It's easy to forget about senior Zach Brown in the University of Wisconsin football team's crowded tailback position.
Tailback is the strongest and deepest position on the team with the talented duo of junior Montee Ball and sophomore James White at the top.
Then there's redshirt freshman speedster Jeff Lewis, who has flashed his potential during spring practices, despite playing with a cast on one hand.
Set to join the group in the fall is Melvin Gordon, one of the top incoming freshmen in the 2011 recruiting class.
So, it's easy to overlook Brown, who redshirted last season. But he showed during a lengthy scrimmage on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium he still could find a way to get in the mix.
"Zach's an angry running back," UW coach Bret Bielema said afterward. "Everyone wants to talk about those other running backs. People forget he ran for 200 yards (against Minnesota) as a freshman and won some games for us. ... I think he wants to be out there. If he's our power back, that's great."
The 5-foot-10 Brown has never played at more than 210 pounds. But he reported for spring at 220, the weight he hopes to be at in the fall, though he has since dropped about five pounds.
He looks big enough that senior fullback Bradie Ewing recently joked to Brown about moving to fullback.
That's not going to happen, but Brown is convinced he can find a role. "I want to be able to do it all," Brown said.
Brown elected to redshirt last season due to a glut of tailbacks and to focus on his academics, so he would earn his degree before leaving. He is now on track to graduate in December with a degree in history.
That has helped reinforce that he made the right decision, even though it will be no easier to earn playing time this season.
Sitting out was even tougher than Brown imagined, especially during the games, when his competitive juices would start flowing. The thing that got him through it was watching the success of the running backs and the rest of his teammates.
"That's what made it all worth it, the end result, having a great season, winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl," Brown said.
Brown had several nice runs in Saturday's scrimmage, showing power and also quickness, despite the extra pounds.
"We're going to need all of the guys in the backfield," offensive coordinator Paul Chryst said. "Last year we needed three and probably lucked out, didn't have any significant injuries."
Who's the right tackle?
The battle continues at right tackle, where slimmed-down redshirt freshman Rob Havenstein has worked with the starting line the last two practices.
Bielema said offensive line coach Bob Bostad was giving Havenstein his shot after sophomore Casey Dehn worked with the starting line earlier in the spring.
It's hard to imagine the 6-foot-8, 350-pound Havenstein as being a smaller version of anything, but he weighed 368 pounds his first day a year ago, according to Bielema.
"Put him on a diet and he gained four pounds," Bielema said. "I think he's back down to that 350 range. I know that's ideally where we'd like him."
Right now, neither Havenstein nor Dehn has seized the job, meaning it could still be available if senior Josh Oglesby can't make it all the way back in fall camp after knee surgery.
O'Neill picks it up
Sophomore linebacker Conor O'Neill had interceptions on back-to-back plays in the scrimmage, picking off redshirt freshman Joe Brennan and then freshman Joel Stave. A year ago at this time, O'Neill was learning safety before moving back to linebacker.
"Conor was a heavily recruited kid," Bielema said. "We tried him at safety because we knew he had ability. I think that might have really helped him out because he's really good in the pass game."