Thursday's Practice Report

Wisconsin is officially halfway done with spring practices, but the Badgers know their is plenty of things left to tidy up. With the team in half pads, some minor mistakes continued while the intensity continues to rise.

MADISON — Watching new defensive coordinator Chris Ash conduct a practice and it is easy to see why Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema promoted him.

He possesses that indefinable charisma to reach his players.

Ash has spent the spring harping on his guys not only to be in the right position to make a play, but to finish it as well. Dropped interceptions earn pushups. Over pursuing on the run, earns an earful from the sideline.

Recently, Ash is making sure that once guys finish those game changing plays, they must celebrate the achievement.

Running a pick-six drill early in practice, Ash oversaw the entire defense pile up in the end zone time and time again after a cornerback took one to the house. Additionally, the team breaks the huddle with a rousing chant of "balls out" for each play. And after Devin Smith picked off quarterback Jon Budmayr Thursday in an 11-on-11 drill, Ash was just screaming "Celebrate! Celebrate! Enjoy it!"

In short he is creating a confident-bordering-on-cocky attitude. He wants his guys to play with a swagger.

Injury Update

Freshman safety Michael Trotter sat out practice for the second day in a row with a toe injury. He is expected to be back before the spring game.

After spraining his knee one week ago, Brian Wozniak donned pads and ran through some sprints and cuts with the trainer.

With center Peter Konz out for the spring with a sprained right ankle, Ryan Groy took the snaps at center with the No. 1 offensive line Thursday. There were no exchange problems, something Groy had struggled with earlier in camp.

Mistakes

Wisconsin dominated offensively last season in large part because they almost never took the negative play that stalls drives. They had the fewest penalties in the nation, and most importantly, never fumbled the ball.

If Thursdays practice is any indication, the Badgers still have plenty of work to do in that area.

Budmayr continued his trend of making at least one horrible decision per practice by tossing an interception into the waiting arms of Devin Smith. Later, Budmayr and Montee Ball screwed up a handoff exchange, with the result a 10-yard loss after Budmayr had to pick up the fumble. Finally, James White fumbled for at least the third time this season, having the ball punched out during a gang tackle, earning White a lap around the field for his drop.

Fight! Fight!

Just two plays before practice broke for the day, the Wisconsin football team broke out into a offense vs. defense fight.

While it is unclear from the sidelines how it started, Ryan Groy, Montee Ball and Aaron Henry appeared to be in the middle of it, joined shortly by about 40 other guys.

As practice ended after the next play, it is unclear how short the fuse was for the offense and defense. Saturday's practice should be an indication for how sick of playing each other both sides are.

Celebrity Citing

Jim Leonard was in the house Thursday, giving advice and chatting it up with players and coaches.

Most interestingly, Leonard was seen talking with true freshman Kenzel Doe at the end of practice, and if the hand motions were any clue, Leonard was giving Doe some pointers on fielding a punt.

11-on-11

Budmayr went an unofficial 8-for-14 on the day, while taking two sacks and an interception. Jared Abbrederis has easily become his favorite target in camp, with four of the eight completions going to the sophomore wide out.

Joe Brennan had a difficult day, completing just two passes while missing Jacob Pedersen on a wide-open touchdown throw deep. Brennan also threw an interception that safety Dezmen Southward managed to corral.


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