Wisconsin practice Saturday afternoon before Family Fun Day at Camp Randall Stadium, opening the gates to flocks of fans wondering exactly how this Badgers team will look under new head coach Gary Andersen.
The most riveting position battle, among the quarterbacks, continues to drag on. Saturday, it was Curt Phillips who shined, particularly in the two-minute drill. From Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Curt Phillips and Joel Stave continue to get the bulk of the work with the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses.
Andersen concluded practice Saturday with a two-minute drill, with Phillips leading the No. 1 offense vs. he No. 1 defense and Stave leading the No. 2 offense vs. the No. 2 defense.
Each quarterback got the ball at his 30, down by six points, with one timeout and 1 minute 30 seconds left on the clock.
Phillips, who led UW to touchdowns on a trio of two-minute drives last season, directed a 14-play touchdown drive.
He completed 7 of 13 passes - with two spikes to stop the clock - for 69 yards.
In his comments (watch his full media session below) to reporters after practice, Andersen asserted that while some positions naturally need clarity soon -- and that some will indeed get that after Monday's scrimmage -- he won't publicly announce a starting quarterback before Wisconsin's opener Aug. 31 vs. UMass.
"We may get in position to name a starting quarterback in our minds," Andersen said. "The first day it'll be made public is when he jogs out here against UMass.
"Anybody that sits down and watches practice -- you guys are smart guys, gals, you understand where it's going and the direction it is. I think right now it's still wide-open. I think, right now, it's still wide-open. We'll definitely close in on a lot of different positions on Monday after that scrimmage, because it needs to. We'll start game preparation for a couple of our upcoming opponents early next week."
News, notes and observations:
-- Tyler Marz has taken advantage of the injuries and lack of depth along the Badgers' offensive line, and now he could be in the mix for more playing time at tackle. With right guard Kyle Costigan out with sore knees and center Dan Voltz still out with a sore hamstring, Andersen estimated Marz took every snap of practice.
"No. 1, he's tough," Andersen said. "No. 2, he's smart enough to handle the spot where he is. He's getting very, very valuable reps, but he'll be sore tomorrow, I'm sure."
-- Multiple reporters indicated cornerback Sojourn Shelton switched his jersey number to No. 8, previously worn by safety Isaiah Williams, who was on the camp roster for just a few brief days this fall.
-- Interesting note from Zach Heilprin of ESPN Wisconsin:
If there was a game tomorrow, the Badgers likely punt returner would be junior Kenzel Doe. He was taking first reps during the punt return portion of practice. Safeties coach Bill Busch, who will share special teams duties with tight ends coach Jeff Genyk, said on Friday that he feels comfortable having Doe, White and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis back returning punts. He also said that wide receiver Jordan Fredrick could be used back there because he has great ball skills.
No surprises there, but how much looks will White and Abbrederis get, considering their importance to the offense as a whole? Personally, I've always thought it best to send out your best 11 on every play. I'd still rather see Doe seize the punt returner role as his own so that's not a question we have to ponder much.
-- Anyone head out to Family Fun Day? Definitely sounds like it was a great time -- especially considering Beau Allen was apparently on good behavior:
-- Great pic from wide receiver Chase Hammond on Instragram of Camp Randall Stadium, which continues to undergo a dramatic exterior makeover. Rest assured, it looks nice.
-- More visuals: episode three of "The Camp" is out, and it's great as always.