WR Brandon Williams

2004 Statistics

Coach: Barry Alvarez
108-70-4, 15 years
2004 Record: 9-3
UCF WON 34-6
at Arizona WON 9-7
at Ohio State WON 24-13
at Purdue WON 20-17
at Michigan State LOST 14-49
at Iowa LOST 7-30
vs. Georgia LOST 21-24

2004 Final Rankings
AP-17, Coaches-18, BCS-17

2005 Outlook

Alvarez called last season's team, which was 9-0 before faltering in the final three games, a group of overachievers. They effectively compensated for shortcomings in certain areas through the nine wins. But the character instilled in the ten returning starters who fought through those three losses will pay huge dividends as they lead this squad into the seven rather tough games that appear on their slate. Establishing a legitimate field general from their capable coral will allow the six senior starters to concentrate on their assignments so as to motivate more by example.

Therefore, initially, the offense doesn't figure to be too much better (got more than 24 points in only two games). With the defensive play sure to drop off, just how far it does will go a long way toward defining this Badger season. The overall approach, too, will prove much - it needs to be opened up on offense so they don't pressure the weaker defense to be the more impacting unit. But Alvarez' motivations haven't usually been along those lines - he will run them and run them, methodically, predictably, and possibly into the ground if something doesn't give this way.

In a Big Ten in which almost every team is expected to be improved, UW's struggles will really show when not tightened up by late September - when conference play kicks. Opening with Bowling Green in dangerous enough, so that character we spoke of will be tested right off (probably with a loss here), and Michigan is then that first Big Ten foe. But ending with Hawai'i guarantees them a warm weather game that can reward their hard efforts regardless of bowl eligibility (which is likely, but not at all a lock), as well as give them a win to carry over into '06.

Since reaching a peak at the close of the '90s, Wisconsin has since leveled off by going 38-26, including 19-21 in the Big Ten. Unfortunately, the conservative nature of coach Alvarez' offensive patterns seems to now be holding back speedy talent (especially at QB) that is wasted unless more progressive schemes are soon employed. Entering his 16th season, Alvarez (also the school's athletic director) truly appears to be in the twilight of his coaching career. Bielema and UW-grad Chryst are most likely auditioning to be his eventual successor, so let's hope an increased role for both can elevate the troops and their levels of play via a fresher approach. Besides their QB derby, that intangible could be the most significant development effecting what is clearly a rebuilding season. Sorry kiddies…going to Camp Randall won't be as fun as it used to be, but Cheeseheads will find plenty to bite home about by a medium-sharp midseason, and the faithful will soon be eagerly looking toward each next game as problems are slowly solved. Seemingly, all anyone can do to help is sing,"On Wisconsin…"

Projected 2005 record: 6-6
QB - 3 DL - 2.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 4
WR - 3 DB - 3
OL - 3 ..

Passing: John Stocco, 321-169-7, 1999 yds., 9 TD

Rushing: Booker Stanley, 115 att., 350 yds., 2 TD

Receiving: Brandon Williams, 42 rec., 517 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: John Stocco, 4 TD, 24 pts.

Punting: Ken DeBauche, 57 punts, 41.8 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Dontez Sanders, 76 tot., 35 solo

Sacks: Dontez Sanders, 5.5 sacks

Interceptions: Brett Bell, 3 for 9 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Brandon Williams, 23 ret., 19.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Ben Strickland, 1 ret., 13.0 avg., 0 TD


LB Dontez Sanders
OFFENSE: Anthony Davis-RB, Darrin Charles-WR, Tony Paciotti-TE, Dan Buenning-OG, Jonathan Clinkscale-OG, Morgan Davis-OT, Mike Lorenz-OT, Mike Allen-K, Reggie Cribbs-MLB
DEFENSE: Erasmus James-DE, Anttaj Hawthorne-DT, Jason Jefferson-DT, Jonathan Welsh-DE, Scott Starks-CB, Robert Brooks-SS, Jim Leonhard-FS

