Spring Practice Report - March 7

One of four quarterbacks currently working within the offense, junior Tanner McEvoy feels his good grip on the playbook will make him a factor in the starting quarterback race.

MADISON - As soon as his position on the team changed from offense to defense, Tanner McEvoy reluctantly put the offensive playbook in a drawer and the notion of playing quarterback in the back of his mind.

When he returned to Madison for the start of winter conditioning, he dusted off the playbook and jumped right back into the mix, putting himself into prime position to be a factor during the 15 spring practices.

"From what's in (the playbook) now, I feel I have a really good grip on," said McEvoy following Friday's practice. "I am just trying to stay ahead of the curve and learn what's going to be in tomorrow or the next week."

McEvoy looked the part after two days of limited practice with his arm strength, accuracy and decision making. Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen told the media Wednesday that McEvoy looked more confident in day one than he had previously, a credit McEvoy gives for simply being around the school, the team and the city.

"I just feel more comfortable, and I think it shows," said McEvoy. "Fall camp taught me to be ahead of the curve, know the offense and know what you are getting yourself into it. You can't just go out there and wing it. This year I feel I am more prepared and I am excited to see how it turns out."

McEvoy still made a splash with the Badgers last season, transitioning to safety so the Badgers could utilize his 6-6 frame. Adding depth and versatility to the group, McEvoy finished with 27 tackles, a feat he accomplished in only 11 games and three starts. He also broke up a career-high three passes at Minnesota and registered his first career interception against BYU.

"There are little things that I'll take away that might help me out," said McEvoy. "Helps me with the demeanor of the safeties and where they might be looking. It's a little easier with the defense now because I have an idea of where they might be going."

McEvoy doesn't have a weekly goal as much as he has an overall goal of competing daily with a group of four other quarterbacks who all feel that have a chance to win the starting job.

"We just have to come out here, compete and make each other better," said McEvoy. "I feel the whole offense is going to be better, especially going into the second year (under Andy Ludwig). Any coordinator will say that. The offense is a lot more comfortable. I think everyone is excited.

"Last year we had a lot of great players and I know this year we have a lot of great players again. We have a lot of guys coming back and a lot of guys I know who are going to step up this season. I am looking forward to seeing who steps up."

Running Ramesh

Because it wasn't a live tackling drill, Corey Clement was able to get a few carries within the offense, showing that burst of speed to get down the sidelines in a hurry. When Clement rotated out, Austin Ramesh certainly flashed.

The redshirt freshman ran strong between the tackles, showing good placement with the ball, ran square with his shoulders and showed the ability to get to the second level of the defense quickly. He also showed the ability to make plays out of the backfield, catching screen passes and letting his blockers get to their assignments before turning up field.

With Clement and Gordon having their reps limited, Ramesh is in line to get a lot of work this spring at both tailback and fullback.

Backfield Rotation

Continuing to developing depth at cornerbacks, Wisconsin paired T.J. Reynard and Hugs Eteinne and Devin Gaulden and Terrance Floyd together doing rotations. Gaulden has been limited since coming to campus with knee problems, but has moved well in the first two practices.

At the safety position, Wisconsin put Austin Hudson and Keelon Brookins together as well as A.J. Jordan and Leo Musso. Peniel Jean continues to work at nickel cornerback.

Extra Points: Chikwe Obasih and Alec James were paired together on the second-team defense line, starting to develop the Brookfield connection … Josh Harrison worked as a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end, trying to carve out a niche for himself in his final year … Coaches from South Dakota and UW-Whitewater were on hand for practice.

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