March 28, 2009

Spring camp report: Day 3

MADISON, Wis. - For the first time this spring practice, the Wisconsin football team took to the field of the McClain Center in full pads. Though there was no tackling, there were still a few good pops Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of approximately 200 people comprised mostly of coaches and several recruits.

In attendance:
-Zac Epping: Lineman prospect from Kenosha (WI) Tremper high school.
-Tom Parish: Quarterback prospect from Hartland (WI) Arrowhead high school. Parish was recently offered a scholarship from Minnesota.
-Barrett Powell: Wide receiver prospect from Wauwatosa (WI) East high school.
-Evan Lobdell: Safety prospect from Jonesville (MI) high school.
-Will Hagerup: Punter prospect from Whitefish Bay (WI) high school. He was seen wearing a Wisconsin sweatshirt.
-Colin Voss: Tight end prospect from E. Grand Rapids (MI) high school.
-Aaron Armstrong (A.J.): Inside linebacker prospect from Neenah (WI) high school.

Injury report:
Only two players, other than the four that will miss all of spring practice, were out Saturday. Elijah Theus and Mike Taylor did not practice as they recover from their respective injuries.

"T.J. Theus rolled up his ankle a little bit," Bielema said. "I do think he'll actually be back on Monday. Then Mike Taylor had a little bit of a hamstring issue. (We) didn't know if he was going to be able to go today. Hopefully we'll be able to get him back, if not some point next week, then the week after.

"It's not a serious pop."

During practice, freshman running back Erik Smith suffered what seemed to be a minor ankle injury during inside team drills and did not return to practice after getting an ice treatment.

"I don't know what happened," Bielema said. "He got dinged up during inside (drills)."

Roster addition:

Following the departure of Matt Fischer, the UW coaching staff added another kicker to its roster. Pat Hughes from Marquette University (WI) high school is now the second kicker on the roster.

"He contacted us a year ago," Bielema said. "I didn't want to have three kickers going into fall camp, so he came out. Tuesday was his first kick. I told him if he made his PAT, we were going to back him up one yard at a time so he got out there today and actually went over the left hash and did a good job."

Depth chart movement?

During Tuesday's opening practice, Aaron Henry and Niles Brinkley were running the first team defensive unit. On Saturday, Antonio Fenelus had replaced Brinkley on the starting unit.

Speaking of the secondary, Randall McCray is now working with the safeties in addition to outside linebackers.

"Randall started working last year with our nickel safeties," Bielema said. "Aubrey Pleasant, last year, played that position and really did a good job. Just trying to maximize our manpower and just trying to give "K.C." Kerry Cooks a little bit more time individually with those corners."

11-on-11 drills:

On Tuesday, the quarterbacks received evenly distributed reps with both the first team and second team offensive units. On Saturday, Dustin Sherer and Curt Phillips received the majority of the reps early on in practice.

But as the day progressed, Jon Budmayr really started to play well and might have had the most impressive overall performance of the day. Near the end of practice, he threw a beautiful deep pass that hit his receiver in stride for a touchdown. Granted, he was going against the second team unit, his poise in the pocket and strong arm was impressive Saturday afternoon.

"It's only his third day and he looks like, I would say a veteran, but he's got a strong arm," UW wide receiver David Gilreath said. "He's out there and he doesn't look like he's worried about anything. It's just going out there and playing ball."

Play of the day:

After Culmer St. Jean intercepted one of Sherer's throws, a scrum broke out on the far sideline when Richard Kirtley took exception to a hit he received during the chase. A few other players also got involved before UW coaches and players were able to intervene and stop.

"That stuff happens in spring because we're going against each other everyday so people get a little fed up with it," wide receiver Nick Toon said following practice.

"It's part of the game I guess."

Quick practice notes:

-Quarterback Curt Phillips was wearing No. 19 during practice because he could not get comfortable with his other jersey as it was too tight.

"The quarterback's have all become jersey experts," Bielema said. "We've actually got new jerseys coming in that are going to be exactly like their game jerseys in the fall, but they're not going to have any numbers on them. So you guys (the media) are going to have to figure out who they are."

-Toon was the best receiver on the field Saturday. He flashed good hands and a great knack to haul in the ball even in traffic and through contact.

-Devin Smith showed great concentration when he adjusted on the fly to a tipped pass and promptly hauled in the interception. However, before he could score the touchdown, Kyle Jefferson stripped the ball from him.

-The Badgers will have Sunday off before getting back on the field Monday evening.

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