While the Badgers starters and seniors were dismissed early from Friday's practice, the younger players remained to go through conditioning and developmental work.
One of those players was 6-0, 178-pound A.J. Jordan, but the former four-star wide receiver wasn't running routes. He was defending them.
Wisconsin has had a successful history of flipping players to new positions and seeing those players thrive, and Jordan is a candidate for a switch as he is currently working at both cornerback and safety.
"He's excited," said Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen following practice. "(Defensive backs) coach (Bill) Busch was the one who came to me and said A.J. might be able to help us on the other side. We talked about it in a staff meeting briefly. You don't ever want to give a kid up when you think he's a pretty good player on the other side."
Jordan caught 91 passes for 1,521 yards and 18 touchdowns during his high school career at Dayton (OH) Trotwood Madison, earning first-team all-conference as a senior and junior. After redshirting in 2011, Jordan has played in 19 games over the past two seasons, mostly on special teams and some wide receiver late in one-sided games.
Andersen noted Jordan's tackling ability – making five stops on 12 special-teams games this season – was one of the reasons UW is taking a closer look at Jordan.
"It's not just as experiment," said Andersen. "It's a good opportunity for A.J. to get in there because he's shown he can tackle, he's shown he's physical and that young man has a huge care factor and loves the game of football. That's a good place to start."
Andersen said Wisconsin won't do any live tackling as the Badgers prepare to play No.8 South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl, calling them condensed versions of their spring practices. UW expects to do its heaviest practice on Dec.26, slated to be the day after UW arrives in Orlando, FL.
"A lot of them are flashing in positive ways, which is good to see," said Andersen of the younger players. "I think the overall development from where they were in August to where they are now, I'm impressed. They're bigger, they're stronger (and) they carry themselves with a little bit more confidence .That's good to see."
In the days that followed Wisconsin's 20-7 win at Minnesota, extending the Badgers winning streak to six, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda mentioned previously that he saw some things that were off during the unit's preparation for senior day.
Aranda wishes he would have done something in retrospect, as the Badgers gave up 339 passing yards, 465 total yards and four plays over 50 yards in a 31-24 loss to Penn State.
Andersen mentioned that he didn't see anything out of the norm, but said Aranda's reaction wasn't a surprise to him.
"Sometimes that's a feeling and you play very well," said Andersen. "It goes the other way too. Dave feels responsible any time the defense doesn't play well. He's always going to look back and try to dissect, as well as (offensive coordinator) Andy (Ludwig) does and Jeff (Genyk) does on special teams. Our position coaches are like that, too.
"You can kick yourself and say coulda, woulda, shoulda, but in the end we have to learn from it and move on. They will prepare. Kids take a lot of pride in the direction they are headed."
Big Recruiting Weekend
It's the biggest recruiting weekend of the year for the football program in terms of sheer volume, as Wisconsin is expected to host 11 official visitors this weekend. There doesn't expect to be much drama though considering all the official visitors are committed players to the program, including all eight in-state players.
Although these players have been committed for months, in some cases over a year, Andersen said it's important for the coaching staff to continue to recruit them like they are uncommitted.
"We stay right in the middle of it," he said. "If a young man says he's committed to us, it doesn't really change the process for us. Recruiting at this level can get a little bit old for some of those parents who have maybe been here 10 times now. You can only see the weight room so many times, but we go out there and continue to recruit, get into their homes. The nice thing about this time of year is you can go from the recruiting standpoint to get to know each other a little bit. Those are enjoyable home visits."