Vegas, as my flight was canceled leaving Madison on Thursday night. Therefore, I had to chance the early flight on Friday morning. Needless to say I wasn't happy to be getting up Friday morning at 3:45 am, only to get to Las Vegas to go to the fields immediately until 9 pm. It was a very long day!

Nick Toon makes it look easy

As promised, here is the full sequence of photos from one of Nick Toon's routinely spectacular catches during Tuesday's practice (and equally spectacular photography):

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If you scroll really fast, it looks like one of those flip books that you could draw in your notebook while you were bored in social studies class. If you don't know what "flip book" or "social studies" is, google it.

News & Notes from around the web

With spring practice in full swing, here are some things being written and said about the Badger football team:

* Madison.com - Badgers' Henry carries healthy attitude to new position
* Madison.com - Blog: UW football spring report, practice No. 3
* ESPN.com - Video: Badgers' Valai on next season
* ESPN.com - Video: Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien
* National Football Post - Big Ten spring practice preview: Wisconsin

Adam Rittenberg from ESPN.com was in Madison yesterday and talked to numerous players and coaches. Check back to his Big Ten blog frequently to look for new content on the Badgers.

One day away

We're just under 24 hours away from the start of the 2010 NCAA Division I Championships here in Omaha, Neb. Session I kicks off at 11 a.m. (CT) on Thursday morning.

The team practiced this morning at the Qwest Center for about an hour from 10-11 a.m.

Paired up this morning were Tyler Graff (133) and Cole Schmitt (141), Kyle Ruschell (149) and assistant coach Jared Frayer, Andrew Howe (165) and associate head coach Donny Pritzlaff, Travis Rutt (184) and Trevor Brandvold (197) and Eric Bugenhagen (HWT) and volunteer assistant coach Kyle Massey.

The coaches have a meeting with NWCA at 11:30 this morning and a mandatory meeting at 1 p.m.

The student-athletes don't have much planned for the rest of the day. I know they're going to head to the store at noon to stock up on whatever they need and I believe they are supposed to work out on their own again sometime today.

Photo of the Day: March 17

Wide receiver Nick Toon had a great season last year and looks to build off that for 2010. He has looked good through three practices in the spring, often making the tough catches, look routine. Here's an example (notice WRs coach DelVaughn Alexander and the players in the background react like it's nothing special).

Toon_9.jpgCheck back later for the full sequence of photos from this play, tracking the ball from Scott Tolzien's hands to Toon's.

Matt Ryan: More bloggage

And now deep blogs...by Matt Ryan

Hey, shhhhh, I'm here, it's O.K.  Daddy Bloggage is here.  Calm down, everything is going to be alright.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Courtside_bloggage_image.jpgDaddy Bloggage? Really? I do have a delete button.  Ahhh, self-inflicted nicknames, what a narcissistic way to live life.

However, I do share my self-acclaimed brilliance with others. We have approximately 18 managers and they all work in the basketball offices throughout the week so I can't help but to indulge them with my creative side. We have one manager named Roman and one day I looked at him and said, "Big Skillz." He was clueless and asked me what the heck I was talking about. I looked at him even more intently and I said, "Big Skillz. That's your nickname. You said you didn't have a nickname so that is now your nickname."

Spring practice report No. 3

Today the Wisconsin football team held its first practice outside in Camp Randall on a beautiful Wisconsin day. The sun was out and it was just over 60 degrees for UW's first practice with full pads. The Badgers went 24 periods (two hours).

Video highlights and interviews with WR Jared Abbrederis, WR Nick Toon and TE Lance Kendricks

All about the defense
Today it was the defense that shined. During the skelly (7-on-7) drill, freshman Conor O'Neill made back-to-back plays to garner a defensive play of the day. On a short pass to Jared Abbrederis, O'Neill was there to break it up before Abbrederis could gain control. On the next play, O'Neill picked off a Jon Budmayr pass on what would have been a 20-yard completion.

O'Neill wasn't the only one to get an interception. During 11-on-11, Antonio Fenelus picked off quarterback Scott Tolzien as he threw it up trying to avoid the rush from linebacker Culmer St. Jean. Honorable mention goes to J.J. Watt for his pressure on consecutive plays following the interception and Aaron Henry for a pass breakup on a 30-yard pass from Tolzien intended for Lance Kendricks.

Practice No. 3 Photo Gallery

Offensive Play of the Day
In the final series, during 11-on-11, the deepest pass of the day came from a familiar pair as Budmayr and Abbrederis combined for about a 45-yard completion. That makes three straight practices Budmayr and Abbrederis have hooked up for a deep pass to make the offensive play of the day.

Hit of the day
On the first day in full pads, there has to be a hit of the day. During positional drills, Travis Frederick got the hit of the day for knocking Ethan Armstrong off his feet. Not to worry, on the very next snap, Armstrong came back with a pop on Jake Current.

Honorable mention goes to Henry who broke from his safety position to puit a hit on Nick Toon following a sideline completion, knocking Toon to the ground (he held onto the ball).

Seen and heard
New assistant coach Chris Ash has made himself comfortable with the DB's making sure they were all on the same page. Probably one of the more vocal coaches today, and it paid off with the defense stepping up today at practice. I overheard him during positional drills say, "We intercept it, and we want to go score."

With that, the defense had at least two interceptions and two pass break ups in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

Practice3_1.jpgA step ahead
There is one member of the 2010 recruiting class who will be a step ahead of his peers come fall camp. Warren Herring (pictured above) graduated from Belleville East High School early to enroll a semester early at UW and participate in spring ball. So far, so good for the freshman as he is getting acclimated with the Wisconsin system a semester early.

