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ESPN Wisconsin Blogs - Zach Heilprin

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Badgers football: Report: Kafentzis leaving UW program

May 22, 2015 -- 7:00pm
 
MADISON - One of the more anticipated recruits in recent memory is leaving the University of Wisconsin after less than six months on campus.
 
247Sports.com was the first to report Friday afternoon that quarterback Austin Kafentzis has left the program and intends to transfer.
 
Kafentzis, a three-star player from Utah, originally committed to former UW coach Gary Andersen in the summer of 2013. When Andersen left for Oregon State last December, it threw Kafentzis off a bit. He didn’t know who the new coach was going to be or what type of offense they would run. Would it be the more spread attack that Andersen was implementing before his departure or more of a pro-style offense that might not accentuate the skills Kafentzis brought to the table? Those, of course, being his dual-threat ability that saw him become the first prep player in U.S. history to run and throw for 100 touchdowns.
 
When it became clear that UW was going to hire Paul Chryst, Kafentzis had a decision to make. Follow Andersen to Oregon State or try to develop under Chryst. Kafentzis eventually spoke with Chryst and learned then that he had no intention of playing him anywhere but quarterback. It led the 6-foot, 200-pound, Kafentzis to recommit to the Badgers.
 
“That’s what I wanted to do, is play quarterback,” Kafentzis said on Signing Day in February. “When (Chryst) told me I’d be able to compete in spring, and be able to compete for a QB position and not change me to a different position, [I was sold].”
 
Kafentzis enrolled early and did take part in spring practice, but his reps were limited. He was essentially the fifth quarterback on the depth chart, sitting behind Joel Stave, Bart Houston, D.J. Gillins and Alex Hornibrook.
 
Kafentzis was not as advanced as Hornibrook, another early enrollee, but had his moments, including leading a scoring drive in the spring game, finishing it with a 34-yard touchdown pass.
 
But as reported by BadgerNation.com, Kafentzis was asked to move to another position, something he was not open to doing. And as a result, he decided instead to move to another school. 
 
His departure leaves Wisconsin with four scholarship quarterbacks on this year’s roster and they’ll lose just one (Stave) after the season. Houston is a junior, Gillins a redshirt freshman and Hornibrook a true freshman. The Badgers also have a commitment from three-star quarterback Kare Lyles in the class of 2016.

Badgers football: UW-Alabama in prime time

May 21, 2015 -- 4:18pm
Photo/UWBadgers.com
 
MADISON – The Paul Chryst era will begin on the biggest opening weekend stage possible.
 
The University of Wisconsin announced Thursday that their AdvoCare Classic game with Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, would start at 7 p.m. and be televised on ABC.
 
The Sept. 5 game will mark Chryst’s first game as UW’s head coach since taking over for Gary Andersen last December.
 
Alabama is coming of a 12-2 season that saw them win the SEC and make the first-ever College Football Playoff, where they lost to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
 
Wisconsin returns 12 starters from last year’s 11-3 team that won the Big Ten West and beat Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
 
This will mark the second straight year the Badgers will open in prime time. They were 28-24 losers to LSU in Houston last August. It’s likely that next year’s season-opener against the Tigers at Lambeau Field will also be a night game.
 
With the Alabama game time set, we now know five kickoff times for UW games.
 
09/05/15
vs. Alabama
Arlington, Texas
7:00 p.m. CT
09/12/15
vs. Miami (Ohio)
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
09/19/15
vs. Troy
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
09/26/15
vs. Hawai'i 
Camp Randall Stadium
7:00 p.m. CT
10/03/15
vs. Iowa
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
10/10/15
at Nebraska
Lincoln, Neb.
TBA
10/17/15
vs. Purdue
Camp Randall Stadium
11:00 a.m. CT
10/24/15
at Illinois
Champaign, Ill.
2:30 p.m. CT
10/31/15
vs. Rutgers
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
11/07/15
at Maryland
College Park, Md.
2:30 p.m. CT
11/21/15
vs. Northwestern
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
11/28/15
at Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minn.
TBA
 

 

 

Badgers football: Strickland leaving for FAU

May 20, 2015 -- 9:23pm
Photo/247Sports.com
 
MADISON - Ben Strickland is leaving the University of Wisconsin.
 
The Badgers recruiting coordinator since January, and their cornerbacks coach the previous three seasons, Strickland is heading to Florida Atlantic to serve as the Owls defensive backs coach.
 
Strickland reunites with former Wisconsin co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge, who his entering his second year as FAU’s head coach.
 
