Madison (WQOW) -- Running back Montee Ball is back in uniform for the Wisconsin football team.
Ball and the Badgers participated in a pair of practices on Sunday. Ball was in shoulder pads and a helmet on Saturday and is not expected to fully participate until sometime next week. However, that is a full week earlier than the senior running back was expected to be available after suffering a concussion.
Coach Bret Bielema said his teams' mentally toughness would be tested with Saturday's two-a-day practices. They practiced early in the morning and then under the lights at Camp Randall during the evening. Bielema says it's a great opportunity for his team in many ways.
"It's good for us. (For) punt returners and kick returners, balls under the lights -- that will be great reps for us. I just dismissed the team and said welcome to the grind," says Bielema. This is what we're all about; who's going to be able to recover, be smart, get off your legs, recover and be able to come back this evening an have a little juice. So it's going to be a little interesting to see which guys can mentally concentrate after a two hour practice this morning and going into an hour and a half tonight."
One group that was happy to be back in full pads was the linebackers. Mike Taylor and Chris Borland finished one and two in the Big Ten in tackles last season. Borland has had a decorated preseason, being named to four award watch lists including the Butkus Award for the nation's top linebacker. But Borland says he doesn't care about awards.
"It's pretty easy, we've got 23 practices this fall camp. So I get humbled everyday going against players like Travis Frederick and our line and backs," says Borland. we're just continuing to work, I really don't pay attention to those things. It's been months since we've been in the pads so to be able to play some football is great."
Baldwin-Woodville freshman Jake Keefer is among a group competing for the starting job next to Taylor and Borland.
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