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Wisconsin Sports Briefs: Packers running back James Starks is on the bubble to make team...

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The Green Bay Packers’ longest-serving running back could be on the bubble for an opening day roster spot. Fifth-year pro James Starks was the fourth running back to appear in last Saturday night’s exhibition win at St. Louis. He’s been fifth on the pecking order at practice this week.

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Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt cautioned reporters not to take too much stock in the rotation this week. He said Starks started the first pre-season game and the coaches are trying to give more snaps to some of their other candidates.

Starks did not play well against the Rams as he failed to pick up a blitz on one play. He fumbled the ball out of bounds on another play for a two-yard loss.

There’s been talk that the Packers might try to trade Starks or third-year pro Alex Green before the final roster cuts 10 days from now. The Packers’ top two running backs appear to be rookie Eddie Lacy and second-year pro DuJuan Harris, who’s coming back from knee and lung injuries.

Meanwhile, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed Tuesday’s practice with a cold. He’s due back Wednesday.

 Preparing for Seattle

 The Packers were holding their final practice at mid-day Wednesday before their next exhibition game on Friday night at Lambeau Field against the Seattle Seahawks.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was due back after he stayed away yesterday due to a head cold.

Meanwhile, it’s still possible for fourth-string quarterback B.J. Coleman to make the practice squad – even though he appears to be lagging behind Vince Young and Graham Harrell for the No. 2 spot. Coleman had a solid performance last Saturday night against St. Louis, completing 8 of 13 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.

His passer rating was 106.6 for the game. Coleman also spent last season on Green Bay’s practice squad.

 Seattle receiver expects hostile reception

 Even though it’s only a pre-season game, Seattle receiver Golden Tate expects to get a hostile reception from Packer fans on Friday night at Lambeau Field. Tate made the disputed touchdown catch last September on a call by replacement officials which gave the Seahawks a 14-12 home victory over the Pack in week 3.

It was the play that spurred the NFL to settle a contract dispute in which the league’s regular refs came back the following week.

Tate says it’s funny that people are still talking about the play almost a year later. Hhe still hears lots of critical things from Packer fans which he claims does not affect him.

This week, Tate’s Twitter account is being filled up again by messages from fans. Instead of fighting back, he’s trying to soften the conversation by making light of the situation. Tate says he wants to have fun with it, not take it too seriously, and not let it hurt is feelings.

If he scores in Friday night’s exhibition, Tate promises not to make a Lambeau Leap, but he might plan some other celebration.

 Michael Caputo could start at free safety for Badgers

After having neck surgery in February, Michael Caputo could start the season as Wisconsin’s No. 1 free safety.

Coach Gary Andersen says the redshirt sophomore has shown toughness and a big desire to play. However, Andersen notes the Badgers will rotate four safeties and take six on their travel roster.

Strong safety Dezmen Southward is the only returning starter in the Badgers’ secondary. Redshirt freshmen Leo Musso and Michael Trotter are the others in the rotation. Trotter started three games for Wisconsin last season.

Caputo started once. He’s had neck pains dating back to high school. Doctors found a protruding disc from his spinal column. Caputo was inactive for three months after his February operation.

 Wisconsin Open golf tournament under way

 David Roesch of Germantown is the leader at the halfway point of the state open golf tournament. Roesch shot a five-under-par 67 Tuesday at Tuckaway Country Club in Franklin. He’s at seven-under 137 after 36 holes, two strokes ahead of Brady Strangstalien of Madison. Strangstalien won last year’s state amateur and has since turned pro.

The 38-year-old Roesch appeared to have a shot at the PGA Tour in 2004 when he made the cut at the U.S. Open. It never happened, but Roesch says he’s happy with how things turned out. He now has a successful business as a teaching pro. He says he really enjoys seeing his students get better. 

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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