Wednesday's Practice Report

Going through its first practice in full pads, the hitting picked up for the University of Wisconsin, but so did the injuries, as three more potential starters were sidelined with various ailments.

MADISON – After going through four practices in either helmet and shoulder pads or helmets only, Wisconsin was in full pads for the first time this fall. The hitting picked up, but Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema preached all day for everyone to stay on their feet.

So when Montee Ball threw a shoulder into Antonio Fenelus on a power run around the right side, causing the two to get into each other's facemasks, Bielema called the entire team together, chewed them out and put them back to work.

The practice was fairly clean and drama free from that point on, except under center. For whatever the reason, Jon Budmayr did not get any reps during 7-on-7 skelly drills or team drills, as the second team was quarterbacked by redshirt freshman Joe Brennen, who closed camp as the backup.

Budmayr did not practice well Tuesday, throwing a number of overthrows and interceptions, but he didn't appear to have any physical setbacks. Bielema's next availability will be after tomorrow's second practice, so no update was available.

Two-Deep Offense

QB: Russell Wilson, Joe Brennan

RB: Montee Ball or James White, Jeff Lewis or Melvin Gordon

FB: Bradie Ewing

H-back: Jacob Pedersen, Jake Byrne

RT: Josh Oglesby, Rob Havenstein

RG: Kevin Zeitler, Robby Burge

C: Peter Konz, Ryan Groy

LG: Travis Frederick, Zac Matthias

LT: Ricky Wagner, Casey Dehn,

WR: Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Duckworth, Isaiah Williams

WR: Nick Toon, Kenzel Doe, Connor Cummins

Two-Deep Defense

DT: Jordan Kohout, Ethan Hemer, Eriks Briedis

DT: Patrick Butrym, Beau Allen

DE: Louis Nzegwu, Pat Muldoon

DE: Pat Muldoon, Tyler Dippel

MLB: Josh Harrison, Cody Byers

SLB: Kevin Claxton, Ethan Armstrong

WLB: Mike Taylor, Conor O'Neill

CB: Antonio Fenelus, Andrew Lukasko

CB: Marcus Cromartie, Peniel Jean

SS: Dezmen Southward or Shelton Johnson

FS: Aaron Henry, Michael Trotter

From the Infirmary

Dallas Lewallen (knee), Marcus Trotter (hamstring), Michael Trotter (hamstring), A.J. Fenton (hamstring), Nick Hill (unknown) and Brendan Kelly (foot) did not practice. Senior cornerback Devin Smith was banged up and heading to the training room early. He did return to the field near the end of practice, but did not participate.

In an already fleeting wide receiver unit, the Badgers can ill-afford to lose Nick Toon, which they did for the last half of practice when Toon injured his left foot during team drills. Toon left for the training room with his foot ice and wrapped. He returned later for interviews with no ice, so it's doubtful it is serious.

Southward returned after he rolled his ankle and apparently had a lot of pent up energy, as he got into an aggressive shoving match with Ewing. Chris Borland returned to practice, but only participated in 7-on-7 skelly drills. Josh Harrison took his spot in team drills with the first-team defense. David Gilbert (knee tendinitis) practiced, but was limited.

Skelly Drills

Wilson's throws Wednesday were generally on time, on target and with good velocity. He didn't go deep very often, choosing more to hit receivers in short yardage situations, but hit Abbrederis over the middle between three secondary players and played well in third down situations, generally getting his completions past the first down marker. Unofficially, Wilson was 19 of 24 throwing. His incompletions were overthrows to Abbrederis in the end zone, Doe over the middle and in the flat, Cummins along the far sidelines and a drop by Williams in the end zone.

Brennan threw the ball well and generally on target, although he missed a couple throws in the flat and was intercepted once by Terrance Floyd. He also was intercepted by Jerry Ponio on a pass that was deflected when he tried to force a pass in between two defenders in team drills. Down the road, Brennan could be a pretty good quarterback in the program, which makes his future position battle with Bart Houston all that more entertaining.

Team Drills

Wilson's first pass was a beauty, seeing miscommunication in the secondary that left Byrne wide open. A flick of the wrist and 35 yards later, Byrne had the ball placed perfectly into his hands and could have jogged into the end zone.

While his throws have been spot on, he showed his fakes are pretty good, too. Hands down the play of the practice, Wilson and the entire offensive line sold a toss left. Wilson sold it perfectly and ran a naked bootleg to the right, where UW's defense blew backside contain. With Abbrederis out in front and successfully sealing the safety, Wilson's speed took him over 40 yards into the end zone.

Wisconsin's offensive line had a solid day, although offensive line coach Bob Bostad probably won't be satisfied for whatever reason. Still, the new left side of the line with Wagner and Frederick had a great seal on a James White sweep to allow the sophomore running back plenty of room to run.

Fresh Impressions

For the second straight day, Harrison came up big when given the opportunity by registering an interception when Brennan's high pass for Cummins went off his hands and allowed Harrison to make the easy pick. As Bielema said yesterday, Harrison is an athletic player and moves a lot better sideline to sideline than he did in the spring. Consider that a product of his weight loss. He's dropped roughly 10 pounds over the last year and looks leaner. His burst allowed him to find a gap during a red zone drill and go untouched to sack Wilson.

On the flip side, Isaiah Williams failed to take advantage of what is a growing need for playmakers at wide receiver. With Manasseh Garner out between two to four weeks and Chase Hammond missing up to six weeks, Wisconsin needs some players to step up. Williams is a big body and a big threat, but he missed a number of big opportunities because of drops.

With Gilbert limited and trainers still trying to create a shoe that will give Kelly more support, Wednesday dealt a couple good performances from Pat Muldoon and Warren Herring. It's been well known that Muldoon has struggled with injuries his first two years but it's clearly evident that those problems are behind him for the time being. Muldoon worked with the first-team defense and showed a good burst off the line of scrimmage, showing that his knee is fully recovered.

Bielema praised Herring yesterday for being a good soldier and a guy that has really developed. Consider that because he enrolled in January 2010 for spring practices. Last season's defensive scout team player of the year, Herring has been playing extremely physical when he goes against Rob Havenstein, who has 85 pounds on him. Herring has good footwork and keeps his feet under him. For instance, when Wilson started to sneak out of the pocket, Herring stayed with him. When Wilson tried to juke him to get more room to try and make play, Herring didn't bite and was rewarded with a sack.

With co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge demanding depth and a solid rotation on the line, both guys provide substance.

Speaking of the defensive line, expect big things this season out of Nzegwu. He might not put up the kind of numbers J.J. Watt did last season, but Nzegwu does bring the same kind of athleticism. Responsible on one play for the running back in the flat, Nzegwu ran toe-to-toe with James White roughly 40 yards down the sideline and played a big part in that pass attempt being incomplete.

Extra Points: Two-time U.S. Open champ Andy North and Athletic Director Barry Alvarez watched practice … Wisconsin worked on punt coverage for the first time this week, although none of the punters did live punting on the field … The Badgers have their first two-a-day practice tomorrow beginning at 9:15 a.m.

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