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19 Wisconsin The traditionally ground-bound Badgers are ready to add some pizzazz by airing the ball out on offense

Aug. 11, 2003
Aug. 11, 2003

Table of Contents
Aug. 11, 2003

College Football 2003

19 Wisconsin The traditionally ground-bound Badgers are ready to add some pizzazz by airing the ball out on offense

Although this will be his first season as the Badgers' starting
quarterback, fifth-year senior Jim Sorgi is hardly an unknown to
the Camp Randall faithful. In three years as Brooks Bollinger's
backup, Sorgi appeared in 27 games, throwing for 16 touchdowns
and 2,247 yards, which places him 14th on the school's alltime
passing list. "I'm the new guy, but I'm the new guy who's been
around awhile," he says. "This is my shot."

This is an article from the Aug. 11, 2003 issue Original Layout

Though Sorgi will be able to hand off to speedy 5'8" junior
tailback Anthony Davis, the Badgers' attack will rely more on the
pass than in previous seasons. The return of senior wideout Lee
Evans, a Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2001 who missed last year
after tearing his left ACL in the spring, will help, as will the
experience gained by sophomores Jonathan Orr and Brandon Williams
in Evans's absence. "Jim's probably the most natural thrower
we've ever had," says Alvarez. "We've got enough weapons to take
some pressure off him, but we have to make sure he makes it
through the year."

The Badgers allowed a conference-worst 46 sacks last year, and
this season's line features three new starters. "Avoiding sacks
is our main focus," says the 6'5", 190-pound Sorgi. Alvarez and
offensive coordinator Brian White plan to spread the offense with
more four-receiver sets, preventing defenses from teeing off on
Sorgi with eight-in-the-box formations. Sorgi has also been
working with Davis on new screen plays, a radical concept at
Wisconsin, where running backs usually just run.

One man who's sure Sorgi can get the job done is Evans, who in
2000 caught Sorgi's first touchdown pass, a 45-yarder to beat
Michigan State with 0:29 left. Since then the two have hooked up
for eight more scores, including five for 30 yards or more. "Some
of the things Jim can do are very exciting from a receiver's
standpoint," says Evans. "I get goose bumps thinking about it. He
just has to believe he can do it." --M.B.

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID BERGMAN MIX AND MATCH Sorgi, who gives the Badgers both a new look and a familiar face at QB, can throw or hand off to Davis (28).

FAST FACTS

2002 RECORD 8-6 (2-6, T8 in Big Ten)
FINAL AP RANK NR
RETURNING STARTERS 18

KEY RETURNEES (2002 stats)

RB Anthony Davis (Jr.)
Had nation'S BEST 3,021 RUSHING YARDS IN '01-02

WR Lee Evans (Sr.)
Set Big Ten receiving mark (1,545 yards) in '01

FS Jim Leonhard (Jr.)
Led nation and tied Big Ten record with 11 INTs

QB Jim Sorgi (Sr.)
Has hit Lee Evans for 10 passes of 30-plus yards

LB Alex Lewis (Sr.)
Made 86 tackles, including 11 for loss, one sack

TELLING NUMBER

10
Years in a row that Badgers have had 1,000-yard rusher, two short
of NCAA record set by North Carolina from 1973 to
'84.

SMART MOVE

After Lee Evans tore his ACL in 2002's Red and White game, coach
Barry Alvarez took no chances this year. Evans was held out of
the April game, and the rest of the first-string skill guys
played only the first quarter, during which tackling was out.
Says Alvarez, "I don't think what happened to Lee will ever
leave my mind."

SCHEDULE

AUG. 30 AT WEST VIRGINIA
SEPT. 6 AKRON
13 UNLV
20 NORTH CAROLINA
27 AT ILLINOIS
OCT. 4 AT PENN STATE
11 OHIO STATE
18 PURDUE
25 AT NORTHWESTERN
NOV. 8 AT MINNESOTA
15 MICHIGAN STATE
22 IOWA