Strickland, a Brookfield native, walked on at Wisconsin and was eventually named a team captain as a senior in 2007. He worked as a graduate assistant for two seasons before former UW coach Bret Bielema elevated him to cornerbacks coach in 2012. After Bielema left, Gary Andersen kept Strickland on the past two seasons in the same role. When Paul Chryst took over, Strickland was not offered an on-field coaching position but stayed around serving as the recruiting coordinator.
 
Along with Partridge and Strickland, the Owls employ two other coaches with UW connections. Former player and graduate assistant Terrance Jamison coaches the defensive line, while offensive line coach Bart Miller held that same title with Wisconsin in 2012.
 
In other coaching news, 247Sports.com is reporting that Josh Ogelsby, who has been a graduate assistant the past two seasons, has taken a job with Andersen at Oregon State.

Badgers football: Graduation ceremony full of Badgers

May 16, 2015 -- 11:16pm
Photo/via wisc.edu
 
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin held their graduation ceremonies at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, and the football and basketball team's were well represented.
 
On the football side of things, 11 players were honored, including linebackers Derek Landisch and Marcus Trotter, along with defensive back Devin Gaulden and wide receiver A.J. Jordan.
 
Meanwhile, UW basketball’s Frank Kaminsky and Josh Gasser received their diplomas on Saturday.
 
Everyone also got to take part in one last “Jump Around.”
 

Here is a sampling of what the graduates and their teammates were saying on social media:
 
 

On A Brighter Note, They Done Let A💂🏾Graduate 🎓Lol #OnWisconsin #IDidItMama

A photo posted by Devin Gaulden™ (@_dgiv) on

 

It has been such a great experience. Love the state. Love the university. Love the cheese curds.

A photo posted by Marcus Vytautas Trotter (@princevytas) on

 

Great meeting the beautiful @katiecouric at graduation. Killed the commencement speech

A photo posted by Josh Gasser (@jpgasser21) on

 

Didn't even have to go to the business school to become a CEO #UWGrad #IWantedToSitWithJosh

A photo posted by Frank Kaminsky III (@fskpart3) on

 

😆 GRADUATION DAY!!! 😆

A photo posted by Aj Jordan (@aj9292) on

Badgers football: Three more kickoff times announced

May 14, 2015 -- 6:18pm
 
MADISON - Three more kickoff times for the University of Wisconsin were announced on Thursday.
 
The Big Ten announced UW’s Homecoming game against Purdue at Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 17 will start at 11 a.m.
 
A pair of road games – Oct. 24 at Illinois and Nov. 7 at Maryland – will each kickoff at 2:30 p.m. C.T.
 
What channel those games will be on will be determined on a 12- or 6-day basis.
 
As it currently stands, here is UW’s schedule with the known kickoff times:
 
09/05/15
vs. Alabama
Arlington, Texas
TBA
09/12/15
vs. Miami (Ohio)
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
09/19/15
vs. Troy
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
09/26/15
vs. Hawai'i 
Camp Randall Stadium
7:00 p.m. CT
10/03/15
vs. Iowa
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
10/10/15
at Nebraska
Lincoln, Neb.
TBA
10/17/15
vs. Purdue
Camp Randall Stadium
11:00 a.m. CT
10/24/15
at Illinois
Champaign, Ill.
2:30 p.m. CT
10/31/15
vs. Rutgers
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
11/07/15
at Maryland
College Park, Md.
2:30 p.m. CT
11/21/15
vs. Northwestern
Camp Randall Stadium
TBA
11/28/15
at Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minn.
TBA

 

Badgers football: Chryst will call plays

May 14, 2015 -- 12:45pm
Photo/Associated Press
 
MADISON - For the first time since the late 1980’s, the University of Wisconsin will have its offensive plays being called by the head coach.
 
In an interview with the Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart, new UW coach Paul Chryst said, “I am,” when asked who would be in charge of calling plays. Chryst, who served as the Badgers offensive coordinator from 2005-2011, had said earlier this year that they were still working through whether it would be him or current offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph’s responsibility.
 
Chryst’s credentials are pretty good in the play-calling department. He oversaw the two highest scoring offenses in school history in 2010 (41.5 ppg) and 2011 (44.1 ppg), while also having the fifth-best in 2009 (34.3 ppg).
 
Though not a regular occurrence around college football, there are several well-known head coaches that also have play-calling duties. That includes Florida State's Jimbo Fischer, Arizona's Rich Rodriguez and Auburn's Gus Malzahn.
 
The last UW head coach to call plays was Don Morton, whose final year was 1989. Running his veer offense, that team averaged 15.6 points per game and had just two victories.
 
The Badgers three coaches since then -- Barry Alvarez, Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen -- all came from defensive backgrounds.
 
You can read the full BTN.com Q&A here:
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