"His effort is good. He's got a long, long way to go fundamentally," said defensive line coach Charlie Partridge. "But fortunately with him being here and getting 15 practices ahead of where he would normally be if he graduated in June is going to give him a chance to get ahead of the game."

This and that
On the final play of practice, after the offense took the ball down field in a series that started with the 45-yard pickup by Abbrederis from Budmayr, the offense had one last play to run from inside the 20-yard line. The defense started a "DE-FENSE" cheer which turned into a celebration as Zach Brown couldn't hold onto the ball on the goal line (Coach Bielema signaled an incompletion but the offense argued the call).

Some more notable names were at practice today. Former players included Jim Leonhard, Mickey Turner and Joe Panos. Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez also made an appearance at today's practice.

Even though some players are not participating in spring ball, doesn't mean they weren't in full gear today. John Clay, John Moffitt, Mike Taylor, Gabe Carmi and others all took turns with the trainer whether it was jogging the stadium stairs or doing some agility work, and  all in full pads.

Arrived in Omaha

Well we made it safe and sound to Omaha, got in about 15 minutes ago. We finished the 7 hour bus ride watching Step Brothers, 3:10 to Yuma and Reservoir Dogs. Some of the guys did get in some studying time, too.

Tonight is a low-key night for the team, nothing really planned for the evening. They'll be hitting the mats tomorrow morning from about 10-11:15 a.m. at Qwest Center Omaha. There's a coaches' meeting at 1 tomorrow afternoon, but the guys are on their own for another workout tomorrow afternoon/night.

Outside today

As Coach Bielema announced on his Twitter page, we will hold practice outside today in full pads. Final preparations are being done as we speak to get the field ready:

field 006.jpg

On the road

The Wisconsin wrestling team has hit the road for Omaha and the NCAA Championships. We left the McClain Center a little after 11 this morning. After a quick pit stop to get some food/snacks, we've taken to the road again. Step Brothers is playing on the TVs now. It's about a 7 hour drive. I'll check back in later with another update.

Quarterbacks in motion

Much of the talk out of the first two practices has centered around how good UW's quarterbacks have looked. Here's some great photography work by yours truly to illustrated that point a little better:


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Sophomore Curt Phillips in front, senior Scott Tolzien in back

Photo of the Day: March 16

Running back John Clay and offensive lineman John Moffitt are both being held out of spring practice as they recover from offseason procedures. As such, they are relegated to working with the trainers during practice. One of their drills yesterday was some light jogging across the field. Clay was able to to nip Moffitt at the finish line, resulting in this celebration (you can see a clearly dejected Moffitt in the background):

Practice2_17.jpg(editor's note: this was not a real race, merely a good photo op during practice. I'm sure John Clay could easily outrun John Moffitt in a real race ... sorry Moff)

The Voice with Matt Lepay

As difficult as it is to BE successful, there are those who would tell you it is even more challenging to STAY successful.  With a 12th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, it is clear the Badgers have been able to stay successful.  Wisconsin is one of just seven teams with a current streak of a dozen or more consecutive appearances in the Big Dance.  Take a look at some of the traditional powers who are missing from this year's NCAA field--Arizona, North Carolina, UConn and Illinois.  Yet the Badgers just keep plugging along.  Thumbnail image for the_voiceSM.jpg

Practice report No. 2

The Wisconsin football team was back inside McClain Center on Monday afternoon for its second practice of spring football. Practicing in helmets only, the team went for 24 periods. Tomorrow is the first day in full pads.

"I think the guys are ready to go to work and have an opportunity to put on the pads and see exactly where everybody is at," head coach Bret Bielema said.

Head coach Bret Bielema's post-practice media session

A couple of notable plays occurred during the team's skelly (7-on-7) drill. On the first play, quarterback Scott Tolzien hooked up with tight end Lance Kendricks on a deep ball. Kendricks got behind the safeties as Aaron Henry fell down, eliciting some oohs and aaahs from players on the sidelines.

Nick Toon showed off his speed as he caught a slant pass at about the 35-yard line, made one quick move, then was able to outrace the defense to the corner for a score.
Linebacker Kevin Rouse also had a nice pass breakup during the drill.

"[Kevin Rouse] has made big improvements," Bielema said after practice. "He made some good breaks on the ball."

Injured still helping out
In his pre-spring press conference, Bielema mentioned several players who would not participate in spring practices. While they are not taking part in the reps, many of them are still contributing where they can.

Center Peter Konz took snaps during the 7-on-7 drills to sharpen his footwork. Konz was later seen lining up as a defensive back during scout drills. The other side of the field was covered too as tackle Gabe Carimi covered David Gilreath, making for what might be the biggest size gap between a DB and WR in history.

Offensive lineman John Moffitt and running back John Clay each were seen doing jogging across the field to stay in shape, while linebacker Chris Borland was lining up at running back during linebacker drills.

Same faces, new places
A few players are have found homes at new positions this spring. For example, Kevin Claxton is making the switch from defensive back to linebacker, while Conor O'Neill is making the switch the other way. Both players were on the second units on defense with Claxton at outside linebacker and O'Neill at safety.

After practice, Bielema made note of Claxton, saying that he got his hands on some passes during practice. O'Neill also made his presence known as well, intercepting a pass during skelly after it had bounced off a few players' hands.

Freshman Connection
Fresh off a Play of the Day performance from the first practice, redshirt freshmen Jon Budmayr and Jared Abbrederis hooked up again for another deep pass for a score in 7-on-7, while just missing on another as Abbrederis was unable to hold on after making a tumbling effort for the pass.