Don't be stunned when junior John Stucco is benched or splitting time with sophomores Tyler Donovan, Marcus Randle-El and/or redshirt freshman Bryan Savage by fall. Stocco proved to be average, at best, in his first year as starter. Blame some of that on a rather predictable run-oriented offense, even by Big Ten standards. But, for the most part, Stocco's lack of accuracy and decision-making were the reasons. After the Outback Bowl loss, Barry Alvarez decided to re-open the QB derby. We'll find out more in the spring, but look for Savage (or Donovan) to eventually win the starting job. Savage, a Pennsylvania native, has a bigger, more accurate arm, runs better than Stocco and has the leadership skills Stocco too often lacks. Look for highly-touted, dual-threat Donovan to be enough of a factor so that Randle-El (like his brother) can then be moved to WR. After all of that, we wonder if the speed available here will be utilized to its potential, or be again stagnated - Stucco only had around 30 runs (minus sacks), and two or three runs per game won't be enough so that this position can freeze a LB or two. This is a solid unit that will shine regardless, but in Alvarez' Army, can it be "all it can be"?

Running Back
The torch is passed to CU-transfer Brian Calhoun, who still has two years of eligibility. Calhoun, a light, 5-11 sprinter with 4.3 speed from Oak Creek (Milwaukee), also has some power and is a reliable target out of the backfield. The tailbacks in this offense are usually expected to be strong pass-blockers, something Calhoun will have to show. Neither Booker Stanley and Jamil Walker is as fast as Calhoun, but each can move quickly enough to run right past defenders while they provide the power Calhoun lacks. The real power, however, will come from popular senior fullback Matt Bernstein, an oft-utilized workhorse is short yardage or when this team needs a sustained drive to eat up clock. Most importantly, he's a 270-lb. wrecking ball, which will be vital with a young offensive line.

This group, which returns almost intact, was a marginal disappointment, though the blame fell squarely on the shoulders of Stocco and offensive coordinator Brian White. The potential remains for this to be a strong unit. Brandon Williams emerged as the top possession receiver, even though he appeared to be more of a big-play guy entering last fall. With just 16 catches, Jonathan Orr never did return to 2002 form. He's still a potential deep-threat target who needs to be utilized. Brandon White, an athletic senior who was a solid backup, is another guy who could help spread out defenses. Randle-El, who caught two passes as a RB, would be a nice medium-range addition to this group. This could be one of the better receiving corps in the Big Ten but, no matter how talented these guys are, their stats will remain dismal if/when no one gets them the ball consistently enough.

Tight End
This position has become a bigger part of the offense the past few seasons, a trend that should continue, especially with QBs coach Jeff Horton moving here. Developing former-QB Owen Daniels into a reliable target has made this all work well. Daniels, who was second on the team in receptions and receiving yards, is a constant threat to get open. The blocking that's needed here will come more from experienced senior Jason Pociask, though he will get open in the secondary, too, as proven. Alvarez likes to have these guys open up the underneath middle by sending them deep (both TEs led the team in average per catch), so look for whether they play this role or the WRs do to see developments past prior schemes.

Offensive Line
With the exception of the QB spot, this area poses the biggest question - not an ideal area of concern for a run-oriented offense that is breaking in a new QB. Three-fifths of the starting group is gone, as are two key backups. That might not necessarily be a bad thing for a unit that, despite its experience, was never really explosive off the ball (and though it did cut its sacks total down from 37 in '03 to 22, passing isn't the centerpiece here…yet). The anchor will be senior center Donovan Riola, who is poised for an all-conference season, and 6-8 junior Morgan Davis is a great pass blocker to have on the blindside. The likely replacements at the other spots aren't quite as big as what we're used to seeing by way of "cheese-fed" linemen, but with both a speedy demon and power at running back, their quickness should be an advantage, especially when going outside. Overall, this unit will need time to gel, something a rough early-season schedule won't allow.

