Nothing better as a Coach than watching young men reach their goals. #OnWisconsin-- Gary Andersen (@UWCoachAndersen) August 5, 2014
- Photos: Morning Practice | Afternoon Practice
Good day of work for our guys with a schedule that got everybody reps. Looking forward to getting the pads on!! #Badgers-- Gary Andersen (@UWCoachAndersen) August 5, 2014
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.
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.
From the look and sound of things, Dekker has taken full advantage of his most recent opportunity.
I know you're here for LeBron news and LeBron news only, but the most impressive guys in the college camp are Sam Dekker and Kelly Oubre.-- Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) July 10, 2014
Sam Dekker is pretty good. Knows a lot. Does a lot. #LeBronJamesSkillsAcademy-- Coach John Lucas (@CoachJohnLucas1) July 10, 2014
All these young high school players need to be watching 6'9" Sam Dekker's work ethic in all these drills! Excellent footwork! He grinds!!-- Joey_Velasquez (@HoopsWhisperer) July 9, 2014
Sam Dekker has been really, really good thus far here at LeBron James Camp. Consistently assertive, making shots, defending, passing, etc.-- Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 11, 2014
- 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!
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.