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Spring Forward '14: In-depth look at Badgers in Varsity

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In this week's issue of Varsity magazine, Mike Lucas sits down with UW head coach Gary Andersen and coordinators Dave Aranda and Andy Ludwig for an in-depth at what to watch for during spring practice:
Wisconsin offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has a favorite phrase to describe the standard growing pains for everyone involved. "A year ago at this time, you were drinking water through a fire hose," he said. "Now, you're going about your business and getting ready for a great spring."

The operative word is "settled." Andersen used it, so did Ludwig. "We're so much more settled," Ludwig said. "The coaches know each other. The coaches know the players. The players know the coaches and the system is intact. The system is not changing. There's no new terminology to learn."

It's fair to say everything has settled down on both sides of the ball. That's what UW defensive coordinator Dave Aranda was saying. "In the attitude, in the expectations and in the anticipation of what's coming -- in all of those things -- I just think we're ahead (this spring)," he said.
Read the full story here: Varsity: A Time for Change

Spring Forward '14: Practice #1 Photo of the Day

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Spring football is, more than anything, a learning opportunity and assistant coach Ben Strickland used sophomore-to-be Sojourn Shelton as a teaching tool for his fellow cornerbacks during Wednesday's first practice session (Brian Mason photo).

Six Badgers net invitations to NFL combine

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Montee Ball's performance at the 2013 NFL Combine helped make him a second-round pick of the Denver Broncos.

- Invitations: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine  |  NFL.com Combine Coverage

After strong showings in their respective all-star games, six seniors from the Wisconsin football team will take the next step toward improving their draft stock when they head to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.

Jared Abbrederis, Chris Borland, Ryan Groy, Jacob Pedersen, Dezmen Southward and James White all received invitations to the combine, which is set for Feb. 22-25 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The Badgers' contingent makes up one-sixth of the 36 total invitations extended to Big Ten players. It also matches Ohio State for the most invitees of any Big Ten team and makes UW one of 13 programs nationally to boast more than five invitations.

Abbrederis, Borland, Pedersen, Southward and White all received good reviews from their participation in the Senior Bowl last month, while Groy was well-received at the East-West Shrine Game.

NFL_Scouting_Combine_2014_Logo.jpgMost Invitations, 2014 NFL Scouting Combine
Alabama - 12
LSU - 11
Florida State - 9
Notre Dame - 9
Florida - 8
Stanford - 8
Missouri - 7
North Carolina - 7
USC - 7
Baylor - 6
Ohio State - 6
Oregon - 6
Wisconsin - 6

2014 NFL Scouting Combine Invitations, Big Ten Teams
Wisconsin - 6
Ohio State - 6
Iowa - 5
Michigan State - 4
Michigan - 3
Nebraska - 3
Penn State - 3
Minnesota - 2
Illinois - 1
Indiana - 1
Northwestern - 1
Purdue - 1

Reaction to Russell and Co.

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CBSSports.com

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ESPN.com

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ESPN.com (NFL home)

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NFL.com

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CNN.com

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Seattle Times

Wilson leads Seahawks to Super Bowl XLVIII title

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- Photo Gallery; Badgers in Super Bowl XLVIII

You can't say Russell Wilson never saw this coming. The professional success that has followed Wilson's season at Wisconsin may have come as a surprise to some -- he's "too short" to be an NFL quarterback, remember -- but it certainly was not to Wilson.

"At the beginning of the year, I told the guys, 'Why not us?'" he said in the moments that followed a dominant 43-8 win for his Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.

Of course, Wilson's visions of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy go way to back to a time when his pro prospects were still murky. Speaking after a heartbreaking loss to Oregon in the 2012 Rose Bowl, Wilson said, "To lose the way we did, it's only going to make me stronger in the future. It's going to help me figure out something else, maybe, down the road. Maybe win a Super Bowl. You never know."

Now we know.

Wilson's Seahawks didn't just win -- they dominated. A spectacular defensive effort saw Seattle force four turnovers and snuff out one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history while Wilson went 18-for-26 through theair for 206 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. He also ran for 26 yards.