OC White has his work cut out for him. While solid, the ground game couldn't shoulder the offensive burden alone in the final three games. With some holes to fill on the line, the ground game could easily lose a little pop, forcing the forward pass to be even more essential, but it won't. The new RB-unit looks strong enough to supercede those before them, a legitimate Badger trend. Alvarez brought back former TEs coach Paul Chryst, who will split coordinating duties with White. More importantly, he'll handle the play-calling and coach the QBs. As the offensive coordinator at Oregon State, Chryst directed the nation's 10th-ranked offense in '03 and the No. 7 passing offense last fall. Still, don't expect Air Alvarez. Like White, Chryst will have to operate within Alvarez's guidelines, though his ability to develop the young QBs will be a big plus. The best hope here is that Savage is an instant star, utilizing his speed through more-creative play-calling which, in turn, allows the running game to maintains its strength. Most likely, this will be a true rebuilding offense that will struggle to put up points at first, but will blossom by mid-season to forge new names soon-to-be-known in every Madison household. There is just too much talent here to think that they will just run this side of the ball's potential again into the ground.


C Donovan Raiola


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB John Stocco-Jr (6-2, 197) Tyler Donovan-So (6-1, 187)
FB Matt Bernstein-Sr (6-2, 266) Chris Pressley-So (6-1, 256)
TB Brian Calhoun-Jr (5-10, 194) Dywon Rowan-Jr (5-9, 239)
Booker Stanley-Jr (5-10, 214) (susp.)
WR Brandon Williams-Sr (5-11, 175) Brandon White-Sr (6-3, 190)
WR Jonathan Orr-Sr (6-3, 190) Jarvis Minton-So (6-1, 202)
TE Jason Pociask-Sr (6-3, 258) Owen Daniels-Sr (6-3, 247)
OT Joe Thomas-Jr (6-8, 303) Andrew Weininger-So (6-6, 314)
OG Matt Lawrence-Sr (6-5, 288) Andy Kemp-Fr (6-6, 315)
C Donovan Raiola-Sr (6-3, 294) Luke Knauf-So (6-4, 304)
OG Jason Palermo-Sr (6-3, 307) Marcus Coleman-So (6-6, 309)
OT Kraig Urbik-Fr (6-6, 317) Danny Kaye-So (6-8, 319)
K Taylor Melhaff-So (5-11, 179) Adam Schober-Fr (5-11, 195)



Defensive Line
The line goes from being a strength to a potential Achilles heel after losing four starters (all are likely draft picks). But losing James will be noticed the most, and until a monster like him is found, this ungelled unit will struggle just to keep up. The returning backups are young but not totally inexperienced, and should eventually become the leaders needed to anchor the talented youth. Expect three incoming freshmen -- DE Terrance Jamison (Harvey, Ill.), DE Matt Shaughnessy (Norwich, Conn.) and DT Dan Cascone (Sandy Hook, Conn.) -- to be major contributors in the rotation, and eventually starters. The physically mature Cascone is talented enough to push the expected starters. Jamison is a natural playmaker, and Shaughnessy has 4.6 speed, so he will just have to be a legitimate run stopper while exploding off the edge. This green unit will test the abilities of lauded defensive coordinator Bret Bielema, who enjoyed the Big Ten's No. 2 pass rush and No. 3 rush defense. Less stunting during the establishment phase will lower TFLs, but, more importantly, will keep overpursuit (allowed 3.8 per carry) to a minimum.

This entire group is back, though the scheme here will be revamped with the new line. In reality, this is a proven group, though it lacks a consistent playmaker. Bielema's focus here is quickness. The best hope is quick true soph Andy Crooks, who took the MLB spot from Reggie Cribbs and shows big-play ability. Weak-side backer Dontez Sanders (a fast converted safety) and SAM Mark Zalewski were good at times, especially as pass-rushers. The stat lines may look good here, but LBs often struggled to finish tackles. This group will be better with age, as off-season adjustments will fine-tune the potential and make efforts flourish. Expect athletic 6'5" incoming freshman Travis Beckum to see time here or at rush-end, as will Elijah Hodge. Both only add speed, though Beckum would become the biggest of all the outside guys. LBs are the glue on D, and this established crew will make transitions on the line and secondary much less bumpy.

