The offense has a ways to go in catching up to the defense.
In a practice with live tackling and situational scrimmaging, Wisconsin's No. 1 offense started out hot, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives, covering 60 yards on both occasions.
Then the defense clamped down.
The second-team offense never managed to score a touchdown, and the first-teamers only got one more score when James White broke away on a run and took it to the house from 45-yards out.
Otherwise the defense contained the running game and shut down the passing attack.
Yet Budmayr has done little to cement his status as starter heading in to the fall with quarterback Curt Phillips returning from injury.
Budmayr tossed two more interceptions Saturday — against one touchdown — and missed on several open receivers.
During two attempts at a red zone drill, the No. 1 offense was unable to put the ball in the end zone, with Budmayr watching three of his passes fall incomplete. He avoided having any passes blocked at the line for the first practice all spring, but still forces too many balls into tight windows.
On his first interception, Budmayr failed to look off Aaron Henry, who had a chance to return the pick for a touchdown if the coaches hadn't blown the play dead.
Red Zone Respect
Defensive coordinator Chris Ash admitted this spring that he is trying to instill a sense of swagger into his guys on 'D'. If someone makes a big play, he wants them to celebrate it.
Never was this more apparent than when the No. 1 defense and offense matched up for a two-minute drill. While the offense moved the ball down to the three-yard line after a broken coverage allowed Brian Wozniak to get free for a big gain, the defense clamped down from there.
On second down Budmayr tossed a well placed fade route to Jeff Duckworth, who managed to get both hands on the ball before being crushed by Devin Smith. The senior quarterback immediately got up after breaking up the pass and stood over Duckworth talking smack.
One play later, the defense converged in the middle to keep Ball just short of the end zone as time ran out on the two minute clock. They left the field celebrating and chest bumping.
Bradie Ewing and Kevin Claxton both sat out Saturday, though both supposedly with minor injuries to shoulder and ribs, respectively. … Curt Phillips did not suit up at all for the first time this spring, though that may have been because most of the practice was spent doing live work with few non-contact drills. … Jacob Pedersen got rolled up on the back of his legs and was taken off the field to have his right ankle taped up and iced. He did not return, but was able to walk around on his own power.
After a season spent building a well-deserved reputation as an offense that didn't shoot itself in the foot, the Badgers were well out of sorts Saturday.
The No. 2 offensive line was hit with at least five holding penalties and at one point false started two plays in a row.
James White lost a fumble to start a drive — curiously enough it was Joel Stave's one series with the No. 1 offense — and took a lap to pay the price.
The little things that made such a big difference for the offense last season held them back on Saturday.