FS Jim Leonhard

2003 Statistics

Coach: Barry Alvarez
99-67-4, 14 years
2003 Record: 7-6
at West Virginia WON 24-17
at Illinois WON 38-20
at Penn State WON 30-23
at Northwestern LOST 7-16
at Minnesota LOST 34-37
Auburn LOST 14-28

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

The consensus is this will be a down year in the entire Big Ten. With the exception of Michigan, no team returns as much talent and experience as Wisconsin. So the door is wide open for a relatively banner year for the Badgers, at least in-conference.

Head coach Barry Alvarez, often rumored to be leaving, isn't going anywhere. He was named athletic director last April, and Camp Randall Stadium is in the midst of a two-year renovation project. In 14 years, Alvarez, 55, has taken this program from joke status to three Rose Bowls and made it the most likely usurper to Michigan and Ohio State's Big Ten hegemony.

But underachieving Badger squads, like 2003's, which lost five of its last six after upsetting the Buckeyes, often win a big one, only to lose to lesser-thans (UNLV, NW). And with so many starters back, another barely-bowl-eligible season might put a little heat on the AD to re-evaluate his head coach.

The Badgers can, if not ready, slip in their seemingly easy non-conference schedule (Central Florida, UNLV, Arizona). October 9 in Columbus will tell most of all how the season will turnout for conference purposes. Look for the first half to be a stronger showing than expected, as the second half gives two losses to the Badger faithful with which to deal. When Stocco takes charge at QB as the LBs grow up in a hurry, and (hopefully) Davis stays healthy, Wisconsin will see the promise of this newly shaped crew and realize what is to come in 2005, regardless of how the first half goes. This will secure the next off season so a real strong drive for some form of a championship next campaign will be the focus, unlike this season's soon-to-come growth period. Who knows, two or three losses might get them in to that screwy BCS, somehow.

Projected 2004 record: 8-3
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 5 LB - 2.5
WR - 3 DB - 4
OL - 5 ..

Passing: Matt Schabert, 65-33-4, 441 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Dwayne Smith, 165 att., 857, 9 TD

Receiving: Brandon Williams, 49 rec., 649 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Mike Allen, 9-12 FG, 32-34 PAT, 59 pts.

Punting: R.J. Morse, 62 punts, 40.7 avg.

Kicking: Mike Allen, 9-12 FG, 32-34 PAT, 46 long

Tackles: Jim Leonhard, 98 tot., 63 solo, 4 TFL

Sacks: Jonathan Welsh, 8 sacks

Interceptions: Jim Leonhard, 7 for 98 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Brandon Williams, 29 ret., 21.6 avg.

Punt Returns: Jim Leonhard, 34 ret., 14.8 avg. 2 TD


TB Anthony Davis
OFFENSE: Jim Sorgi-QB, Lee Evans-WR, Scott Campbell-K
DEFENSE: Jeff Mack-LB, Alex Lewis-LB, Ryan Aiello-SS

Eighteen of the 22 Badgers who were in the starting lineup for the Music City Bowl are back, but QB Jim Sorgi isn't one of them. His absence leaves a void of inexperience at the position. Senior Matt Schabert is the most experienced returnee with a start, 83 pass attempts and a game-winning TD in the upset of Ohio State on his resume. But the job will go to John Stocco, who overtook Schabert as Sorgi's backup late last season. The 6-2 Stocco jumped ahead of Schabert after last season's loss to Iowa, when Schabert struggled to lead the offense in place of the injured Sorgi. Stocco came in and showed more poise, despite his youth. Wisconsin's bread and butter will be the running game, but if Stocco struggles to lead a respectable air attack, don't expect coach Barry Alvarez to wait until November to make a move. Keep an eye on true freshman Sean Lewis, who graduated early so he could compete in spring drills. Lewis is a 6-7 deep bomber who was mobile enough to run for 915 yards and 15 TDs last year at Richards (Ill.) High.

Running Back
Led by Heisman candidate Anthony Davis, Wisconsin returns the best group of ball-carriers in the Big Ten. A 1,000-yard rusher in '01 and '02, Davis had a shot at Ron Dayne's school and national rushing records before missing five games thanks to a bad ankle. The 5-8 game-breaker's durability is a question mark, and there's a dropoff when Davis is out. The Badgers were upset against UNLV when Davis injured the ankle, then again against Northwestern when he aggravated it. But the season is not over if he goes down again. His absence last fall gave the Wisconsin an opportunity to at least develop junior Dwayne Smith and sophomore Booker Stanley. The two split time and combined for 1,380 yards. Each of the three had multiple 100-yard games, making Wisconsin the Big Ten's Denver Broncos. (Smith will miss five spring practices due to a second-degree sexual assault charge. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 26). At fullback, mauler John Bernstein returns. The junior, who got just 37 touches last year, will again be well used to plow openings for Davis and Co.