Defensive Back
With three-fourths of the starting mix gone, what was the nation's No. 7 pass defense will drop off - but to what extent will go a long way towards defining 2005 for UW. The leader is cornerback Brett Bell, a big, athletic senior who can make the open-field tackle and will become the shut-down guy. Levonne Rowan, Bell's backup the last two seasons, is even bigger than Bell and is capable of a worthy effort as a starter. Safeties are of concern, as big plays have yet to come from either of the two currently tapped. Depth will have to be developed, as well as cohesion among the starters. This area won't be a disaster, but it will look far worse without the menacing pass rush that aided it last year. Smart foes will use the pass to set up the run - when the speed at LB is forced to drop back, the newbies on the line will then be left alone.

With rebuilding efforts at D-line and the secondary, and a still-emerging group of LBs, Bielema would have to be a genius (and possibly immortal) to even approach 2004's finish of No. 9 in the nation. The secondary has the potential to hold steady, which puts the focus on the front-seven. Size issues at LB join inexperience on the line to make for run-stopping issues, a bad reality in the Big Ten. But realistically, the secondary will have to work together to become strong enough, and then it can eventually hold its own, but how long this takes will dictate where the LBs efforts will lean towards. The more they're forced to drop back to aid DBs, the more opponents will just grind them down. This defense will make its mistakes early (Bowling Green looks like last year's version of Utah in the opener), but the personnel have the potential to form a solid unit by midseason. Badger fans will just have to hope that it's not too late by then.


DB Brett Bell


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Joe Monty-Jr (6-2, 252) Kurt Ware-So (6-4, 274)
DT Justin Ostrowski-So (6-5, 304) Jason Chapman-Fr (6-4, 280)
DT Nick Hayden-So (6-5, 302) Mark Gorman-Jr (6-4, 275)
DE Jamal Cooper-So (6-4, 217) Mike Newkirk-Fr (6-3, 250)
SLB Mark Zalewski-Jr (6-2, 228) Paul Joran-Jr (6-3, 234)
MLB Andy Crooks-So (6-3, 242) Elliot Goode-Sr (6-2, 239)
WLB Dontez Sanders-Sr (6-1, 208) LaMarr Watkins-Sr (6-1, 223)
CB Levonne Rowan-Sr (6-1, 191) Jack Ikegwuonu-Fr (6-1, 199)
CB Brett Bell-Sr (6-0, 200) Allen Langford-Fr (5-11, 187)
SS Johnny White-Jr (6-2, 217) Joe Stellmacher-Jr (6-1, 216)
FS Roderick Rogers-Jr (6-2, 181) Zach Hampton-Jr (5-10, 178)
P Ken DeBauche-So (6-2, 219) Paul Standring-So (6-1, 212)




The highly-anticipated heir apparent here is sophomore Taylor Mehlhaff, who handled kickoff duties last fall (coverage improved modestly from ninth to sixth in the Big Ten). The nation's No. 1-rated kicker (2004) and former kickoff champion (at Chris Saler's Kicking Camp as a prep junior), Mehlhaff has a big leg that needs to find its groove (went 6-of-14 as a senior) before he can wipe last campaign's 12-of-21 stigma. But, opponents, listen up - Mehlhaff was Gatorade Player of the Year in South Dakota as a QB and SS, so his ability to pull off a fake and/or pummel your ball-carrier will affect how UW approaches his impact, and unaware foes will pay.

Ken DeBauche won the job as a redshirt freshman and provided a much-needed lift in the field position struggles. He landed 17 balls inside the 20 as the Badgers improved to fourth in the conference in net punting. DeBauche will be that little bit better, especially with a regrouping defense that will supply LBs/DBs hungry for playing time.

Return Game
The offense will need better starting position out of Williams, who was 10th in the conference at 19.0 yards per kick return. Expect Randle-El to take over the family tradition for the Badgers on punts, and will add even a little more explosiveness to a return unit that failed to get six even once.