QB Jim Sorgi

2002 Statistics

Coach: Barry Alvarez
92-61-4, 13 years
2002 Record: 8-6
at UNLV WON 27-7
at Indiana LOST 29-32
at Michigan State WON 42-24
at Iowa LOST 3-20
at Michigan LOST 14-21
Colorado WON 31-28 (OT)

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

It was a strange season for Wisconsin in 2002. In the Big Ten, the Badgers seemed to be snake-bit, stumbling to a 2-6 conference mark after starting out the season by coasting to a 5-0 non-conference record. Some of that may have been due to the loss of Evans. Evans back at full speed means watch out - the Badger offense should be passing their way to the next level. But there have to be some nagging doubts about Evans' condition following the surgery. (We will keep you appraised of this crucial development as he goes through spring ball.)

The 2003 campaign looks like it will play out eerily similar. They will have plenty of weapons, and once again a schedule conducive to blasting out to a glittering non-conference record before BIG TEN reality sets in hard. Wisconsin runs into a buzz saw in Week Five, however, traveling to Illinois to start a stretch which will see them take on, in order, the Illini, Penn State, Ohio State and Purdue. Those last two games are at home, and we figure the Badgers should be in good shape to finish in the middle of the Big Ten pack and at least seven wins.

The keys will be on defense. The offense's marginal showing will be adequate enough to match opponents point-wise, but the defense's run-stopping woes will cost too many close games as the secondary can't save them for 60 minutes every week. Allowing teams to have their way again (5200+ total yards in 2002) gives this squad little reason to think much will improve. A top-notch conference means success requires linemen who can hold their own. The DL can make-or-break the team's season, accordingly. Wisconsin will not beat any of their schedule's superior teams. Consistency is again established, but again at a mid-ranged level. No surprises here, sir. So for all you office-poolers, important info here - this should be an easy team to pick against point-spreads.

Projected 2003 record: 9-3
RB Anthony Davis
QB Jim Sorgi
CB Brett Bell
CB Levonne Rowan
QB - 4 DL - 3.5
RB - 4.5 LB - 4
WR - 4.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Jim Sorgi, 70-38-2, 536 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Anthony Davis, 300 att., 1555 yds., 13 TD's

Receiving: Brandon Williams, 52 rec., 663 yds., 3 TD's

Scoring: Anthony Davis, 13 TD's, 78 pts.

Punting: R.J. Morse, 74 punts, 37.4 avg.

Kicking: Mike Allen, 12-19 FG, 30-30 PAT, 66 pts.

Tackles: Ryan Aiello, 105 tot., 73 solo

Sacks: Darius Jones, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Jim Leonhard, 11 for 115 yds.

Kickoff returns: Brandon Williams, 32 ret., 20.9 avg.

Punt returns: Jim Leonhard, 36 ret., 12.1 avg.


LB Alex Lewis
OFFENSE: Brooks Bollinger-QB, Ben Johnson-OT, Al Johnson-C, Jason Jowers-OT
DEFENSE: Jake Sprague-DE, B.J. Tucker-CB

By Joe Howley
Royal Oak, Mich.

Anthony Davis, Anthony Davis, Anthony Davis. The bowling-ball style TB barreled for 1,555 yards and 13 TDs, finishing 12th in NCAA D-I rushing, and ranks as the leading returning ground-gainer in the Big Ten. Heading into his junior year, the 5-8, 195-pounder will be the hub of coach Barry Alvarez' ground-grinding modified Power-I offense.

When Davis takes a break, soph Dwayne Smith will pick up the slack. In 2002, Smith rushed for 537 yards, so the Badgers definitely have some depth at the running back spot. Smith is more of a straight-ahead speed runner as opposed to Davis' jitterbug style. Alvarez always prefers a meat-and-potatoes running attack, and a tandem of Davis and Smith gives him two solid backs to carry the freight.

The Badgers also return a solid receiving corps led by sophomores Jonathan Orr and Brandon Williams. They tied for team receiving honors with 47. Orr is definitely the long-ball threat between them, stretching defenses and snapping them for 842 yards. Williams is more of a short-route possession receiver. Then there's the X-factor…

The corps will go from solid to stellar if senior Lee Evans, who missed all of 2002 with a knee injury, returns to form. Evans was dynamite in 2001, setting a school record with 75 catches and 1,545 receiving yards (4th for all Division I receivers). He already holds Wisconsin school records in total yards (2,255) after only three seasons. Evans tore an ACL in the Badger spring game and sat out the entire season rehabilitating the injury. He was advised to return to school by NFL personnel directors who said he could gain more by proving his fitness. If/when Evans regains most of his speed (reported at 4.3 in the 40 before his injury), Wisconsin will have a set of receivers to match up with any team in the nation.

