UW Health Sports Medicine 

Andersen's answer: You're on scholarship


Walk-ons have been a backbone of the Wisconsin football program since Barry Alvarez put an emphasis on the program when he arrived in Madison in 1990. Since then, 76 players that walked onto the team at UW have gone on to be awarded scholarships. Well, make it 77. 

Head coach Gary Andersen added another member to that list Sunday as the Badgers gathered for a team meeting on the eve of their first practice sessions of Fall Camp 2014. At the end of a trivia game -- bucket hats were the prize for correct answers -- Andersen posed a question to sophomore long snapper Connor Udelhoven: How many walk-ons have earned a scholarship under the current coaching staff's watch?

Udelhoven missed the multiple-choice question (the correct answer is eight, well, now nine) but that had no bearing on Andersen's decision to add him to the ranks of the players on scholarship.

One for the defense, one for the offense

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- Photos: Morning Practice  |  Afternoon Practice

The Badgers split up and went their separate ways again Tuesday for the second day of practices inside Camp Randall Stadium, with one group teeing it up at 6:20 a.m. and the other taking its turn at 1 p.m.

As was the case Monday, the 16-period practices were shorter than what the team would usually face in the first week of camp, but the split-squad approach actually allowed players to take part in more reps than normal. Both sessions followed the same script, with the offense and defense squaring off in a third-down pass skeleton competition to close out practice.

The defense won bragging rights -- and the right to watch the offense be subjected to a little extra running -- in the morning practice, with CB Sojourn Shelton's breakup of a Tanner McEvoy pass intended for WR Robert Wheelwright among the highlights. It was a different story in the afternoon, with the offense getting the last laugh thanks to a couple of connections between QB Joel Stave and WR Reggie Love during the first team's reps and a nice catch and run by freshman RB Taiwan Deal on a pass from QB Bart Houston to cap the No. 2 unit's turn.

The Badgers' starting QB contenders, McEvoy and Stave, switched spots on Day 2 after Stave got the morning call and McEvoy took the afternoon shift on Monday.

Wednesday brings another set of split-squad workouts but marks the team's first practices in "Badger Gear," a limited set of pads. The full pads come out Friday, something head coach Gary Andersen is anxiously awaiting if his post-practice tweet is any indication.

Happy new year: Badgers open fall camp



Photos: Morning Practice  |  Afternoon Practice

The month-long march to a much-anticipated season opener began Monday for the Wisconsin football team, which took the field at Camp Randall Stadium in shifts for the first practices of the 2014 season.

The 14th-ranked Badgers opened fall camp -- and, in essence, their preparation for No. 13 LSU -- with a pair of split-squad sessions aimed at maximizing the number of reps for each player. The divided approach will continue Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the Badgers strap on full pads for the first time on Friday.

The morning session's 6:20 a.m. start time meant football under the lights for the first group of players, who drilled for 16 periods with a number of their teammates who were slotted into the afternoon session on hand as spectators. "If they think that they can gain something out of a practice, then they can come in and watch it," UW head coach Gary Andersen said of the non-participating players. "If I was fighting for a spot, pretty good chance I'd be sitting in those stands."

"I like the schedule," he added. "I think it's great. The reps were fantastic."

One highlight came from freshman kicker Rafael Gaglianone, who went 5-for-5 on field goal tries to open the practice, including an on-the-money boot from 49 yards that had plenty of yardage to spare. "You're going to make me comment on a kicker after one day?" Andersen quipped when he was asked about Gaglianone's performance after the day's second practice.

"He hit them all and he was very confident," Andersen said. "He said, 'Don't worry, coach, I'll make them all.' It was good. I like it. It's better than saying, 'Coach, I plan on missing three today.'"

Also drawing strong reviews was freshman wide receiver George Rushing, whose exploits in the morning session included a one-handed catch he made despite losing a shoe while running his route, and afternoon participant Taiwan Deal, who Andersen is hopeful can take the role of No. 3 tailback behind junior Melvin Gordon and sophomore Corey Clement.