Wide Receiver
You don't replace a guy like Lee Evans, who heads to the NFL as the school's No. 2 career receiving yardage leader. Stocco still has plenty of targets to throw to, though, with multi-talented Brandon Williams topping the list. The junior is deadly in the open field and he'll be the Badgers' weapon of choice in the passing game (even defensively, as a DB). Jonathan Orr, a 6-3 junior, will have to play more like he did a freshman. With Evans gone and Williams drawing the top opposing corner, expect Orr to return to '02 form. Darrin Charles, a sure-handed 6-6 senior, has been a steady backup the last two years and is a solid No. 3 receiver.

Tight End
Senior Tony Paciotti has far more career starts (19) than catches (one), which should be indicative of his role in the offense. Juniors Jason Pociask and Owen Daniels, both 6-3, aren't as intimidating, but they'll get their reps. Daniels proved to be a nice addition to the passing game last fall with 15 grabs and two TDs.

Offensive Line
This unit will be improved with five starters back and some new faces in the mix. Left guard Dan Buenning is the anchor. A second-team All-Big Ten pick, the senior has started 37 of Wisconsin's last 39 games. He'll line up next to junior center Donovan Riola, who showed up on the all-conference honorable mention list. Morgan Davis started at left tackle, but practiced on the right side this spring. Sophomore Joe Thomas, used as a tight end and defensive lineman, will get a spot at right tackle, with deposed starter Mike Lorenz providing depth. Versatile junior Jake Wood will likely unseat two-year starter Jonathan Clinkscale at right guard. Some changes up front were in order for a group that allowed 37 sacks, rivaling only Big Ten doormat Indiana in conference ineptitude.

Wisconsin tried to open up its passing game in '03, but never seemed to find an identity on offense. Injuries to Sorgi and Davis didn't help. With Sorgi and Evans gone, the Badgers will go back to their vintage punishing running game. But if Stocco flounders, teams will simply crowd the box. Even with everyone back, the Wisconsin line isn't good enough to sustain the ground game in that event. So the pressure is on young Stocco to keep opposing Ds honest and show the same poise as a starter that he exuded as a backup late last fall. Balance may be hard to find, and that will be disastrous.


QB Matt Schabert


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB John Stocco-So (6-2, 202) Tyler Donovan-Fr (6-1, 185)
FB Matt Bernstein-Jr (6-2, 264) Greg Root-Jr (6-2, 262)
TB Anthony Davis-Sr (5-8, 194) Dwayne Smith-Jr (5-11, 225)
Booker Stanley-So (5-10, 206)
WR Jonathan Orr-Jr (6-3, 183) Darrin Charles-Sr (6-6, 210)
WR Brandon Williams-Jr (5-11, 175) Brandon White-Jr (6-3, 187)
TE Tony Paciotti-Sr (6-4, 264) Jason Pociask-Jr (6-3, 249)
Owen Daniels-Jr (6-3, 222)
OT Morgan Davis-Sr (6-5, 319) Joe Thomas-So (6-8, 283)
OG Dan Buenning-Sr (6-4, 313) Matt Lawrence-Jr (6-5, 282)
C Donovan Raiola-Jr (6-3, 280) Jason Palermo-Jr (6-3, 285)
OG Jonathan Clinkscale-Sr (6-3, 304) Randy Gyllin-So (6-3, 313)
OT Mike Lorenz-Sr (6-5, 315) Jake Wood-Jr (6-6, 289)
K Mike Allen-Sr (6-2, 182) ..
Tony Paciotti....puh-SHO-tee
Dan Buenning....BENN-ing
Donovan Raiola....ray-OH-luh
Jason Pociask....POE-zee-ack



Defensive Line
The Badgers have one of the best sets of run-plugging DTs in the nation in All-Big Ten senior Anttaj Hawthorne (20 tackles for losses) and third-year starter Jason Jefferson. The ends are solid, with senior Jonathan Welsh returning at right end. The left is the only question mark up front. Oft-injured returning starter Darius Jones will miss spring ball with a knee injury. If he's not ready to go by this fall, he'll be replaced by soph Joe Monty, the brother of Badgers career tackles leader Pete Monty. There's plenty of depth here, with redshirt freshman Jamal Cooper, winner of the scout team hero award last fall, among the backups. With or without Jones, this group will give opposing offensive line coaches insomnia. Something has to be changed so 2003's stat of allowing 3.9 yards-per run won't again be repeated. Wisconsin will put more pressure on opposing QBs, which will make life easier for an already experienced secondary. Over-pursuit could be a problem, especially with such quick LBs (see below).

This is the big question mark on defense, for it is a whole new crew. New coordinator Bret Bielema uses his LBs a bit differently than predecessor Kevin Cosgrove, with a strong-side backer lining up opposite the tight end and weak-side as well as middle backers who scream to the ball carrier. Mark Zalewski, an athletic soph, will play strong-side, with quick juniors Elliott Goode and Lamarr Watkins at middle and weak-side, respectively. Dontez Sanders was moved from safety to give the unit an athletic backup. Notice a trend? With a D-line good enough to contain opposing offensive lines, a quick LB trio will make running the ball against Wisconsin tough. Big AND quick opposing linemen will negate them, if not careful.