"[Abbrederis] has caught my eye since last fall," Bielema said. "He's got athleticism, good hands and has done good work."

Practice No. 2 Photo Gallery

This and That
Without a full roster due to injuries, the loss of seniors and the freshman having yet to arrive, it made for some interesting sights during scout work: the aforementioned work of Konz and Carimi at cornerback, Scott Tolzien lined up at safety and a new offensive line that partially consisted of kickers Alec Lerner and Phillip Welch and long snapper Kyle Wojta ... former UW quarterback Brooks Bollinger took in Monday's practice, watching from the sidelines and then addressing the team after practice about enjoying their time while they can and how proud the football alumni is of the current team

Live NCAA Selection Show Blog

Please join Mandy Hansen of the Wisconsin Athletic Communications Office as she chronicles all of the action from tonight's NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Selection Show. The 64-teams that will compete in the 2010 NCAA Tournament will be announced live at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

Announcing the announcers

Hello, friends....

The pairings between teams were announced on Selection Sunday, but the pairings between announcers and first- and second-round sites for CBS' coverage of the NCAA tournament came out Monday.

The Badgers' matchup with Wofford -- and all the first- and second-round games in the East Region and South Region held in Jacksonville, Fla. -- will feature Jim Nantz handling play-by-play duties and Clark Kellogg serving as analyst.

Nantz and Kellogg also will call the Final Four for CBS.

The Sporting News offers up a full listing of the announcing crews, as well as a pretty in-depth breakdown of the assignments.

Inside for Day 2

Looks like we will practice inside again today. Though the forecast is for a high of 57 degrees (seven degrees warmer than our bowl game in Orlando) and my favorite, "plentiful sunshine," the snow has just completely melted off the stadium field (finally!).

In addition to being pretty soggy, the field still needs to be completely cleaned following all of the construction from the Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic. Couldn't clear the field of all the small debris while the snow was still covering it.

There is hope for tomorrow (mostly sunny, high near 57) or Thursday (sunny, high near 64). Saturday's weather looks more typical for March (chance of rain, high near 43) so it's a safe bet we'll be inside then.

'Badger Sports Report' features the Jarmusz brothers

Sunday's edition of the Badger Sports Report with Bo Ryan took a look at junior Tim Jarmusz's family, specifically his brother, Adam, who is serving as a platoon leader for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

March 15: Photo of the Day

Defensive backs coach Chris Ash congratulates cornerback Antonio Fenelus following an interception during Saturday's practice:


More coverage from practice No. 1

Kind of a sparse media crowd at the first practice due to the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis but Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal checks in with a practice report and a story on the quarterbacks: Tolzien strikes competitive balance.

WKOW-TV (Ch. 27) in Madison was also on hand and shot some highlights and talked to Jay Valai and Aaron Henry:

Take a look at the Terriers

No. 13 seed Wofford heads into its first-ever NCAA tournament bid riding a 13-game win streak after knocking off Appalachian State to claim the Southern Conference tournament title on Monday.

The Terriers (26-8) are led by 21st-year head coach Mike Young, who led the school's transition to NCAA Division I in 1995-96.

Friday's first-round NCAA tournament game will be the second meeting between the schools, with Wisconsin claiming a 70-43 win in a game played at the Kohl Center on Dec. 3, 2007.

Last season, the Badgers football team scored a 44-14 win over Wofford at Camp Randall Stadium.

Window on Wofford
Roster | Schedule/Results | Stats | Coaching Staff
- Location: Spartanburg, S.C.
- Enrollment: 1,450
- Head Coach: Mike Young (116-125; 21st season)
- 2009-10 Record: 26-8 (15-3 SoCon)
- Key Wins: South Carolina, at Georgia, Appalachian State
- Leading Scorer: Noah Dahlman (Jr.), 16.8 ppg
- Rebounds Leader: Dahlman, 6.3 rpg
- Assists Leader: Brad Loesing (So.): 3.0 apg

Badgers waiting for name to be called

The Badgers are gathered at the Kohl Center waiting for their name to be called for the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

vs. Selection Show 006.jpg

Badgers ready for Selection Show tonight at 5 p.m.

Wisconsin will gather at the Kohl Center today to work out and watch teaching clips from Friday's loss to Illinois. After that, it's time to watch the Selection Show on CBS at 5 p.m. (CT). Unlike last year, when the Badgers were sweating out whether or not they would get in the NCAA tournament, this time it's not if, it's when.

With a 23-8 record and top 20 RPI, the Badgers are a lock to stretch their streak to 12 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. The question now is who and where they will play. Be sure to tune into CBS at 5 p.m. today to watch the Selection Show and then visit UWBadgers.com for reaction from head coach Bo Ryan and seniors Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon.

NCAA Tourney banners.jpg

Loss didn't hurt UW in ESPN's Bracketology

Even the though the Badgers lost to Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament Friday afternoon, ESPN's Joe Lunardi isn't punishing them. In his latest Bracketology prediction, Lunardi still has Wisconsin as a No. 4 seed, which is the same position he had them prior to Friday's game.

Lunardi has projected Wisconsin as a No. 4 seed in the West bracket. In that scenario, the Badgers would play No. 13 seed Rhode Island in the first round out in San Jose, Calif. The winner of that game would then face the winner of the 5-12 game between BYU (5) and Siena (12). By the way, Duke is the No. 1 seed in that bracket.

The Sporting News dropped Wisconsin from a No. 3 seed to a No. 4 seed. Bracketology 101 also has Wisconsin as a No. 4 seed, this time playing in the Midwest Bracket in which Kansas is the No. 1 seed. According to Bracketology 101, the Badgers would travel to Spokane, Wash. to face No. 13 seed Murray State.