Those efforts made Wilson and teammates Chris Maragos and O'Brien Schofield the 11th, 12 and 13th former Badgers to claim a Super Bowl ring. Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell -- who guided UW to a Rose Bowl title and finished his career as the Badgers' all-time leading passer -- will get one, too.

On the other side, two-time UW All-American Montee Ball wrapped up his rookie campaign by rushing six times for 1 yard.

Sights and sounds of Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day



We went along for the ride with Denver's Montee Ball and Seattle's Darrell Bevell, Chris Maragos, O'Brien Schofield and Russell Wilson as the former Badgers took part in Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day.

Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day: O'Brien Schofield



We caught up with former Badgers DE O'Brien Schofield at Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day to discuss his path to Seattle, Badgers and Seahawks teammate Chris Maragos and what he's most looking forward to for Super Bowl week.

Photos: Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day

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Montee Ball

Wilson

Russell Wilson

Schofield

O'Brien Schofield

Wilson

Russell Wilson

Maragos

Chris Maragos

Bevell

Darrell Bevell

Wilson

Russell Wilson

Prudential Center

Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day: Montee Ball


We had the chance to catch up with Montee Ball during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day on Tuesday in Newark, getting his thoughts on his rookie season, how his dream of playing for the Broncos has exceeded his expectations and his thoughts on former teammate Melvin Gordon's decision to return for his junior season.

Badgers make most of Senior Bowl showcase

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Senior Bowl Logo
 Senior Bowl Coverage
- Borland's Senior Bowl Blog
- SeniorBowl.com
- NFL.com Senior Bowl Home
- CBSSports.com Senior Bowl Home
- ESPN.com Senior Bowl Home
Based on the rave reviews that flowed out of Mobile, Ala., all week, it should come as no surprise that three Wisconsin football players were among the stars of the Senior Bowl on Saturday.

RB James White was named the North team's Most Outstanding Player after leading this squad in rushing with 62 yards on 11 carries and scoring the North's only touchdown -- a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.

White also led the North with a team-high five receptions, while Badgers TE Jacob Pedersen led the team in terms of receiving yards with 46 on four catches.

Defensively, LB Chris Borland paced all players with eight tackles, including one for loss, and forced a fumble -- no surprise for the man who finished his career with the second-most forced fumbles in FBS history (15).

The Badgers' North team finished on the wrong end of the 20-10 final score, but it was clear UW's contingent -- including WR Jared Abbrederis, who had to withdraw from the game a hamstring injury -- were all winners.

The consensus of those covering the week of practices was that Abbrederis was the best receiver and Borland the most impressive linebacker. White also drew a fair share of praise, while Pedersen underscored his reputation as a reliable receiver and blocker and Southward (who had two tackles in the game) confirmed his flexibility in the defensive backfield.

Combine the performances of those five this week with the favorable impressions left by TE Brian Wozniak at the NLFPA Collegiate Bowl and NG Beau Allen at the East-West Shrine Game and the Badgers' seniors have maximized their chances to improve their draft stocks.

For now, it's back to preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine, which is set for Feb. 22-25 in Indianapolis. The Badgers will also host their annual Pro Day in early March.

Senior Bowl Coverage

- Final Stats
- Photo Gallery (NFL.com)
- Highlights (NFL.com)
- Borland's Senior Bowl Blog

What They're Saying...

- White caught the eye of NFL.com's Mike Huguenin during the game and should benefit from being so productive at UW despite sharing carries with John Clay, Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon: "...one selling point is that because he has shared carries, he has a lot of tread left on his tires."

- Before the game, White talked about his versatility with Packers beat writer Ty Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "That's one big thing coming out of Wisconsin," White said. "It's always, 'He's running behind an NFL offensive line.' I wanted to come out here and showcase my ability to make people miss and showcase my burst. Prove it all."

- NFL.com's Chase Goodbread pointed to Borland as one of the big "winners" from the game.

- Borland was also one of the week's big winners in the eyes of Brent Sobleski of USA Today: "From the moment Borland stepped onto the Senior Bowl practice field at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, he was in control."
ON WISCONSIN