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ESPN Wisconsin Blogs - Zach Heilprin

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Badgers sports: Big Ten submits autonomy proposals

Oct 01, 2014 -- 1:33pm
MADISON - The Big Ten Conference has informed the NCAA about its proposed changes to improve benefits for athletes as part of the new governance structure for the five power conferences.
Among the items in the proposal are multi-year scholarships, a stipend to cover the full cost of attendance, lifetime scholarships and improved medical insurance.
The conference also intends to address student-athlete welfare including health and safety, time demands and academic support.
In a statement, the Big Ten said they look forward to working with the other major conferences to adopt and implement the proposals.

Badgers football: Center-QB exchange needs work

Sep 29, 2014 -- 9:00pm
MADISON - Tanner McEvoy knows there’s a problem, but he’s not quite sure why. The University of Wisconsin has played four games this season, and the quarterback and his center, Dan Voltz, have dealt with a fumbled exchange four times.
“I really don’t know what it is,” McEvoy said Monday. “It’s a two-man game between me and the center. We just got to work on it, be cognizant of it and remember that we’ve got to focus on that easy part of the game and get the exchange.”
Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said in his weekly press conference that they have looked into what might be causing the issues but haven’t seen any particular trends they can point to as the reason.
“There's not a certain way that Dan's (Voltz) going or a certain play where he's really trying to get out of there when it takes place,” said Andersen, who played center in college. “There's been times when we feel like the snap may have been short and Danny may feel that way and Tanner may feel that way, and there's other times when Tanner (McEvoy) feels like the ball may have been there and Dan feels like the ball may have been there. So the good thing about that is we're not pointing fingers. The bad thing about it is we haven't solved it completely yet. And we need to.”
Voltz, who started six games a year ago, agreed with his coach’s sentiments.
“Especially heading into Big Ten play we’re going to have to shore that up,” the sophomore said following the win over South Florida. “It’s a big focus at practice every day. And it’ll continue to be a big focus for us.”
For McEvoy, taking a snap from center is still a relatively new thing. He only played one year of quarterback in high school and was rarely under center. Then he spent a year at South Carolina and a year at Arizona Western College – two programs that work almost exclusively out of the shotgun. However, the junior quarterback wasn’t about to blame that lack of experience for their issues.
“I’ve been doing it everyday in practice for the past however many years,” he said. “It’s not too much of a development. I don’t think that’s the reason for anything.”
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for the Badgers is that the ball almost never hits the ground during the week.
“Those two kids, as well as all of us, are concerned about it and we're going to continue to work to get it fixed,” Andersen said. “And doesn't show up in practice.
“We're working at it. Don't have all the answers there but I know with (offensive line coach) T.J. (Woods) and (offensive coordinator) Andy (Ludwig) and the two young men involved are going to continually focus on it and get it fixed.”

Badgers football: Stave making progress

Sep 29, 2014 -- 7:50pm
MADISON - Joel Stave is making progress.
That was the word from University of Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen on Monday.
“(We’re) excited this week to continue with Joel and the snaps that he's getting at practice,” Andersen said of the quarterback. “Like I said last week, he was more involved in some team reps. And we're looking forward to continually growing that this week.”
The junior has been working his way back from some mental hiccups that popped up near the end of fall camp that ended up impacting his physical performance.
After not throwing to receivers in warm-ups prior to the Western Illinois game, Stave was back involved in that aspect before the past two contests. And he looked much better in those situations than he did prior to the LSU game in Houston.
Sophomore Bart Houston is currently Wisconsin's No. 2 quarterback behind junior Tanner McEvoy.
A year ago, Stave started all 13 games for the Badgers, throwing for the most yards ever by a sophomore – 2,494 – and tossing the second-most touchdowns – 22 – of any quarterback in UW history, while also being picked off 13 times.
He’s 14-4 in games that he starts and finishes, and his career passing efficiency mark of 140.8 is the fourth-best all-time at Wisconsin.

Badgers football: UW up in the polls

Sep 28, 2014 -- 4:46pm
MADISON - A 27-10 win over South Florida helped the University of Wisconsin rise in each of the national polls released on Sunday.
The Badgers jumped two spots in the Associated Press poll to No. 17, and are up one spot in the Amway Coaches Poll to No. 16.
Wisconsin is one of four Big Ten teams in the poll. Michigan State is the highest rated coming in at No. 10 in both polls. Unbeaten Nebraska sits at No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 17 in the coaches’ poll. And Ohio State, who demolished Cincinnati on Saturday, is No. 20 in the writers’ poll and No. 18 in the coaches’ poll.
Iowa and Minnesota are both receiving votes in the coaches’ poll.
You can find both polls here.

Badgers football: Kafentzis puts on a show

Sep 27, 2014 -- 10:18pm
Photo/Ravell Call/Deseret News
MADISON - University of Wisconsin quarterback commit Austin Kafentzis (Sandy, Utah) continued his impressive senior year on Friday as his Jordan H.S. team took out Alta H.S. 46-36.
Kafentzis accounted for five touchdowns – two throwing and three rushing – while piling up 428 yards passing and 120 yards on the ground.
The 2015 three-star commit is averaging 464.3 yards per game of total offense and his yardage total -- 2,786 – is tops in the country.
Here are some highlights from Friday’s game:

Badgers football: Andersen on Dixon, Herring

Sep 25, 2014 -- 8:50pm
MADISON - University of Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen confirmed on Thursday that freshman linebacker D’Cota Dixon underwent shoulder surgery this week that will end his season.
The Florida product had been dealing with a torn labrum since he was a junior at New Smyrna Beach High School. He put off surgery as long as possible before relenting this week.
“His shoulder got to the point where the doctors and trainers decided it was kind of pointless to keep going,” Andersen said. “He’s a very, very tough young man. He would have kept on going as long as you allowed him to go but he has a bright future. He’s going to be a very talented player for us for a long, long time and we want to get him ready to be ready for his second season.”
Dixon, who played in three games and had three tackles, should be eligible for a medical hardship waiver that, if granted by the NCAA, would leave him with four years of eligibility.
The 5-foot-10, 206-pound, Dixon made the move from defensive back to inside linebacker this summer and was listed as the backup to senior Marcus Trotter. Sophomore Leon Jacobs is now considered the No. 4 inside linebacker, though he is also in the two-deep at outside linebacker.
Still waiting on Herring
Warren Herring had hoped to be back on the field by the time the Big Ten season started. It now appears he’ll be out longer than he first anticipated.
“He’s progressing,” said Andersen, who's original timetable for Herring's return was four to six weeks. “I haven’t really even got an exact (time). He’s still weeks away at this point.”
The senior nose guard suffered an MCL injury to his right knee in the loss to LSU on Aug. 30. He had surgery the following week and said at the time he hoped to be back by the time Wisconsin traveled to Northwestern on Oct. 4. reported on Wednesday that defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a doesn’t expect Herring on the field, at the earliest, until Oct. 25 when the Badgers host Maryland.
Though Herring hasn’t been able to be on the field, he has stayed involved in helping the young defensive linemen prepare.
“Despite Warren being out, he’s still been there every single meeting, helping us out,” redshirt freshman Chikwe Obasih said on Wednesday. “Even though he’s out he’s still paying attention to the game plan. He’s always there at practice telling us what we do right, what’s going on.”
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