All-America honors for Akinniyi

Sophomore Dorcas Akinniyi ran a season-best time of 2:26.18 in the 800 meters to solidify an All-America finish in the women's pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

The run boosted Akinniyi's point total to a career-best 4,056 and earned her a seventh-place finish in her second NCAA competition.

Akinniyi becomes the second Wisconsin athlete to surpass the 4,000-point threshold in the pentathlon and stands second all-time at UW behind school record-holder Melissa Talbot's score of 4,225 from 2007.

She also joins Talbot as the only Badgers to earn All-America honors in the event.

Oregon's Brianne Theisen won the national title with a score of 4,396.

Next up for the Badgers on the final day of the NCAA championships is senior Chavon Robinson in the women's triple jump at 6:30 p.m.


Career-best jump boosts Akinniyi to 5th

A personal-best leap of 19 feet, 7 inches (5.97m) on her third and final attempt in the long jump moved Dorcas Akinniyi into fifth place in the pentathlon standings after four events.

The sophomore fouled on each of her first two attempts in the long jump before landing the career-best leap to improve her point total to 3,314 points.

Oregon's Brianne Theisen continues to lead the standings at 3,511 points.

Akinniyi also set a personal-best mark in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.86 seconds.

If Akinniyi can run a time of 2:30.67 or faster in the 800, she will top her current personal-best score of 3,998.

She will run the final event of the pentathlon, the 800 meters, at 4:15 p.m.

Practice Report No. 1

The Badgers opened spring practice on Saturday at 10:15 a.m. on the practice field in the McClain Center. UW practiced for 24 periods in helmets and shorts.

Practice No. 1 Photo Gallery

"I liked the energy, I liked the enthusiasm," head coach Bret Bielema said. "A couple things really jumped out at me the defense was really talking and communicating. That's been a big emphasis. Then offensively we threw some deep balls which was encouraging."

Watch Day 1 highlights as well as post-practice interviews with Travis Frederick, Jay Valai, Aaron Henry and head coach Bret Bielema

New Kids on the Block
On the defensive side of the ball, Wisconsin debuted two new coaches, Chris Ash and Greg Jackson. Ash is coaching the defensive backs while Jackson is in charge of the nickel backs and assists defensive coordinator Dave Doeren with linebackers. "I thought they did a great job jumping in and coaching their guys with intensity," Doeren said. "Our guys were running around and playing fast so they definitely took to them."

Still Got It
Last spring a lot of the talk coming out of the practices was about quarterback Jon Budmayr's ability to throw the deep pass. He hurt his arm a bit and was forced to sit out most of fall camp last year but if day one of spring practice is any indication, Budmayr hasn't lost any arm strength. During skelly (7-on-7) he completed about a 45-yard pass to Kyle Jefferson behind the defense. Later in practice, during 11-on-11, Budmayr hooked up with walk-on wide receiver Jared Abbrederis on what would have been a 60-yard TD pass.

"Jon can throw the deep ball, there's no doubt about that," Bielema said. "He likes to throw it and he's good at it. That's great word for our defense, on the flip side."

Practice_6.jpgPlay of the Day
Speaking of deep passes, on the last play of practice, during 11-on-11, quarterback Scott Tolzien hooked up with Isaac Anderson on about a 45-yard pass. It seems offensive coordinator Paul Chryst likes to dial up a long pass play on the final play of practice during the spring, dating back to last year.

Seen & Heard
Among the notables at practice today were former UW wide receiver Jonathan Orr, former defensive back Chris Maragos and the governor of Wisconsin Jim Doyle, who stopped by briefly ... it's only the first practice but the first four defensive linemen in drills were J.J. Watt and Louis Nzegwu at end and Patrick Butrym and Jordan Kohout at tackle (the second four were Tyler Dippel and David Gilbert at end, Ethan Hemer and Eriks Briedis at tackle) ... talking to Coach Bielema after practice, cornerback Antonio Fenelus stood out during practice, jumping an out route during "skelly" for an interception that would have been a pick six

Akinniyi holds steady in 8th

Sophomore Dorcas Akinniyi held down her spot in eighth place in the overall pentathlon standings with a throw of 37-11 1/4 (11.56m) in the shot put.

After three events, Akinniyi owns a total of 2,474 points. Oregon sophomore Brianne Theisen holds the lead at 2,637 points.

Two events remain in the competition, with the field moving on to the long jump before taking to the track for the 800 meters. The long jump is set to begin at 3 p.m.


Akinniyi off to strong start

Sophomore Dorcas Akinniyi stands eighth in the women's heptathlon at the NCAA indoor championships with two events of the five-event competition in the books.

Akinniyi, fresh off winning the Big Ten championship in the event two weeks ago, opened with a personal-best time of 8.86 in the 60-meter hurdles and followed with a clearance at 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches in the high jump. That mark was just a quarter-inch off her lifetime best.

That adds to a two-event total of 1,842 points. Texas Tech junior Kelsey Lloyd leads the competition after two events with a score of 1,941 points.

The pentathlon field heads to the shot put next, followed by the long jump and the 800 meters.


We are underway

Practice No. 1 started with "Flex" (stretching) at exactly 10:12 a.m. (three minutes early according to my watch. Here are the first photos:


Photo of the Day: March 13

No snow, no hockey rink ... must be time for spring football practice (full disclosure: this picture was taken Friday morning. As I post this on Saturday, there is a steady rain falling in Madison).

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Five former FB standouts named to "Icons" watch list

The Big Ten Network tabbed eight Wisconsin icons to the preliminary Big Ten Icons Watch List at a reception Thursday night, hosted by the Big Ten Network in Indianapolis.

