Spring practice report, March 28

News and notes from day eight of spring football

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Wisconsin worked out for about 90 minutes in the rain at Camp Randall Stadium Sunday afternoon.


  • The competition for the tackle spots appears to be evaporating quickly. Joe Thomas remained entrenched at first-team left tackle Sunday. Mike Lorenz took some snaps at first-team right tackle but the vast majority of those reps again went to Morgan Davis. Lorenz continued to work out as an extra tackle/tight end in the jumbo set.


  • Redshirt freshman Marcus Coleman has been a jack-of-all trades this spring. He played two series with the first offense at jumbo tight end Sunday and has received reps with the second offense at right guard, left guard and right tackle.


  • In the base offense, Owen Daniels has split time between the inline tight end position and the U-tight end, or H-back. In the short-yardage offense, though, Daniels has replaced Brandon White as the blocking-oriented split end. Due to injuries, White is currently the No. 2 receiver and has had one of the best springs of anyone on the team.


  • Reggie Cribbs took a significant chunk or reps with the first defense at mike linebacker, though Brandon Kelly continued to receive slightly more.


  • Walk-on Adam Purcell supplanted John Gillen as the second-team sam linebacker Sunday. Outside linebackers coach Brian Murphy said after practice that Gillen may be moved to mike linebacker during the spring.


  • Cribbs and second-team will linebacker Dontez Sanders have been a lively tandem since spring began. This is a huge spring for both players and they are obviously enjoying the opportunity to compete for playing time. They both still make some mistakes in recognition, but they are playing with a lot of energy and aggression and have made quite a few plays this spring. The two combined to take down Greg Root in the backfield on one short-yardage play Sunday.


  • Ben Strickland made the most of his reps with the second defense Sunday. The walk-on cornerback broke up a pass, recovered a fumble and made a lunging interception. He also missed a tackle on a long touchdown reception by Jonathan Orr, though. Strickland is clearly the No. 5 cornerback. Scott Starks and Levonne Rowan remain the starters, with Bret Bell rotating in with Rowan. Chuckie Cowans has joined Strickland on the second team. Johnny Sylvain, Jameson Davis and Nate Egholm are working with the third unit, which receives sparing scrimmage reps.


  • Orr's long touchdown reception was something to behold. He caught a mid-range pass along the sideline and then took advantage of some sloppy tackling to turn up field. The impressive part came when he cut loose down the sidelines. A second-team defensive back had an angle on him, but Orr turned on the jets and beat him to the end zone by at least five yards.


  • Casey Hogan has solidified his position as the No. 3 free safety and could push for a role in the dime package in the fall. The Badgers have not practiced with a six defensive back set yet this spring. With Jim Leonhard sitting out scrimmages, Hogan is working with the second team and has played very well. In a goal line situational scrimmage Sunday, he intercepted a pass near the goal line and took it the distance (or would have had the whistle not blown after he had run about 60 yards down field).

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