Schedule: Bret Bielema and the Badgers hold their first preseason practice at 3:35 p.m. ET today at Camp Randall Stadium.
What's new: Not much in terms of personnel, as Wisconsin returns 16 starters, including 10 on offense and its entire offensive line. Bielema hired a new secondary coach in Chris Ash, who joins the staff after spending eight of the past 10 seasons at Iowa State. Wisconsin also welcomes Greg Jackson as nickel backs and assistant linebackers coach. Bielema oversaw special teams the past three seasons, but now will assign the units to four assistants.
Sidelined: Backup quarterback Curt Phillips is out until at least October following ACL surgery on his right knee. Running back John Clay (ankle), offensive lineman Peter Konz (lungs) and linebackers Mike Taylor (knee) and Chris Borland (shoulder), all are cleared for the start of practice.
Key battle: Look toward the defensive line. Wisconsin loses both of its starting defensive tackles in Jeff Stehle and Dan Moore, and will be looking for several young players to step up. Junior Patrick Butrym started two games last fall and is a strong possibility for one of the top spots, but Jordan Kohout, Eriks Briedis, Ethan Hemer and others are in the mix for playing time. J.J. Watt has locked up a starting defensive end spot, but Louis Nzegwu and David Gilbert continue to compete on the other side.
New on the scene: The Badgers need to upgrade their special teams play in 2010, which creates opportunities for incoming freshmen to see the field right away. Keep an eye on players like Beau Allen, Frank Tamakloe, Peniel Jean and Cameron Ontko. True freshmen are more likely to see the field on defense than offense this fall.
Back in the fold: Taylor started the first seven games last fall at linebacker and was leading the team in tackles before tearing his ACL against Iowa. The redshirt sophomore returns in practice and should form a dynamic young linebacker tandem with Borland, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Breaking out: Lance Kendricks put Badgers fans at ease about the loss of Garrett Graham with a career-best performance in Wisconsin's Champs Sports Bowl win against Miami. Kendricks steps into a featured role after recording 29 receptions for 356 receiving yards. Watt also should have a huge season at defensive end. Overshadowed by O'Brien Schofield last fall, Watt recorded 15.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last fall.
Quotable: "I do like the fact that our kids, the majority of our players that are going to be significant players in this year's senior class, all went through the scars of [the 2008] season themselves, in addition to myself and several of my coaching staff. So we'll make note of any mistakes that were made that year. But again, the 2010 season is based on the individuals that are in that room." -- head coach Bret Bielema