Junior tight end Bob Docherty, an imposing 6-6, 265-pounder, is also an effective receiver. His value, like that of soph fullback Matt Bernstein, is mainly as a blocker. But Docherty has shown good hands and can be a valuable weapon for the Badgers if opponents gang up on the wide receivers.

Quarterback Jim Sorgi will head into summer drills as the starter, although sophomore Owen Daniels may mount a challenge. Sorgi threw for 1,096 yards and nine scores in 2001, saw limited action in 2002, but should be more effective this year with the Badgers' standout set of receivers. His experience should give Wisconsin solid play at quarterback this year.

Up front, the Badgers have a matched set of 6-6, 300-pound junior guards in Dan Buenning and Jonathan Clinkscale, the only two returnees on the offensive line. Alvarez has always emphasized straight ahead, power run-blocking and pocket protection, although the scrambling of ex-QB Bollinger switched up that scheme a bit the last couple of years. Sorgi is much more of a traditional pocket passer, and it will be imperative that the Badgers be able to keep opposing pass-rusher's heat out of the proverbial kitchen.

Three positions are open on the OL, and it will be imperative for returning junior backups Mike Lorenz and Morgan Davis to make strong debuts at their respective tackle positions. Something has to give - allowing 46 sacks won't do. Ergo, the development of the young tackles will be vital to the success of the Wisconsin offense this year. Sophomore Donovan Raiola, the 2002 backup at center, should have the starting nod. Otherwise, regardless of how well veterans Buenning and Clinkscale play, opposing defenses, especially in the Big Ten, will simply attack the outside positions and cause all sorts of trouble for the Badger backfield. Look for the TE to stay home more often if this occurs.


RB Anthony Davis


Returning Starters in bold
QB Jim Sorgi-Sr Matt Schabert-Jr
FB Matt Bernstein-So Greg Root-So
RB Anthony Davis-Jr Dwayne Smith-So
WR Jonathan Orr-So Brandon Williams-So
WR Lee Evans-Sr Darrin Charles-Jr
TE Bob Docherty-Jr Tony Paciotti-Jr
OT Morgan Davis-Jr Jake Wood-So
OG Dan Buenning-Jr Matt Lawrence-So
C Donovan Raiola-So Jason Palermo-So
OG Jonathan Clinkscale-Jr Kalvin Barrett-Jr
OT Mike Lorenz-Jr Fred Nieforth-Sr
K Mike Allen-Jr Scott Campbell-Sr



By Joe Howley
Royal Oak, Mich.

Wisconsin continues to run Alvarez' staple defensive set, usually featuring the multiple-front 4-3 backed by a standard cover-2 scheme in the backfield. Wisconsin was almost exactly middle-of-the-pack in most Big Ten defensive categories. The Badgers finished between fourth and sixth in almost every department from scoring defense to total yards allowed. This indicates a defense with no outstanding strengths, but at the same time, no glaring weaknesses. Their mid-level finish bodes for future defensive mediocrity. The main strength the Badgers will have in 2003 will be experience - they lose only two defensive starters. That added seasoning should result in an up tick for the Badgers in overall defensive performance this year.

The two leaders of the Wisconsin defense this season should be safeties Ryan Aiello and Jim Leonhard. Aiello, a hard-hitting senior, is a keen lateral runner, good against either run or pass, while Leonhard had an outstanding season with 11 interceptions (which led all NCAA Division I players) and 14 pass breakups. Opposing offenses won't throw at him as much this season, but he will still be effective in the Badger secondary. Juniors Brett Bell and Robert Brooks return to backup roles at safety.

The linebacking crew will showcase seniors Alex Lewis and Jeff Mack. Sophomore LaMarr Watkins had a solid performance as the Badgers' designated speed rusher. This is a talented crew who will be the key to making a mediocre defense solid.

Starting tackles Antaj Hawthorne and Jason Jefferson are both back as juniors, while senior Nick Cochart, junior Darius Jones and sophomore Mike Kleber, all saw extensive action up front as well. With experience, all should improve and, accordingly, the Wisconsin run defense should tighten on allowing 4 yards per opponents rush.

At the end positions, senior Erasmus James returns on the right side, while junior Jonathan Walsh looks to replace the graduated Jake Sprague on the left. The team's mere 21 sacks total cries for improvement. This is where it will start.

The Badgers' only glaring defensive weakness in 2002 was vulnerability in the red zone - the Badgers allowed opponents to score 88.1 percent of the time in red-zone situations, worst in the Big Ten. The Badgers featured an exceptionally young defensive line, and that dearth of experience may have contributed to the red-zone weaknesses.

