Morning State Sports Briefs: Green expected to start at running back for Packers in preseason gameWisconsin Sports
-- Alex Green is expected to start at running back tomorrow night, when the Green Bay Packers host an exhibition against Cleveland.
GREEN BAY - Alex Green is expected to start at running back tomorrow night, when the Green Bay Packers host an exhibition against Cleveland.
Newly-acquired veteran Cedric Benson could not practice in pads this week, and therefore will not play. The previous starter, James Starks, is out with a turf-toe injury. And backup Brandon Saine has a bad hamstring. Green – who’s coming off an ACL knee injury in his rookie year – only had three carries in last week’s exhibition loss at San Diego. Green says he’s not sure how many carries he’ll get tomorrow night against the Browns. He admits he has a lot of catching up to do – and his goal at training camp is get up to speed with the Packers’ other rushers.
Packers’ guard T.J. Lang says he’s a lot more mature than he was even a year ago. And it helped him win his four-year contract extension this week with a five-and-a-half million dollar signing bonus and almost $21-million dollars in new money. Lang’s father died last fall – he doesn’t party like he admits doing in his first years with the Pack – and the coaches challenged him to the point in which won a starting job a year ago. Lang says he’s made some big changes to his life outside of football – and he said it allowed him to improve his work habits on the field. The fourth-year pro believes his strongest years are ahead of him, and he’s excited to win his new contract and the job security that goes with it. Lang would have been a free agent at the end of the year, but he says he has always wanted to stay in Green Bay.
Former University of Wisconsin running back John Clay has been waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was carted off the practice field with hip-and-groin injuries last Sunday. Clay was officially placed on the Steelers’ waived-injured list. If another team does not pick him up on waivers, Clay’s signing rights go back to Pittsburgh. The 24-year-old Clay – who starred at Racine Washington Park High School before doing the same with the Badgers – scored a touchdown in his first NFL carry last season. He played in two regular season games for Pittsburgh in his rookie year in 2011. He had 10 carries for 41 yards and his lone score.
University of Wisconsin freshman Dan Voltz says he’d like to play this year, rather than be redshirted to extend his eligibility. He’s been the No. 2 center at the Badgers’ preseason camp this month – and he got some work in with the No. 1 offense yesterday at both center and left guard. Voltz says the coaches have not told him about his status – but he wants to play this fall. He says he wants to get into a position where the coaches’ trust him enough to use him when needed. Voltz says his main focus is at center – but the coaches want him to be versatile enough to be inserted at either of the guard spots if necessary. Since the spring practices, Voltz got bulkier by gaining almost 15 pounds. He’s now at 309. Also, he’s been botching fewer snaps this month than he did in the spring. Voltz was able to take part in the spring work outs because he graduated a semester early from Barrington, Ill. High School near Chicago.
Central Wisconsin native Jordan Zimmermann lost his first road game in his last six, as the Washington Nationals fell at San Francisco 6-1. Zimmermann, a former UW-Stevens Point right-hander from Auburndale, gave up two runs in five-and-two-thirds innings with eight hits and two walks. It dropped his record to 9-7. Coming into last night’s game, Zimmermann was 4-0 in his last five road starts with a stingy ERA of just 0.87 in those outings.