August 20, 2010

Defense impresses during morning practice

MADISON - With opening day just over two weeks away, it seems as though the Wisconsin football team is starting to make significant strides in the right direction.

When Friday's morning practice concluded, the team had just put forth one of its cleanest practices of the week. In addition to the crisp overall practice, the No. 1 and No. 2 defense also bounced back after a couple of lackluster performances in the previous two days.

The following is a look back at practice No. 14 of fall camp.

Defenses shine:

Like previously mentioned, both the No. 1 and No. 2 defenses had struggled entering Friday's morning practice. By the end of it, however, the players trying to stop the offense from scoring had all the momentum.

When move the ball drills commenced, the No. 1 offense led by Scott Tolzien was unable to get anything going as the defense held them to a quick three and out on its first possession.

When Jon Budmayr gave it a shot with the backups, they weren't able to muster anything more than a three and out as well.

The second time Tolzien came in he saw a little more productivity. But utilizing the old bend but not break axiom, the starting defense was able to stiffen inside the red zone and force what would have been a field goal attempt.

John Clay started that drive with a 22-yard burst off the right edge of the line and tacked on a few more yards on his next three carries. But once the team got inside the red zone Patrick Butrym broke through for a sack on first down, and Culmer St. Jean dropped James White for no gain on third and short following a 16-yard David Gilreath reception to halt the drive.

Earlier in practice, when the same drill was being conducted, neither offense was able to score.

Devin Smith came on a blitz during a third and seven play and made the 'hypothetical' sack on Tolzien to end a drive at the 35 yard line. The next time the starters traipsed onto the field, the defense held them to a three and out.

The backups, didn't fair any better. A three and out hamstrung the first drive and a Marcus Cromartie batted ball halted the second inside the red zone.

Overall, it was a much finer performance by the defense, particularly the secondary, during Friday's morning practice.

Making their return:

-When Eriks Briedis went down in agony Thursday afternoon, it seemed as though he had suffered a relatively serious injury. Much to the surprise of the reporters in attendance, the redshirt sophomore was fully padded during Friday's drills. It seemed as though he suffered just a scare instead of something potentially serious.

-Jordan Kohout was completely padded and participated in individual drills. I did not see him practice during team drills.

-Marquis Mason, who was set to undergo an MRI Wednesday afternoon, was back in full pads Friday morning.

Quick hits:

-Pat Muldoon, who has had a long recovery from a torn ACL, made an impressive sack on Budmayr during move the ball drills. Though he wasn't able to tackle the green-shirted quarterback, he did wrap up accordingly.

-Jared Abbrederis continued his hot streak during Friday's early practice. On one particular third and 12, it seemed as though Budmayr had thrown an uncatchable ball, but the redshirt freshman laid out at the final second and completed a remarkable fingertip grab near the sideline to move the chains. It was the play of the day.

-David Gilbert and Robert Burge engaged in a scrum midway through Friday's practice. It wasn't clearly evident as to what started the fight, but things got heated enough that teammates had to step in and break it up.

The Badgers return Friday evening for the day's second practice. Look for a practice report following the nightcap.

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