Spring Practice Report: April 12

Moving outside to Camp Randall on Thursday, Wisconsin went through its sixth spring practice in preparation for Saturday's full-padded scrimmage.

MADISON - With the Badgers preparing for their first full padded, refereed scrimmage on Saturday, Thursday's sixth practice for the University of Wisconsin was focused more on the finer details. Outside on the Camp Randall turf, the majority of practice was spent in position groups with some work done in red zone 7-on-7 drills and some team drills.

First-Team Defense

DL – Pat Muldoon, Ethan Hemer, Beau Allen, Brendan Kelly. LBs – Derek Landisch, Marcus Trotter, Conor O'Neill. DBs – Marcus Cromartie, Shelton Johnson, Dezmen Southward, Peniel Jean.

Second-Team Defense

DL – Konrad Zagzebski, Bryce Gilbert, Warren Herring, Jesse Hayes. LBs – A.J. Fenton, Derek Watt, Jake Keefer. DBs – Darius Hillary, Michael Trotter, Michael Caputo, Terrance Floyd.

First-Team Offensive Line

Ricky Wagner (LT), Ryan Groy (LG), Travis Frederick (C), Robby Burge (RG), Casey Dehn (RT)

Second-Team Offensive Line

Jonathan Coon (LT), Dan Voltz or Ray Ball or Joe McNamara (LG), Groy or Voltz (C), Kyle Costigan (RG), Tyler Marz (RT)


The quarterback play was better than Tuesday, but still left some to be desired heading into the weekend.

After struggling mightily on Tuesday, Joe Brennan was better with his throws and reads. He went 3-for-5 in 7-on-7 drills, but threw an interception right to Marcus Trotter. During red zone drills, Brennan was 2-for-5 with a touchdown pass to Sam Arneson, but Brennan was also the victim of a drop by Jordan Fredrick and one by Fred Willis.

During 7-on-7 drills, Curt Phillips was a perfect 6-for-6, but didn't really air it out downfield. Four of his passes were checkdown routes or passes into the flat, but Phillips did complete two inside slant routes to Arneson that he needled through traffic. During red zone drills, Phillips was just 2-for-6 with no touchdowns. Two passes were broken up by the defense – one by Dezmen Southward in the back of the end zone and a great play by Peniel Jean at the goal line – and two were poorly thrown.

Joel Stave went 4-for-5 in 7-on-7 drills but like his fellow competitors, he didn't air out the passing game. Stave did not perform well in the red zone, going 0-for-4 that included taking a coverage sack, an incompletion on a wide receiver curl and an overthrown along the sideline.

Almost Injury Free

True freshman Hugs Etienne was the only UW player that appeared to suffer an injury, as he got banged up during drills with the receivers. Etienne was down for several minutes, but was able to walk off under his own power.

Defensive end Tyler Dippel (plantar fasciitis) was off of the crutches on Thursday, but was still in a walking boot. No update was available.

Final Thoughts

I was disappointed that Kenzel Doe continues to struggle catching the ball. After putting the ball on the turf at least three times Tuesday, Doe caught a beautifully thrown pass by Stave that was placed just over O'Neill's head. Doe split the defense but appeared to cough up the football without any contact. With other receivers taking steps forward, Doe has been taking steps back.

I was disappointed that the Badgers are still beating themselves before the snap. Wisconsin had a number of minor issues that cost them yards, including a false start by Burge on a third-and-four hard count. Burge was pulled and forced to run a lap. Credit to Stave, who completed an inside slant to Doe that moved the chains, but UW shouldn't put themselves in that position.

I was impressed that Melvin Gordon looks like his old self. After looking tentative at points last year and missing plenty of time last season with a groin issue, Gordon has a great mix of speed and confidence, which he showed on more than one occasion. If UW is going to run a two-back set to get James White on the field, they definitely will have to do something to get Gordon out there.

Wisconsin returns for practice seven Saturday morning.

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