Representing Wisconsin on the prestigious list are five former football standouts in Alan Ameche, Ron Dayne, Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch, Pat Richter and Mike Webster. The men's hockey program boasts Chris Chelios and Mark Johnson while Suzy Favor Hamilton represents the women's track and field team.

Read the full release here.

Mellon moves on

Wisconsin freshman Zach Mellon is on to the finals of the men's 800 meters after his run of 1:49.73 in Friday's prelims.

Mellon finished fourth in his preliminary heat and advanced into the final based on time. The top three finishers in each section automatically advanced, with the next two fastest times also moving on.

Mellon will race in the finals at 7:35 p.m. Saturday and, as long as he finishes the race, will earn the first All-America honor of his young career.

Oregon senior Andrew Wheating holds the top seed time for the final after running a 1:49.23 to win Mellon's prelims section.


Seidl's day done in high jump

Senior Megan Seidl is out of the women's high jump competition at the NCAA indoor championships after failing to clear the third height in the competition at 5 feet, 10 inches (1.78m).

Seidl had a first-attempt clearance at 5-7 and then made it over 5-8 3/4 on her second jump at that bar.

She then missed on all three attempts at 5-10. Seidl is likely to finish 17th in the field.

The Badgers will wrap up the first day of the NCAA indoor championships with freshman Zach Mellon running the prelims of the men's 800 meters at 6:55 p.m.

Follow along with live results and live video.


Ready to roll in Fayetteville

Wisconsin senior Megan Seidl is about to get things going for the Badgers at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, with the women's high jump set to begin at 2:45 p.m.

Seidl is the 18th and final jumper in the order.

There are several ways to follow along during the meet:
- Live Video (until 8 p.m.)
- Live Video (8 p.m. to finish)
- Live Results



The Badgers have arrived at Conseco Fieldhouse and they were greeted by a bomb-sniffing dog (standard procedure).

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Always looking at 'Next'

Before the Badgers and Fighting Illini tangle, Michigan and Ohio State are battling in a quarterfinal matchup. If Wisconsin wins, the Badgers will play the winner of that game. With that in mind, Associate Head Coach Greg Gard and Assistant Coach Howard Moore went over to Conseco Fieldhouse early to scout the two potential opponents.

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Shoot-around on Gameday

Since there were games in Conseco Fieldhouse Thursday night, the Badgers' only chance to work out in the arena was during shoot-around Friday morning. With games beginning at Noon (ET) and five teams trying to use the space, there isn't much time.

2010_Indy 040.jpgWisconsin had the court for 30 minutes beginning at 9 a.m. sharp. The team arrived a few minutes early just as the Fighting Illini were finishing up their shoot-around. Don't worry, there was no trash-talking as the two teams passed on the court.

Today's shoot-around consisted of a little full-court dribbling to loosen up, then nothing but shooting, shooting and more shooting. Just trying to get a feel for the rims and sight lines.

After shoot-around it's back to the hotel for pregame meal and last minute preparations. The guys will get taped up and dressed for the game... bus rolls over to Conseco at 1 p.m.

Here is a glimpse inside the Badgers' shoot-around.

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Photo of the Day: March 12

The latest addition to the "Wow Room" in the football office:

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The Badgers are In-dianapolis

The Badgers arrived in Indianapolis just before 8 p.m. Thursday night. The guys will lay low tonight in preparation for Friday's rubber match with the Illini at 2:30 p.m. (ET). Dinner at the hotel and movie night are probably on the agenda.

Jon Leuer exits the plane in Indianapolis.

2010_Indy 008_sm.jpgTrevon Hughes

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Rob Wilson (right) and Tim Jarmusz

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All Aboard for Indy

After practicing in Madison, the team and staff (below) departed for Indianapolis Thursday afternoon. Gray skies in Madison... sounds like more of the same in Indy.


Alvarez on College Football Hall of Fame Ballot

Former Badger football coach and current Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez had a big year in 2009, being inducted to both the Wisconsin State Athletic Hall of Fame and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. He may be adding the College Football Hall of Fame to that list.

Alvarez is one of seven former college coaches to appear on the the 2010 Football Bowl Subdivision Ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame announced today by the National Football Foundation. The ballot was mailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Court, which deliberates and selects the class. Chaired by Gene Corrigan, a former ACC Commissioner and NCAA president, the 13-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and members of the media.

The FBS Hall of Fame Class will be announced live May 27 from the NASDAQ Times Square site in New York City during a noon press conference and inducted at The National Football Foundation s Annual Awards Dinner on December 7, 2010 at the landmark Waldorf-Astoria Hotel also in New York City. The May 27 press conference has been carried live on ESPNEWS for the past three years, and the same coverage is anticipated again this year.

There are currently eight former Badgers in the College Football Hall of Fame, including Pat O'Dea, Robert Butler, Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch, Marty Below, Alan Ameche, Dave Schreiner, Pat Harder and Pat Richter.

If Alvarez is inducted, he can expect another citation from Governor Jim Doyle, like the one he received on March 3.


Some last words on Pro Day

This will be the last Pro Day post as starting tomorrow we will be all spring ball, all the time.

It's pretty widely known that Chris Maragos has been training with former Badger Jim Leonhard. Here are the two of them talking about that relationship (courtesy of WKOW here in Madison):

WKOW's web site has a couple more videos you can check out as well.

Quick thoughts from Tolzien, Clay and Watt

Tomorrow we will have our complete spring football preview on the site but thought we would share some quotes from senior quarterback Scott Tolzien, reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year John Clay and junior defensive end J.J. Watt.

