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Wisconsin football: Badgers wide receiver/safety Tanner McEvoy impresses in first day of fall camp

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It's only the first day of practice, but a couple Wisconsin Badgers started the 2015 season on the right foot.

A day after their annual media day, the Wisconsin Badgers had their first fall camp practice under head coach Paul Chryst on Monday. From reports at practice and as expected, players didn't hit and there were no 11-on-11 team drills. However, the Badgers did run 7-on-7 drills in addition to position work.

"It was fun getting out here," Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said, "and I told the kids at the end of practice today that I appreciated their energy, their enthusiasm to it.

"It was a good start. Obviously we got a ways to go, but we'll get there if we keep stacking days like this -- and I know it's the first day, right? But I like their approach. It was fun."

Senior Tanner McEvoy, who Chryst said on Sunday would get more looks at wide receiver in fall camp, began with a solid start at the position, according to many in the media. That, and from what many reporters who were in attendance, an initial look of a starting five offensive line, though not finalized by any stretch, was shown.

Tanner McEvoy shines in first practice at wide receiver

It's only the start of McEvoy's Heisman Trophy campaign the first day of practice with no pads or hitting, but there's the glimmer of hope that a second viable threat at wide receiver behind senior Alex Erickson may emerge with McEvoy. Those watching noted how senior quarterback Joel Stave has found some chemistry with his former competition at quarterback in McEvoy:

Chryst noted McEvoy's a big body that can run and has really good hands, along with a good football IQ. The ratio of offense to defense is up in the air still for the fifth-year senior, but as McEvoy continues to learn the position, Chryst is optimistic about his value on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

"I think that in the spring he did a ton of safety work, and I think he feels comfortable there," Chryst said. "I think there's some of the details at the wide out spot that he's gotta get, and our plan is to think he can help us on both."

As BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull noted in his recap, McEvoy played wide receiver with some success in high school.

Offensive line talk

One of the major transition points for the 2015 Wisconsin Badgers is rebuilding and reloading an offensive line that lost three starters after helping running back Melvin Gordon rush for 2,587 yards in 2014. Chryst said on Sunday that the pool of candidates for the starting jobs was found in spring camp, but the fall camp would decide who gets the nod starting Sept. 5 against Alabama.

Worgull also wrote about the seemingly heavier workload given to the linemen by offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph ($).

When asked about Rudolph working the linemen with that intensity on the first day of fall practices, Chryst said with a laugh, "He should be. He's the o-line coach, and we've building towards it."

Other notes/observations

  • Chryst noted the first week's mostly about installation, and he thought the players retained the information well.
  • Wisconsin director of athletics Barry Alvarez watched practice. Chryst says he feels fortunate to have him and calls Alvarez a "valuable resource."
  • Thought McEvoy provided a deep threat to Stave, ESPN Wisconsin's Zach Heilprin observed the defense had a decent day with some forced turnovers.

Make sure to read more day one observations from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff PotrykusBadgerBlitz's John Veldhuis ($), the Wisconsin State Journal's Jason Galloway and 247Sports' Evan Flood ($).