In just five days we will get our first and last taste of something like real, live Badger football for the next four months. We'll paw at the morsel, play with it, and ultimately devour it because we need a fix, even though we know that what we see on the field at the Spring Game is diluted and purposely hamstrung, and that the sample size is too small to draw the type of conclusions that will be drawn anyway once the game is over.
The game is hardly useless however, and the parade of newspaper stories leading up to the game create a collage portrait of something resembling the team in its current state of glory. So far, the sense is that the defense has been far ahead of an offense without six potential starters at the moment for reasons like unavailability (Danny O'Brien), injury (Jared Abbrederis) and necessary coddling (Montee Ball and I mean that in a good way). Joel Stave took all of his snaps with the first team during Saturday's scrimmage, and by his performance appears to have locked up the alpha backup spot at quarterback.
The news about the defense is very encouraging, especially the success of a secondary that lost Aaron Henry and Antonio Fenelus after the season. Less encouraging are tidbits like this ...
The highlight for the No. 1 offense came after it was backed up at its own 2-yard line. Gordon had a 16-yard run around right end on first down, then took a toss and went 32 yards around left end behind a great block from sophomore tight end Sam Arneson.
... that suggest that Wisconsin's problems containing the edge last season perhaps haven't gotten much better. Or the depth at running back is just out of this world, which it may be if the coaches are serious about making James White a regular at wideout. In any case, add the defensive ends to the list of players to watch hawkishly on April 28.
More from over the weekend:
Great stuff from a poster over at the Buckyville forums who observed the scrimmage. Extra attention was paid to the interior defensive line and good things were said. Beau Allen appears to be enormous and could be a difference maker.
Jeff Potrykus has more on the Stave/Brennan battle, as well as a couple more notes from the scrimmage.
Former Maryland offensive lineman Max Garcia won't be joining O'Brien in Madison, and will instead head to Florida.
Ryan Groy and recruiting Danny O'Brien, reshuffling the offensive line.
Brian Bennett is in Madison for his weekly look in at Spring practices around the Big Ten. Brett Bielema talked quarterbacks, transition and Montee Ball, and claimed that the beef with Urban Meyer is over. Matt Canada said some more. Marcus Cromarties talked progress in the secondary.
Bielema also recently sat down for a fluffy interview with BTN's Tom Dienhart.
Russell Wilson loves ESPN. ESPN loves Russell Wilson.
Hopefully the last words on Jarrod Uthoff: Bo Ryan shares his final thoughts, is still angry. Jeff Potrykus says the repercussions won't be dire. Tom Oates disagrees, kind of, saying UW's image has taken a hit. Twitter roundup!
Sam Dekker gets invited to the USA National Men's Basketball U18 Team Training Camp.
OTE is moving on to Ohio State this week. Also, more Urban Meyer spite because I enjoy it entirely too much.
Wrapping up: Andy Baggot put together a quiz on the history of Badger athletics for the trivially inclined.