RB P.J. Hill

2006 Statistics

Coach: Bret Bielema
12-1, 1 year
2006 Record: 12-1
vs. Bowling Green WON 35-14
at Michigan LOST 13-27
at Indiana WON 52-17
at Purdue WON 24-3
at Iowa WON 24-21
Arkansas WON 17-14

2006 Final Rankings
AP-7, Coaches-5, BCS-7

2007 Outlook

Anyone wondering if second-year head coach Bret Bielema had the wares to succeed A.D. Barry Alvarez now has the short answer – he won a school-record 12 games and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Their former defensive coordinator should again command a no-frills offense that can rely on a swarming defense to wear foes down and therefore give Wisconsin a chance to win weekly. Their “traditional” inside running game - with an almost all 300+lb. line, multiple TE-sets and a hulking backfield – already has sophomore P.J. Hill’s name rolling off of the tongues of grandmothers in Madison and All-American watchdogs everywhere. The grinding ground attack equaled an almost seven-minute difference in time-of-possession in UW’s favor; ergo, one of the reasons the Badger secondary was so effective due to being so well rested. Such will be just as important this time around, and also key will be how the new QB will find open targets due to extra hats being sucked into the box. But the paramount focus has to be on their secondary since both starting safeties are gone. With the line returning its two-deep essentially intact and the Badger’s smother corners taking away the quick routes, the safeties will not be put into a trial-by-fire scenario. Washington State at home to start, though, is no gimme, and trips to Happy Valley and the Horseshoe (with a home tilt versus Michigan the week after Ohio State) mean Wisconsin again has their work cut out if they want double-digit wins but not to finish fourth in the conference. Moreover, the Cardinal-and-White has a decent shot at taking the Big Ten crown and/or making the BCS after their No.7 finish last season. For those who don’t believe, consider that UW is the most successful program in the Big Ten over the last three years, and then wonder about the rock you must be living under to miss the Badger’s well-earned success.

Projected 2007 record: 10-2
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 4.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Tyler Donovan, 37-58-2, 564 yds., 4 TD

Rushing: P.J. Hill, 311 att., 1569 yds., 15 TD

Receiving: Travis Beckum, 61 rec., 903 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: P.J. Hill, 16 TD, 96 pts.

Punting: Ken Debauche, 59 punts, 41.8 avg.

Kicking: Taylor Mehlhaff, 15-20 FG, 47-47 PAT, 92 pts.

Tackles: Jonathan Casillas, 83 tot., 53 solo

Sacks: DeAndre Levy, 6 sacks

Interceptions: Allen Langford, 3 for 9 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Jarvis Minton, 15 ret., 18.8 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Ben Strickland, 2 ret., 21.0 avg., 0 TD


DE Matt Shaughnessy
OFFENSE: John Stocco-QB, Joe Thomas-OT
DEFENSE: Joe Monty-DE, Mark Zalewski-MLB, Joe Stellmacher-SS, Roderick Rogers-FS

The amount of experience on this side of the ball is ready to pick up right where they left off, but a new field general needing honing often forces teams to downshift. Fortunately, senior QB Tyler Donovan brings an extra running dimension Stucco never had to open up defenses. The Hartland-native showed his comprehensive ability in guiding the Badgers to a huge win late in the season at Iowa, alleviating fears that UW’s latest signal caller could force the offense to take steps back as he catches up to where they already are. Junior backup Allan Evridge offers more size and should see reps along with other reserves as coaches think about 2008. Freshman All-American P.J. Hill continues the Badger tradition of big, fast bruisers who can take a corner as well as they move the pile. Backup Lance Smith-Williams struggled as a true frosh, so we expect to see this year’s No.4 RB recruit John Clay in an effort to keep legs fresh and yard amassing. Fullback Bill Rentmeester is that unsung devotee who makes it all work without needing dap. As the big running game takes over and sucks extra defenders into the box, Donovan will assuredly find open targets like seniors Luke Swan and 6’4 Paul Hubbard. Also guaranteeing open receivers in isolation is their top snarler, junior all-Big Ten TE Travis Beckum. Senior backup Andy Crooks was fourth in receptions, telegraphing UW’s use of two- and three-TE sets that they dare you to stop. You can see the amount of effort put into utilizing extra bigmen, and we haven’t even gotten to their four returning starters on the line. Senior Marcus Coleman is huge for a center, yet that doesn’t limit his mobility of his all-conference status. Flanked by three huge juniors who all know each other’s tendencies well, the only questions remaining up front pertain to the open left tackle slot. Two freshmen are set to compete, but Gabe Carimi is going to have to hope for a miracle to fend off this year’s top tackle recruit in Josh Oglesby. Along with his quicker feet as an upgrade, Donovan only needs to keep himself (and the team) cool and deliver the ball consistently to get this experienced offense to places where Stucco couldn’t. Still, how long that takes will spell how much success Wisconsin has this season.


