Scrimmage Standouts

Wisconsin held its second scrimmage of fall camp Monday afternoon. In the final opportunity for the public to view the Badgers this fall before the August 31 season opener, a handful of players shined while others struggled, leaving some decisions to be made by the coaches.

Who Flashed

Outside Linebacker Leon Jacobs: Whenever Jacobs was out on the field he was making plays. Jacobs finished the scrimmage with two tackles for loss; two pass break ups and one sack. He also consistently supplied pressure on the quarterback and was able to track down Melvin Gordon on a long 80-yard run that was called back due to a holding. After the scrimmage head coach Gary Andersen said that Jacobs likely wouldn't redshirt this season due to his performance of late. Jacobs doesn't give up on plays and his athleticism will certainly help the Badgers defense and special teams this coming year.

Safety Michael Caputo: Like Jacobs, Caputo continued to make plays on the defensive side of the football, a reason why Andersen said Caputo has pulled slightly ahead of Leo Musso for the starting safety spot opposite of Dezmen Southward and will be a big part of this year's defense. On the second drive for the offense, Caputo came on a blitz and was able to sack Curt Phillips in a third-down situation. Caputo also had a pass deflection at the line scrimmage and was constantly moving at full speed. If Caputo keeps on making plays for the Badgers on defense, look for him to be the starter against Massachusetts on August 31.

Wide receiver Alex Erickson: Getting reps with both the first and second team offense, it's clear that Erickson will see the field this year and could make an impact immediately on the offensive end. Erickson was targeted often and finished the scrimmage with four catches for 52 yards and touchdown. Outside of Jared Abbrederis, Erickson was the best looking wide receiver in the scrimmage.

Tight end Brock DeCicco: DeCicco has continued to put together a solid fall camp. After being rarely used as a pass-catching tight end last year, DeCicco was able to haul in three passes during the scrimmage, including a 22-yard reception over the middle. The Badgers lined DeCicco up in the traditional tight end format and had him standing in the slot in certain packages. The Badgers can use DeCicco's size to create mismatches this season.

Quarterback Curt Phillips: Phillips struggled in the morning practice but looked much sharper during the scrimmage. He finished the scrimmage 6-for-11 for 100 yards and a touchdown. Phillips first pass was underthrown, intended for Reggie Love, but he was able to turn it around by finding DeCicco for a 22-yard gain on his next attempt. In the first scrimmage open to the public, Phillips kept to a short-to-intermediate passing game but today he did a better job of showing off his arm strength. Phillips threw a nice deep ball to Abbrederis for 43 yards and on the ensuing play hit Erickson for a 23-yard pass in the corner of the end zone.

Didn't Flash

Quarterback Tanner McEvoy: McEvoy's first drive of the scrimmage was very poor: getting sacked by Jacobs on second down saw Marcus Trotter whiff on a sure-fire interception thrown right at him. After Kenzel Doe caught Trotter's deflected pass, McEvoy rolled out to his left and simply dropped the football, (again, he was fortunate to recover and complete a pass to Austin Traylor to get back to the line of scrimmage). After his rough start, McEvoy was able to get it together and finish strong with a pair of touchdown throws to Derek Watt. Still, his 6-for-7 for 58 yards and two touchdowns stat line was deceiving, as McEvoy struggled enough to probably eliminate him from the quarterback race.

Outside linebacker Alec James: James didn't see a lot of action in the scrimmage and if the coaching staff was deciding which freshman linebacker was going to play between Jacobs and James, it looks like Jacobs will see time this year. James could still play this year but if the coaching staff can't see James playing a lot, then it may make sense to not have James burn a year and have him redshirt.

Kicker Kyle French: During kicking drills French went 1-for-3, missing wide right from 42 and 44 yards. French was able to connect on a 30-yard field goal, but sophomore Jack Russell went 3-for-3 on his field goals: hitting from 42, 44, and 3-yards. French is still in need to find consistency if he wants to hold off Russell for the starting job.

Wide receiver Rob Wheelwright: It looks like Wheelwright might be heading toward redshirting this season. Wheelwright was quiet again during the scrimmage as he worked with the second-team offense and was only targeted twice. He dropped one pass that he should have caught and hauled in a five-yard pass on a slant route. Redshirting would be beneficial to Wheelwright so he can become more consistent at the receiver spot and become more comfortable with the offense.

Offensive line: Once again the Badgers' offensive line was called for too many false start. Yes, the group was rotating offensive linemen throughout the scrimmage, but at the same time they know the snap count, meaning there's no reason for so many pre-snap penalties. The other thing the line needs to work on is picking up blitzes. The Badgers' defense brought pressure at times and when they did, the line wasn't able to consistently pick up the pressure. Once the line gets settled, the false starts and picking up the blitzes should improve.

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