WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Packers at their healthiest just before NFL opener
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers continue to be very healthy going into their regular season opener on Sunday at San Francisco.
Second-year corner Casey Hayward has been ruled out of Sunday's contest with a lingering hamstring injury. Nobody else on the 53-man roster missed practice today. Corner Jarrett Bush took part, after being limited on Wednesday with an ankle problem. The team practiced in full pads today. They'll have one more full practice tomorrow before heading out to northern California for their opener.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers insists he won't be out for revenge, when the Green Bay Packers open their regular season on Sunday at San Francisco. Rodgers says his team is way past the point of seeking revenge for San Francisco's 45-31 playoff thrashing in the divisional round last January. The Niners had 579 yards of total offense against Green Bay in that game, including 181 yards from quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Packer coaches were so stung by the Niners' read-option offense, their defensive staff went to Texas A&M in the off-season to learn about controlling it. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers also got some tips from Wisconsin assistant Dave Aranda, who has coached against Kaepernick. And this week, the Packers brought in two ex-49'er quarterbacks who could help spill some dirt -- Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien. Rodgers says it will be a great matchup, and a big game for both teams to kick off the season. He grew up in 49'ers' territory in Chico California -- and he says a lot of people there are on the fence when the Niners and the Pack play each other. The Packers appear healthy. Corner Casey Hayward is the only player ruled out for Sunday, with a hamstring injury from July. Defensive back Jarrett Bush was limited at practice yesterday with a bad ankle. Practice resumes today.
University of Wisconsin Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne will be honored on Saturday, when his recent admittance into the College Football Hall-of-Fame will be celebrated. The UW and the National Football Foundation will present an on-campus salute to Dayne during the Badger football game against Tennessee Tech. It was announced in May that Dayne -- the 1999 Heisman winner -- would be inducted into the college hall. He was the Big Ten's first three-time rushing champion, and he led the Badgers to four consecutive bowl games, including back-to-back Rose Bowl championships in 1999 and 2000. Dayne also led Wisconsin to a pair of Big Ten titles under coach Barry Alvarez, who was also inducted into the College Hall-of-Fame a while back. Dayne is the eighth Wisconsin player to be inducted.
The Milwaukee Bucks' new roster will be cared for by a new trainer. The Bucks say Scott Barthlama will replace Marc Boff as the NBA team's head athletic trainer for next season. Barthlama has been with Milwaukee for five years as an assistant trainer, and an assistant strength-and-conditioning coach. Before that, he spend a decade with Northwestern University. Also, the Bucks have named Chris McKenzie as a trainer and the team's director of physical therapy. Milwaukee native Robert Hackett is the new strength-and-conditioning coach. He has previously held similar roles with the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks. The Bucks have almost totally revamped their roster under new coach Larry Drew. They've acquired two-time All-Star forward Caron Butler, Memphis guard O.J. Mayo, and Minnesota and former Bucks' guard Luke Ridnour, among others.
UW-Oshkosh has promoted assistant wrestling coach Efrain Ayala to the top job. He's been with the Titans for two seasons, helping them place 17th at last year's NCAA Division III meet, and 14th the year before. Ayala replaces Chris Stratton, who resigned in May.
Allison Davis of UW-Stevens Point has been named the WIAC's first volleyball player-of-the-week for the fall season. Davis, a senior middle-blocker, had 40 kills, 12 blocks, and eight digs in four matches at the Saint Benedict Labor Day Tournament in Minnesota. The Pointers went 3-1, and Davis was named to the all-tournament team. The WIAC also gave weekly honors to Jaime Cuevas of Finlandia and Matt Elder of Superior in men's soccer -- Sarah Eck of Platteville and Kaitlyn Fritsch of Whitewater in women's soccer -- Megan Humphreys of Whitewater in women's singles' tennis -- Jackie Vitale and Alexandra Bayliss of Whitewater in doubles' tennis -- and Brittany McNett-Emmerich of Stout in women's golf.
The Wisconsin high school coaches' poll is out for its second week. WisSports-Dot-Net sponsors the survey. Unlike the AP, which has just three divisional polls based on enrollments, the coaches' poll lists top teams in all seven divisions -- even though post-season placements are on the enrollments of the 224 schools which make the playoffs. The Wissports.net poll has Sun Prairie leading division, with Hartland Arrowhead second. Mequon Homestead leads Division 2, followed by Kimberly. Waukesha Catholic Memorial tops Division 3, with West De Pere second. Walworth Big Foot is atop Division 4, followed by Somerset. Amherst leads in Division 5, with Lancaster second. Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs is the leader in Division 6, followed by Edgar. And in Division 7, Glenwood City is on top. Lake Country Lutheran is second.
The Milwaukee Brewers will try to end their parade of struggling first basemen next season. But unless the Crew can attract a big-name free agent, manager Ron Roenicke is at a loss to explain how the bleeding can be stopped. The skipper says it would be expensive to bring an All-Star in. He notes that Carlos Pena is hitting .220 and still making $10-million this year. Corey Hart hopes the Brewers will re-sign him this winter, but he may have continued health issues after major injuries to both knees kept him out all year. Juan Francisco has a lot of power, but he's inconsistent in both the field and the plate. Mat Gamel hopes to return despite ACL knee injuries in each of the last two seasons. Prospect Hunter Morris hit .247 at Triple-"A" Nashville. Roenicke said his development was a factor in not including him in the Brewers' September minor league call-ups. Jonathan Lucroy could provide the biggest bat to the first base position -- but he's just learning the job with an occasional game there as the current season winds down. Roenicke said he's been surprised by Lucroy's performance at first, even though he only played his fifth game there last night when the Brewers beat Pittsburgh. The Crew is off today, and will open a weekend series against the Cubs in Chicago starting tomorrow.
In the Midwest League, Beloit and Quad Cities could advance to the second round of the playoffs with victories tonight in their respective divisional semifinals. Beloit belted two homers in the 10th inning last night to win at Clinton 9-5. The Snappers will host Game-Two this evening -- and if Clinton wins, they'll play a third-and-deciding contest tomorrow night in Beloit. Brewers' 2010 first-round draft choice Dylan Covey will start on the mound for Beloit. In the other Western Division semifinal, Quad Cities will go for a two-game sweep tonight at Cedar Rapids. Quad Cities claimed the advantage in the series with a 2-1 victory in Game-One. In the East, South Bend can advance tonight with a home win over Great Lakes. And Fort Wayne is hosting Bowling Green, with Fort Wayne up one-game-to-none.
The PGA Tour is off this weekend. The break comes at the halfway point of the Fed-Ex Cup playoffs. The Top-70 in the Fed-Ex point standings -- including Steve Stricker of Madison -- will play in the BMW Championship which starts a week from today near Chicago. The Top-30 will then advance to the Tour Championship near Atlanta, with the winner getting the playoff crown and 10-million dollars. Stricker is the only Wisconsinite left in the tournament. He originally planned to skip the playoffs with his limited schedule this year. But he wanted to play strong last weekend so he could win an automatic spot on the U.S. President's Cup team, which he did. Now, Stricker is talking about playing in the Tour Championship if he believes he can win. He's eighth in the standings at the moment. Meanwhile, the senior PGA Champions Tour is in Canada for the Montreal Championship. The 54-hole tournament begins tomorrow in Sainte-Julie Quebec. Rhinelander native Dan Forsman is part of the field. He's 52nd in the season point standings for the Charles Schwab Cup.