Thursday, August 30, 2012

Montee Ball looking for the Heisman


University of Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball is one of five players clustered near the top of a wide-open Heisman Trophy race entering the college football season, according to the largest poll of Heisman voters.
StiffArmTrophy.com had 51 Heisman voters list their top 15 Heisman candidates entering the season.
Ball, the only returning Heisman finalist, is one of four players who were named on 50 of the 51 ballots. The others are South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley, considered by many people as the top Heisman candidate, came next after being named on 49 ballots.
One indication of the struggle Ball faces to make it back to New York as a finalist this year: seven of the top 10 vote-getters are quarterbacks. Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas ranks seventh, with 36 votes, to join Ball and Lattimore in the top 10.
In 2011, Robert Griffin III started the season ranked No. 11 on this watch list and in 2010, Cam Newton didn't appear in the preseason poll. Those two quarterbacks are the last two Heisman winners.
Let's hope Ball can win it. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jack Russell is the field goal kicker


University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema released on Monday the first depth chart since the end of the 2011 season.
The biggest surprise is freshman kicker Jack Russell, from Waunakee High School, will handle field goals and extra points, while sophomore Kyle French will handle kickoffs. Coming into preseason camp, the opposite was expected.
Russell, who only kicked for two years in high school, won the field-goal job when French struggled at the end of last week.
The next biggest surprise is that redshirt freshman Derek Watt, who moved from middle linebacker to fullback a week ago, is listed as the co-starter along with sophomore Sherard Cadogan.
As expected, redshirt freshman Jordan Fredrick, from Madison Memorial, is one of three starting receivers listed on offense. The depth chart lists 13 starters on offense and 14 players overall, counting co-starters at fullback.
Junior Jared Abbrederis is a returning starter at wide receiver; also listed is sophomore Kenzel Doe. Based on recent practices, Doe will play the slot when UW goes to three receivers.
Let's hope he makes every kick. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

O'Brien hopes to make impact


They play the same position, came from the same conference and took advantage of the same rule.
Ultimately, they both landed in the same program, for similar reasons.
The comparisons between Russell Wilson and Danny O’Brien should end there, but they won’t, of course.
Since O’Brien made the decision to transfer from Maryland and follow the path Wilson forged a year ago to the University of Wisconsin — each getting a chance to play right away, having earned a degree — much of the focus has been on the similarities between their situations.
Now that O’Brien has arrived on campus, spent two months getting to know his teammates and has gone through the first week of preseason camp, it might be appropriate to point out the differences.
One of Wilson’s strongest supporters, from Day One, was UW athletic director Barry Alvarez, who quickly recognized the special talent that arrived from North Carolina State.
So, after O’Brien signed with UW in the spring, Alvarez was asked to make a comparison between the two.
Let's hope the Badgers go to BCS game this year.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Montee Ball gets beat up


University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball suffered a concussion and facial injuries after five men jumped him early Wednesday in an area near campus that has been plagued by violence. Police are investigating whether the Heisman Trophy contender was targeted because of who he is.
Ball suffered blows to the head and is being treated by the UW sports medicine staff, according to the UW Athletic Department. He was treated and released from a local hospital after the attack, which occurred about 2:15 a.m. in the 500 block of University Avenue.
"We will continue to evaluate him as we approach the start of fall camp this weekend," UW coach Bret Bielema said in a statement. "I do expect Montee to make a full recovery."
The Badgers report for preseason camp on Sunday and begin practice on Monday. UW's season opener is Sept. 1 against Northern Iowa at Camp Randall Stadium.
Efforts to contact Ball or his family Wednesday were unsuccessful. But on his Twitter account, Ball wrote: "I appreciate the support and thank you for the concerns. I will be OK! See you guys in September!"
The senior is considered to be one of the top preseason Heisman Trophy contenders in the nation. UW coaches raved about the work he put in during the summer, and Ball tweeted on Tuesday, "You have no idea how ready I am for this fall."
Let's hope this does not happen again.