Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Badger-related Family Day thoughts

Most of Jana's shots from Family Day were of her immediate family, but here are a few other random shots from the day. Comments below.

-Jay Valai is a real ham. If you haven't seen them, he's been interviewing his teammates for a in a feature called Man-to-Man. Read Monday that he wants to become a broadcaster after he's done playing. He looks like a natural, and a fun kid to be around.

-Then I saw Aubrey Pleasant, last year's starter at strong safety, and the guy who it appears Valai (or maybe Chris Maragos) will supplant. As I watched him sign autographs for kids, I wondered what it must feel like to be such a public candidate to be replaced at your position. I suppose all you can do is keep plugging away and contribute however possible. Hopefully Pleasant will still be a contributor this year.

-Most of the starters were seated at tables and signing autographs for people, something we didn't do because what the hell is Will going to do with an autograph? Two who weren't were Niles Brinkley and Mario Goins, who could be our starting cornerbacks against Akron. Good things have been written about their play lately, which along with two bottles of Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat is helping me sleep at night.

-As noted Monday, Will and I met Kyle Jefferson, who got off to such a great start last season as a true freshman but whose play leveled off and who has had the drops in camp. We need him to be a producer this year.

-Some guy, #87 with "Watt" on the back of his jersey was active playing catch with kids and seemed to really be enjoying himself. Big guy, good build, never heard of him. Read Monday in a couple different places that he's a transfer from Central Michigan named J.J. Watt who will play defensive end for us. Apparently he's a 6-6, 265-pound Pewaukee native who has looked really good in practice and could probably have contributed this season had he not been ineligible because of transfer rules.

-Backup quarterback James Stallons is skinny, Jim Sorgi skinny. Freshman punter Brad Nortman is big, for a punter. Defensive end Louis Nzegwu seemed smaller than the 6-3 he's listed at, probably because he was letting his hair go. Defensive end Brendan Kelly, who had some nice things written about him last week, is built well for a true freshman.

-Bradie Ewing, the walk-on freshman running back everyone's been raving about, has a solid build, thick calves (running backs coach John Settle says he's pushing Johnny Clay for the #3 spot, interesting). Wide receiver Isaac Anderson is tiny. JUCO defensive end Dan Moore is solid, looks taller than his listed 6-2 but lighter than his listed 280 - maybe 6-3, 265, still plenty big to play defensive line.

-The biggest celebrity sighting I had was of Cap Times sports editor Adam Mertz, who at first didn't recognize the sweaty, Field Turf-covered bald guy calling his name from the Camp Randall turf. Mertzy was there with Rob Hernandez of the State Journal promoting Badger Beat, a Cap Times-State Journal joint Badger coverage web venture coming soon. Looking forward to it.

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