Mikkelson's Amazing Race Adventure

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In this week's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy talks about the upcoming season.

t's been a special four years for the Wisconsin Softball program, going from a 177 RPI team, to back-to-back seasons, finishing ranked in the Top 25, and advancing to the NCAA Regional Championship game.  Yet we are still far from becoming a legacy program.

Our greatest challenge will be overcoming the loss of 5 starters from 2013, and four more, All-Region athletes in 2014.  When you graduate that much success, and experience, new talent must emerge within your program and from your incoming freshmen.  We will need new leaders to step in and take starring roles in our program.  With so much youth and inexperience, we'll need a tremendous amount of leadership, patience, discipline and hard-work.  Yet character and team-work really can overcome a majority of our deficits. 

The greatest asset that Wisconsin Softball 2015 holds, is our character.  This team is filled with truly inspirational young women who care about their teammates, and are driven to achieve. It will take a tremendous amount of buy-in, selflessness, and maturity to weather the storm.  Are you prepared to face the challenges of this leap year?  This is the point in history where most teams on our path experience a great slide.  It is at this point of perceived prosperity, when the times are actually toughest.  Just as experience and success are graduating, most programs are lulled into contentment and laziness.  When we think we're more than we are, we fail to truly see our team and ourselves for who we are, and frustration sets in.  With frustration comes a lack of motivation, turmoil, and dissension. 

This is a critical year in the growth of Wisconsin softball.  Climbs and improvements are never linear.  As we work to become a legacy, championship program, there will always be two steps forward, and one step back.  The question is, how big are the steps forward, and how small can we make the steps back?  As we grow, and climb and achieve, there will always be minor regressions along the.  When winning outpaces recruiting, your team is bottom heavy with inexperience, and trouble naturally arises. 

The good news is, our staff truly believes we can jump this learning curve and survive and even thrive this trap year, through character.  If this group can be the most collaborative, hard-working, selfless, and purpose-driven team in the history of Wisconsin Softball, we just might thrive.  It's the "Why and the what" that will count this season.  Why do you play, what are you playing for, why Wisconsin, what are you fighting for, what drives you, why now?     

 We are excited to enter this journey with you.  This will be your greatest test of character as student-athletes.  Your mental toughness, confidence and composure will be challenged every day.  If you focus on caring for each other, playing for each other, being great teammates, doing things the right way, being purpose-driven athletes, you may surprise every team in the country, and become one of the most memorable teams in Wisconsin Softball history.

Dekker Shines, Courts "The King"

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Dekker_Guarding_Lebron_blog.jpgFollowing his recent standout performance at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy, junior Sam Dekker was one of 30 players invited to attend the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas this week.

From the look and sound of things, Dekker has taken full advantage of his most recent opportunity.

Vote Jump Around



- Vote for Jump Around

The Badgers have reached another final four -- and, this time, the result is completely in the hands of Wisconsin fans.

"Jump Around" has advanced to the semifinal round of the SiriusXM College Sports Nation Traditions Tournament, where it is facing off against Arkansas' tradition of "Calling the Hogs" -- the contest's defending champion from 2013.

Voting for the contest is taking place on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation Facebook page and runs through 11 p.m. (CT) on Sunday.

After holding a sizable lead early, Jump Around was staring at a deficit of roughly 2,000 votes as of Thursday morning. This over this? No way. So go vote!

California Dreamin' III

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Lauren Carlini at USA Volleyball

Hey Badger fans!

Sorry about the delay, but these past few days have been crazy! This will be my last update about training with the U.S. National Team. I will also be answering some questions that fans asked on Twitter about training at the end of this article.

California Dreamin' II

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Hey Badger Fans!

Hope everyone had a good week. Like I said in the last update, half of the team went to Switzerland last week for the Montreux tournament, so the rest of us got a lot of reps and technical work done.

California Dreamin'

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Hey Badger fans,

Lauren Carlini here. I'm going to be doing a weekly update about how things are going out here as I'm training with the U.S. Women's National Team in Anaheim, California.

ON WISCONSIN