ProDay_7.jpgOn his spot on the depth chart: "I still take the approach that it's open competition and you can't get complacent because we have some great young talent at the quarterback position. I don't think there's any spot sealed for the season. That's the coaches' take-home message."

On the players he is looking forward to seeing in spring practice: "Offensively, I'm looking forward to seeing the tight ends step up. We lost two great guys last year, they were great team captains, great workers, great leaders, and it's time for those young guys to step up. I'm excited to see the progress they've made since the end of the season."

ProDay_5.jpgOn sitting out spring practice: "I'd say it's beneficial. I'm getting the rest that I need and the rehab on my ankle. It's also giving me a chance to study the game more."

On his rehab schedule: "I'm in the pool at 4:45 a.m., so I get up around 4:15. Then I turn around and have workouts at 7, so I don't go home, I just stay in the stadium and get a little sleep. Then I go to classes. I sleep pretty much through the day after going to class and seeing my tutors and advisors and coach's meeting. I'm pretty wiped out after that. It's pretty tough but I'm getting adjusted to it. My body's getting used to getting up early."

On what gains he's looking to make during spring practice: "Personally, I'm looking to improve my pass rush. Last year my pass rush wasn't up to par. (O'Brien) Schofield had most of the sacks for our defensive line so I want to step up my game in that area. Also, obviously I want to continue to get better in the run game and enhance myself overall as a player. I feel our defensive line this year is going to be really good. We have a lot of young guys stepping up and pressuring me so there's no guarantee on defense. Having those guys step up and pressure me from behind has made me work harder."

On replacing O'Brien Schofield:
"Nobody's going to replace O.B. as a leader or as a football player. I'm going to do everything in my power that I can to try and replace him and try and step into that leadership void that we have. The best part of the Wisconsin football team is all the leaders we have. Our guys really hold each other accountable. We're a really accountable football team and that's our strength."

Ryan Seeking 600th Career Win

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100303MBB-6938-Team.jpgBo Ryan enters Friday's game against Illinois with 599 career wins as a collegiate head coach.

With his next win, Ryan will become the 56th member of the exclusive 600-win club. He would be one of just nine active Div. 1 coaches with 600 career wins joining pretty exclusive company.

Perhaps even more impressive... Ryan's .766 win percentage (599-183 overall record) is second to only Roy Williams' .799 among active coaches. Here are the Div. 1 active members of the 600-win club:

Coach (Current School)          Yrs    Won    Lost    Pct.
Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) . . . . . . 35    859      279     .755
Jim Boeheim (Syracuse). . . . . . 34     827      291     .740
Jim Calhoun (UConn) . . . . . . . . 38     822      356     .698
Bob Huggins (West Virginia) . .  28      663      240     .734
Gary Williams (Maryland) . . . . . 32     648      364     .640
Tom Penders (Houston) . . . . . . 36      644      437     .596
Homer Drew (Valparaiso) . . . . .  33     617      415      .598
Roy Williams (N. Carolina) . . . . 21      610     153      .799
Bo Ryan (Wisconsin). . . . . . .    26     599      183     .766

Photo of the day: March 11

Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, obviously trying to glean some pointers from former Badger and current NY Jet Jim Leonhard at yesterday's Pro Day.


Sights and sounds from Pro Day

If you want to know the details of Pro Day and how the former Badgers fared, you can check out our story and video or Tom Mulhern's (Wisconsin State Journal) story on O'Brien Schofield, Garrett Graham and Chris Maragos.

However, here on the Football Blog, we have all the behind the scenes info.

ProDay_1.jpgOn the left side of the photo you've got O'Brien Schofield embracing former Badger Cecil Martin. But the real story is on the right side where Nick Toon is sporting his new haircut. The dreads are gone. John Moffitt also has a new 'doo which, according to Garrett Graham, makes him "look like a fifth-grader." For Moff's self-esteem, I did not shoot a picture of that.

ProDay_4.jpgTwo of the more recognizable former Badgers in attendance at Pro Day: Jim Leonhard and Cecil Martin. Other celebrities spotted in the crowd included Travis Beckum, Matt Lepay, Taylor Mehlhaff, Terry Calloway, Joe Panos and Barry Alvarez.

Talking to Leonhard (J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!), I told him I would plug his web site, www.jimleonhardfootball.com. He said it's a little bare bones right now but they will be updating it soon.

NCAA start lists released

The official start lists for this weekend's NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships were released Wednesday afternoon. Men's Lists | Women's Lists

The only revelation to come from the release of the heat sheets is in which heat -- and against whom -- freshman Zach Mellon will race in the men's 800 meters.

Mellon will race in the second of two heats in the prelims of the 800 on Friday, placing him in the same section as a pair of returning All-Americans. Oregon senior Andrew Wheating was the runner-up at last year's NCAA meet, while Baylor senior Chris Gowell was fifth.

Maybe he should work for us

Defensive end J.J. Watt is a prolific Twitterer and provided 10 updates from Pro Day today. I caught him in the act. Ben Strickland (left), Dan Cascone and coach Joe Rudolph do not seem too interested in his Tweets.


On the road again

It feels like just yesterday that assistant coach Mark Guthrie and I made this drive, but here we are on the road again.

Coach Guthrie and I made the nearly 12-hour trek from Madison to Fayetteville, Ark., for the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships last June, and we're retracing our steps again today en route to this weekend's 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships.

This time, however, we're joined by men's volunteer assistant coach Tom Peterson and athletic trainer Chuck Hart for the journey.

Courtside Bloggage by Matt Ryan

And Now Deep Blogs... by Matt Ryan

Well well well well well well well, look who's back.  I'm in a blog eat blog world and I'm a blog eat blog kind of girl. I hope I make Jack Handy proud.  