Alvarez's emphasis on zone-coverage might also contribute to the red-zone chink in the Badgers' defensive armor. Opponents were able to work into the seams and convert on short passes. Man-to-man cornerback coverage will be crucial for the Badgers to improve that sore spot - junior Scott Starks returns on the right side in one starting position. Starks had only one pick, while his graduated counterpart on the left, B.J. Watkins, had five, so improvement in the Badgers' coverage ability, by Starks, junior Chuckie Cowans, sophomore Levonne Rowan, or any of the incoming contenders for secondary playing time, will be a must for Wisconsin this year. If another DB is their tackle leader, look for them to again allow 5+ yards per offensive play.


SS Jim Leonhard


Returning Starters in bold
DE Jonathan Welsh-Jr Joe Monty-Fr
DT Anttaj Hawthorne-Jr Nick Cochart-Sr
DT Jason Jefferson-Jr Mike Kleber-So
DE Erasmus James-Sr Darius Jones-Jr
OLB Kareem Timbers-Jr LaMarr Watkins-So
LB Jeff Mack-Sr Broderick Williams-Sr / Mark Zalewski-Fr
LB Alex Lewis-Sr Kyle McCorison-Sr
CB Scott Starks-Jr Chuckie Cowans-Jr
CB Brett Bell-Jr Levonne Rowan-Fr
SS Ryan Aiello-Sr Dontez Sanders-So
FS Jim Leonhard-Jr Robert Brooks-Jr
P R.J. Morse-Jr Matt Wozniak-Fr




Leonhard on the punt return unit had the best statistical year of any Badger special teamer, finishing second in the Big Ten with a 12.2 average, returning one punt for a score, and giving Wisconsin a sudden-strike threat from the runback squad. Brandon Williams will again return kickoffs. The return of Evans should allow Williams to devote more attention to kick returns and increase his effectiveness in that department. Look for Wisconsin to break open (and possibly win) a game or two with a big return.

The rest of the Badger special teams need some work. PK Mike Allen, now a junior, was perfect on PATs but a so-so 12-of-19 on field goals, bankably 8-of-10 inside 40. Junior punter R.J. Morse had the lowest punting average in the Big Ten at 36.1 yards per kick, but compensated for that somewhat with good-enough hang time so that the Badgers' net of 33.6 ranked fifth in the conference. Both Badger kickers are adequate, but could give the team a real advantage with some significant improvement.


The odd man out at WR is sophomore Brandon White. White will be the Badgers' fifth receiver this season, and showed this spring just how deep this group is… Barry Alvarez is very confident in QB Jim Sorgi's abilities and confidence. We like what we see in him as well. He gives the offense a strong arm and a great head about him, as this will be his fifth year in the UW system. He and the great tandem of receivers (along with Davis at RB) will help this offense soar! … The Wisconsin offense will be unlike any before, with a variety of "cluster" formations being put into the offensive package. Basically, they will line up three or four receivers all bunched together and run routes off the cluster. We will also see some five WR sets this year. The theme seems to be speed and athleticism- yes, even FB Matt Bernstein will see time split wide as a receiver this fall! The deployment of these formations and styles should make the running of Davis and Smith even more effective.

Alvarez was thoroughly pleased with the execution shown by Brett Bell. Bell is a scrappy corner who loves to hit and has improved his cover skills. He helped solidify his starting spot with sound play this spring. Returning safeties Sam Aiello and Jim Leonhard have switched spots, with Leonhard manning the free and Aiello grounding the strong. This move will allow Leonhard to play "centerfield" and utilize his remarkable ball-hawking skills, while Aiello can use his physical style to make plays near the line of scrimmage and match up with big, strong TEs. Leonhard of course, had the nation's most INT's last season with 11. FS Robert Brooks has made the most improvement in the secondary and will look to provide time as a nickleback this fall… Backing up at one DE spot is Joe Monty. If the name sounds familiar, it should. His brother, Pete, is the all-time leading tackler for Wisconsin. Joe has a lot of talent and should see his way into the thick of things this season… CB Tony Moss is said to be so athletic that offensive and defensive coaches have been arguing against one another as to where he should play. He's said to be a good one when all is said and done… The playing status of LB Broderick Williams is uncertain as of this time. He has been seen working out with the team, but he is not listed on the depth chart- more to come when we know.

Jerone Pettus should be a good KR, with a strong spring running display. He's shifty and runs hard, which make for a good KR. He and Brandon Williams will take back kicks with Leonhard continuing to run back punts. Speaking of punts, the Badgers need to be more consistent with theirs. R.J. Morse and Adam Wozniak were shanking punts left and right, and will need to improve before the start of the season.

FYI- Team captains, as voted on by the players, this season are QB Jim Sorgi, WR Lee Evans, ILB Jeff Mack, and FS Jim Leonhard.