TE Travis Beckum


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Tyler Donovan-Sr (6-1, 187) Allan Evridge-Jr (6-2, 225)
FB Bill Rentmeester-Jr (6-0, 250) Chris Pressley-Jr (6-1, 271)
RB P.J. Hill-So (5-11, 222) Lance Smith-So (5-10, 210)
WR Luke Swan-Sr (6-0, 193) Xavier Harris-So (5-11, 175)
WR Paul Hubbard-Sr (6-4, 215) Isaac Anderson-So (5-11, 170)
TE Travis Beckum-Jr (6-4, 221) Andy Crooks-Sr (6-3, 268)
OT Jake Bscherer-So (6-7, 297) Gabe Carimi-Fr (6-8, 292)
OG Andy Kemp-Jr (6-6, 322) John Moffitt-Fr (6-4, 310)
C Marcus Coleman-Sr (6-6, 302) Brad Thorson-Fr (6-4, 295)
OG Kraig Urbik-Jr (6-6, 330) Bill Nagy-Fr (6-4, 300)
OT Eric Vanden Heuvel-Jr (6-7, 324) Jake Bscherer-So (6-7, 297)
K Taylor Mehlhaff-Sr (5-11, 185) Matt Fischer-So (5-11, 179)



The good new is that the front returns almost the exact same, so run stopping efforts can improve after finishing a respectable 34th. The bad news is that their stellar secondary loses both starting safeties, which means we get to see if secondary coach Kerry Cooks can repeat their No.1 pass efficiency ranking given newly-promoted reserves. All-Big Ten end Matt Shaughnessy will have just as productive of a junior year with either quick, strong senior backup Jamal Cooper or athletic hulking classmate Kurt Ware finally getting the start. Hayden and Chapman in the middle are big enough to clog and fast enough to invade opponent’s backfields regularly. The only turnover amongst the linebackers is a new starter in the middle, and Elijah Hodge was good enough there as a RS frosh that few will miss Zalewski. Juniors Casillas and Levy are surprisingly tough against the run for their size as they rule their outside areas. Both react well to play-action as they shut down the underneath passing lanes. Seeing how there will be little drop off in the front seven’s performance, expect big improvements in sack totals and run stopping. But there is nowhere to go but down for the secondary, and how far the secondary sinks will tell most (along with the new QB) whether Wisconsin can again crack the top 10. Clampdown corners Allan Langford and Jack Ikegwuonu can duplicate their all-conference levels of play, but the underclassmen reserves taking over the safety spots don’t have enough experience to guarantee any results like the Badgers just had. This side of the ball was what got Wisconsin so far in ’06, and with Ohio State and Michigan still seemingly ahead of them, UW will need another overachieving bunch to keep up with the conference “Jones’s”.


CB Jack Ikegwuonu


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Kurt Ware-Sr (6-4, 282) Jamal Cooper-Sr (6-4, 206)
DT Jason Chapman-Jr (6-4, 289) Jeff Stehle-So (6-6, 293)
DT Nick Hayden-Sr (6-5, 300) Mike Newkirk-Jr (6-3, 263)
DE Matt Shaughnessy-Jr (6-6, 242) Brandon Kelly-Sr (6-4, 255)
SLB DeAndre Levy-Jr (6-3, 223) Culmer St. Jean-Fr (6-1, 220)
MLB Elijah Hodge-So (6-1, 232) Josh Neal-Jr (5-10, 245)
WLB Jonathan Casillas-Jr (6-2, 212) Jaevery McFadden-So (6-3, 224)
CB Allen Langford-Jr (5-11, 196) Josh Nettles-So (5-10, 176)
CB Jack Ikegwuonu-Jr (6-1, 201) Ben Strickland-Sr (5-9, 175)
SS Aubrey Pleasant-So (6-0, 206) Jay Valai-Fr (5-9, 193)
FS Shane Carter-So (6-2, 204) Kim Royston-So (5-11, 185)
P Ken Debauche-Sr (6-2, 220) Paul Standring-Sr (6-1, 213)




This is one of those exceptional years when the kicking and punting duties are handled by experienced, well-qualified seniors. This will matter in close games, which Wisconsin will likely be in with a new QB. Inversely, both return jobs could use new applicants after UW finished an abysmal 96th and 119th for running back punts and kicks, respectively.