Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, April 28, 2012
Wisconsin played its annual spring game Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, and while several key Badgers were on the sidelines, including stars Montee Ball and Chris Borland, it still looked strong. Watch highlights now and see our sideline interviews with Ball, Borland and former wide receiver Nick Toon, who was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the NFL draft, in this post. Also, see what BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart learned from Saturday's action and check out some of the best in-game tweets. You can watch the game again at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on BTN.
Here's what Dienhart learned:
- The defensive line looks improved. The unit has a chance to be good, with the likes of ends Pat Muldoon and Brendan Kelly and tackles Jordan Kohout and Ethan Hemer. The big key will be developing a pass rush. It will help when a healthy David Gilbert is able to come off the edge.
- Kicker Kyle French looked good. And that?s good, because the Badgers have lost Philip Welch, who was a good one. In a rapid-fire kicking session, French hit from 27, 32, 37, 42 and 52 yards before missing from 57 yards.
- Well know about Montee Ball, but the Badgers have good depth at running back. Melvin Gordon showed that today, running 30 times for 159 yards and a score. The 6-1, 205-pound Gordon-a freshman last season–may have a bright future, but carries may be difficult to come this fall with Ball and James White ahead of him.
- Linebacker Jake Keefer turned some heads today for what could be a very good Badger from seven. The 6-3, 232-pound Keefer redshirted last season after arriving in Madison as a touted prospect. The starting linebackers figure to be Derek Landisch, A.J. Fenton and Chris Borland. But, look for Keefer to push for time behind Landisch at an outside spot.
- The quarterbacks had their moments, as Joel Stave and Joe Brennan showed flashes. In particular, Stave looked the best of the two, hitting 14-of-25 passes for 135 yards with a touchdown and interception. But it figures to be difficult for either to hold off Maryland transfer Danny O?Brien once he arrives. Still, Wisconsin looks to have good depth at quarterback in case injuries crop up.
- Chase Hammond had some nice catches for a receiving corps that?s looking to replace Nick Toon. Jared Abbrederis has been out with injury, and Jeff Duckworth is a somewhat known commodity. So, who else will emerge at wideout? Hammond, a 6-5, 212-pound redshirt freshman, could be a guy who took that next step today.
Montee Ball interview:
Chris Borland interview:
Nick Toon on being drafted:
UWBadgers.com: Live Spring Blog