Defensive Back
No question marks here, these guys are good. Two-time All-American free safety Jim Leonhard, the Big Ten picks leader the past two seasons, returns as a senior. Senior Robert Brooks got the start at strong safety in the Music City Bowl loss to Auburn and did enough to keep the spot heading into this fall. The Badgers also have two seniors at the cornerback slots with fourth-year starter Scott Starks back at field (wide side) to surpass 2003's total of 18 passes broken up, and Brett Bell back at boundary (short side). Starks will again be the No. 1 cover guy, and Bell will run down whoever challenges his side. With a formidable front-seven shutting down the run, this group will be tested. Barring injury, it won't fail.

Wisconsin was eighth in the conference in points allowed, having let such vaunted offenses as Akron's run wild. That's a big IF with a new coordinator and an untested group of linebackers. But look for the entire unit to be a unit of strong cohesion, led by the seniority of the backfield. Eight returning starters should seal the deal on improvements in all categories, but more importantly, consistency that has been lacking.


DT Anttaj Hawthorne


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Darius Jones-Sr (6-3, 246) Erasmus James-Sr (6-4, 263)
Joe Monty-So (6-2, 257)
DT Anttaj Hawthorne-Sr (6-3, 312) Justin Ostrowski-Fr (6-5, 285)
DT Jason Jefferson-Sr (6-3, 308) Kalvin Barrett-Sr (6-2, 319)
DE Jonathan Welsh-Sr (6-4, 231) Jamal Cooper-Fr (6-4, 202)
WLB LaMarr Watkins-Jr (6-1, 211) Kareem Timbers-Sr (6-3, 209)
Dontez Sanders-Jr (6-1, 208)
MLB Reggie Cribbs-So (6-1, 225) Elliott Goode-Jr (6-2, 234)
SLB Mark Zalewski-So (6-2, 232) Paul Joran-So (6-3, 222)
CB Scott Starks-Sr (5-10, 176) Chuckie Cowans-Sr (5-8, 161)
CB Levonne Rowan-Jr (6-1, 191) Brett Bell-Jr (6-0, 196)
SS Robert Brooks-Sr (5-10, 181) Johnny White-So (6-2, 211)
FS Jim Leonhard-Sr (5-8, 183) Roderick Rogers-So (6-2, 186)
P R.J. Morse-Sr (6-1, 246) Ken DeBauche-Fr (6-2, 209)
Anttaj Hawthorne....ANN-tahj Ken DeBauche....de-BUSH




Mike Allen is back for his fourth year. He hit 9-of-12 field goals - Mike was money within 40, but 1-of-4 beyond. Kickoff coverage needs work, however, with the 21.3-yard average return the third-worst stat in the conference.

R.J Morse and his coverage unit finished fifth in the Big Ten, which is the perfect mediocre placement for their lackluster approach. Similarly, overall, this dimension's 2003 performance is the perfect metaphor for the entire season's campaign for the Badgers. More will have to be done here so field-position battles can be won. The offense will need them this way.

Return Game
Jim Leonhard is the Big Ten's Dante Hall. He returned two punts for TDs and was No. 8 in the nation with 13.8 yards per return. Wisconsin's offense is one of the few that returns plenty of personnel. Leonhard could see a lot of punts this fall. On kicks is wideout Brandon Williams, who is third in career return yardage at Wisconsin. He is solid, but not outstanding here, at least not yet.


QB Matt Schabert is scheduled to graduate this summer and likely won't return next year, especially since he was demoted to third team QB. Word is that he will become a grad assistant. Speaking of QBs, it appears the Badgers are in good hands with John Stocco. There's buzz about this kid around Mad-town. He has a good arm and throws a crisp spiral. Team that with the potent run game, and the Badgers will have something special brewing in newly renovated Camp Randall. OL coach Jim Hueber has been mixing and matching his troops and really likes what he has in his tackles (Davis, Lorenz, and Thomas). RB Dwayne Smith enters the fall quicker, stronger, and much more elusive. Keep an eye out. TE Owen Daniels is too small to be a legit TE. However, his quickness has given the Badger defense fits all spring and will continue to do so against Big Ten opponents as well. For all interested, Marcus Randle El, the brother of you-know-who, will be a freshman arriving in the fall. Coaches are very interested to see what he and fellow freshman Sean Jones (who took part in spring practices) can do. Former Colorado RB Brian Calhoun is set to transfer to Wisconsin, becoming eligible only by the 2005 season.

DEs Darius Jones and Erasmus James sat out the spring with lower body injuries, but should be healed in time to start fall practices. They'd better, for that D-line is an imperative part of any success for 2004. There will be some healthy competition at LB this fall. All three spots are still up for contention, and we mean that in a good way. All six players vying for their respective spots are quality talent making each other better. The most intriguing battle will be between Goode and Cribbs at MLB. There is much excitement about Bret Bielema taking over as defensive coordinator. Fans and players love his aggressive attitude along with, of course, his knowledge of defensive schemes and strategy. Impressive freshman Taylor Mehlhaff comes in as the nation's #1 prep kicker. He has a strong leg and will handle kick-offs for the Badgers, or maybe even a long FGA.

QB Marcus Randle El (fr)
QB Sean Lewis (fr)
DT Gino Cruse (fr)
LB Andy Crooks (fr)