Courtside_bloggage_image.jpgWhat a year it has been. Not one pre-season list had this Wisconsin Badger team finishing in the top half of the conference and before the year started Sports Illustrated decided to leave us out of their projected postseason NCAA tournament of 65. Whoops.

Now I know our players and coaches don't look at that stuff... but the video guy does.

All work and no play

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

It is the second week of my blog, and what a busy week I have had already.

Monday was all about training in the morning and recruiting in the afternoon. I took a quick trip to the Chicago area to watch a game and sit on a recruiting panel. Needless to say, I got home at 12:30 am and got just enough sleep for training at 8 am on Tuesday. Tuesday was a great day as we had team training and several individual sessions. I was really pleased with the improvement I have seen with the players technically over the past few weeks. I did some office work, sending e-mails and making phone calls, and then headed to train a local club team. It is fun to work with younger players sometimes, as it gives me a different perspective as a coach.

Team USA visits the Ellen Show

Ellen DeGeneres invited Team USA back to the Ellen Show to show off their silver medals and reflect on the Olympics.

Happy Birthday

Number one Wisconsin fan Andy North was at practice Tuesday (like he always is), but this time the Badgers were honored to be in his presence. North celebrated his (insert milestone) birthday with the team, complete with a 'Happy Birthday' serenade from the players and coaches.

Loved the brownies. Happy Birthday Andy!

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A Finish That Lasts

Do you want to know the biggest difference between last year's men's hoops team and this year's incarnation? I mean, other than not having a player wearing goggles.

The biggest difference? Finishing games.

Wisconsin has been remarkably good at closing out games in 2009-10. I mean, incredibly good.

The Badgers boast a perfect 22-0 record when leading or tied with 4:00 remaining in regulation. That includes a 12-0 mark in Big Ten play.

By comparison, Wisconsin was 17-8 last season when leading or tied at the four-minute
mark of regulation, including 9-6 in Big Ten play.

The ability to close like Mariano Rivera is what makes this year's Badgers a 23-7 team that has high hopes come postseason time.


Photo of the Day: March 10

All this fancy equipment and defensive linemen Anthony Mains (left) and J.J. Watt are getting in some good, old-fashioned pull ups during their workout on Tuesday.

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This is a job for Superman!

Figuring out whether the University of Wisconsin women's basketball team is in the NCAA tournament has been like walking around like a chicken with its head cut off. The bracketologists all say that the Badgers are in and could be seeded as high as eighth. But those people who have inside connections to the NCAA selection committee say that the UW is still on the bubble and a lot will depend upon how the remaining conference tournaments play out. If the favorites win, the Badgers are in. If there are too many upsets, Wisconsin could drop out of the bracket. Many conference tournaments run right up until Sunday so the Badgers could be hanging by a thread until Monday's selection show.

Some updates from the NFL

Fans can never get enough of the Badgers in the NFL so here are some offseason updates:

-- Chris Chambers has re-signed with the Kansas City Chiefs
-- Looks like Jim Sorgi has switched Mannings, or has he?
-- TE Owen Daniels, coming off major knee surgery, received the maximum tender from the Houston Texans and is a restricted free agent
-- Joe Thomas will be part of an NFL-USO tour to military bases throughout Southwest Asia
-- Long snapper Mike Schneck has retired after 11 years in the NFL

Photo of the Day: March 9

The Badgers had their first team meeting to kick off spring practice on Monday night. Coach Bielema went over the schedule and expectations of the spring. Among the notable things he talked about was community service, mentioning that defensive end J.J. Watt has done more than 20 hours of community service this semester while quarterback Scott Tolzien has done 15 to lead the team.

Here is coach presiding over the meeting:

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The Voice with Matt Lepay

 Bo Ryan is on record as being less than a big fan of the Big Ten Tournament.  He would much rather emphasize the regular conference season, featuring a 20-game schedule, with home and road games against everyone in the conference.  The Badgers coach also wasn't born yesterday, and he fully understands the money and marketing factor of the conference tournament.  Not that he really agrees with the concept, but he knows the drill.

Badgers take over Assembly Hall

The Badgers landed in Champaign, Illinois Saturday and spent the afternoon practicing at Assembly Hall. Head coach Bo Ryan put the team through an extended shooting session before running possessions and working on how the team will attack Illinois Sunday.

2010_Illinois 006.jpgScout team point guard Wquinton Smith did his best Demetri McCamey impression zig-zagging off the dribble and finding shooters. Jason Bohannon seemed to match him step for step, keeping up his torrid shooting streak.

If you think the guys just go through the motions the day before a game, you should have seen Jordan Taylor go after a loose ball during the middle of practice. He saved the ball, then launched himself off one of the courtside chairs and came crashing down next to me on one of the media tables.

Coach Ryan turned to me and said, "Check to make sure he didn't damage the table. I know he's alright."

The table and chairs were unharmed. Here is a re-creation of the scene:

2010_Illinois 013.jpgThe Badgers didn't have Jon Leuer in the season's first match-up with Illinois. He had 15 points, six rebounds and two blocks the last time he faced the Illini. Think he might be a difference-maker Sunday?

2010_Illinois 012.jpgWhen the team arrived at Assembly Hall the scoreboard had been lowered to eye-level on the court and the lights were all off. Not to worry, they raised it (sort of) and turned the lights on. Only one long cord hung down low. Good thing the team's half-court shooting contests start from the sidelines.


ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Quick update from Crisler Arena. Team got here at about 8 a.m. (ET) and had skin checks and weigh-ins at about 8:50 a.m. (ET). Everyone was cleared in both instances. Since they don't have to wrestle until much later, Trevor Brandvold and Eric Bugenhagen are heading back to the hotel. They'll return at about 11:30 a.m. (ET). Arena is fairly uneventful right now. Final preparations being done by everyone. Only two guys out on the mats right now, UW assistant coach Jared Frayer and a coach from Iowa.

The Hay's in the Barn

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For the Wisconsin wrestling team, all the preparation for the Big Ten Championships is finished. All that's left to do is wrestle. Hopefully that clears up the title of this post.

The trip to Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- I'll have more posts coming up soon about the coaches' meeting from this afternoon and the team's meeting tonight, but I thought first I'd recap what's taken place so far on the trip. If I don't do it this way it's going to turn into a Joe Posnanski-esque blog entry that, while very enjoyable to read, seems to daunting to even begin.

Spring soccer and some other tidbits

Wisconsin women's soccer head coach Paula Wilkins will keep a consistent blog throughout the  spring season to track the team's progress and other tidbits. Check back to UWBadgers.com for regular updates.

With much encouragement from the staff on the fourth floor, I have decided to write a blog about the daily occurrence of the women's soccer program at Wisconsin and tidbits about Wisconsin along the way.

When I was a player at UMass, I believed coaching would be the ideal job, as you would only have to come in for training around 1 pm and be done by 4 pm each day. I was completely surprised when I got into coaching at Penn State that it was much more time intensive and physically demanding. I hope to walk you through our spring training and beyond.

We are currently in our nontraditional season, and we've had very busy days.  In the offseason, we spend a significant amount of time developing the players and the team's mentality through individual sessions, meetings, fitness training and team training. This is where we feel we develop the program and the team for next year. This Friday was a bit atypical, but it started at 8 am with the extra fitness group doing a workout for 30 minutes. At 8:30 am, the individual sessions started and we finished the last individual session around 1 pm. Today a bunch of players came onto the turf to do some extra individual stuff, which is always great to see. I have one meeting left with a player to discuss her fitness and her mentality to training, so today is a generally light day. I will finish up with some recruiting emails before the weekend.

The individual training has been great for me as a coach, as I get to know the players on a different level and get to address their specific needs. Monday we'll start the week off great, with training at 7:45 am. We are focusing on attacking in the final third this week in preparation for our upcoming matches, and I am hoping to see a difference in our movement off the ball in the final third.

Personally, this has been a great journey for me in my coaching career at Wisconsin. It has been a great challenge to rebuild a program, and it has had its ups and downs.  However, I truly believe I have grown as a coach, and I will continue to be challenged in the next few seasons. I have completely enjoyed my transition to Madison, and every Friday I find a new restaurant to eat at, so along with blogging about our spring training, I hope to let people know a little more about Madison and everything it has to offer. 

Well, I will focus on the food... I will have a food review for you next week. However, last night I went to Monty's Blue Plate on the east side for a piece of pie, and I have to suggest to everyone to try the pie from Monty's or at Hubbard if you are on the west side, so good. Last night was caramel apple walnut, and I will be back for another one. 

Also, to keep myself motivated to run, I have decided to try to run from my house in Madison, Wis. back to my hometown, Middletown, Pa.  It is a total of 810 miles, door to door (at least that is what Mapquest says), and I am attempting to run it by totaling my daily mileage running.  As of right now, I think I am somewhere near Milton, Wis, and I only have 765.5 miles to go to reach Middletown.  I will keep you updated.  Have a great weekend, and think about us coaches, as I will be meeting with a recruit on Saturday, no rest for the weary.

- Paula Wilkins

Spring preview from ESPN.com

Adam Rittenberg from ESPN.com takes a look at the Badgers heading into the spring and outlines what he thinks are the strongest (offensive line) and weakest (defensive tackle) positions entering the start of practice.

Coach Bielema is tweeting again

After a prolonged absence from the world of Twitter, head coach Bret Bielema is back in the game. Follow him for multiple updates a day throughout spring practice (interesting tidbit about Kevin Claxton switching positions today).


Spring football schedule

Here's a look at the Badgers' schedule in the coming weeks:


Schofield talks about the NFL Combine

Former Badger DE O'Brien Schofield was at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis recently. He spoke to Chris Martin of the Big Ten Network on a number of items, mainly his knee injury, his change of positions and where he thinks he will end up on draft day. Watch the video below:

Breaking down the bubble

Both the Wisconsin men's and women's track and field teams are dividing their resources this weekend in hopes of adding to their list of qualifiers for next week's NCAA Indoor Championships.

A number of Badgers will compete at UW-Whitewater's Karl Schlender Last Chance, largely for the reason of getting another competition under their belts to avoid going a month without racing. The Big Ten Indoor Championships concluded on Feb. 28, and the Badgers don't get the outdoor season going in earnest until the Florida State Relays on March 26.

Those with the best chance of earning a spot in the NCAA championships -- you know, "on the bubble" -- are set to compete either at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., or the Iowa State Last Chance in Ames, Iowa.

Badgers up to No. 1 in regional ranks

The Wisconsin men's track and field team may have settled for a third-place finish at last weekend's Big Ten indoor championships, but the Badgers can take solace in the fact that they've vaulted to the No. 1 spot in the latest regional rankings.

UW moved to the top of the order in the Great Lakes Region, according to the latest version of the USTFCCCA Regional Team Index released Tuesday.

The Voice with Matt Lepay

On Wednesday night, the Badgers will finish the home portion of their schedule.  Once again, the team and the fans will have a chance to salute the senior class.  In this case, the senior class is not very big, but the contributions of Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon have been quite big.