Tyler Donovan has a long way to go before he solidifies himself as the No. 2 quarterback, but he took big steps in that direction the past two practices. Donovan had struggled with his accuracy and decision making in the first few practices. In Sunday afternoon's session at Camp Randall and the Monday morning session at the Bishop O'Connor Center, Donovan showed marked improvement.
Donovan made his best play of fall camp Monday morning. Moving to his left to avoid pressure, Donovan threw a pass about 40 yards downfield to the left sideline, where Brandon White caught it in the front corner of the end zone.
Donovan also put nice zip on a pass that hit Marcus Randle El in stride.
The redshirt freshman from Arrowhead High School still looks his best when scrambling. He picked up about 20 yards when flushed to his right on one full scrimmage scamper. Then, in the Badgers' practice-ending competition scrimmage (today's competition: third-and-two, offense needed to pick it up three of four times to win), Donovan sold a fake brilliantly and ran untouched about 25 yards downfield before the whistle blew. The only defensive player remotely in a position to make a play on Donovan at the time was cornerback Levonne Rowan, and receiver Jeff Holzbauer had him blocked.
Donovan still had some overthrows and other miscues but he has been on the right track of late.
Donovan's dash around left end could not save the offense from doing pushups and crunches to finish practice. Dontez Sanders ensured that when he stuck Jamil Walker in the hole to keep the second offense from upholding its end of the bargain. Justin Ostrowski's penetration helped create Sanders' opportunity.
Sanders, though, was roughed up a few times Monday morning by Chris Pressley. The freshman tailback decleated Sanders as he tried to deliver a blow during one scrimmage session. Later, Pressley made a cut in the hole and left Sanders grasping for air. Pressley also knocked down LaMarr Watkins while running the ball. Pressley really punishes tacklers when he lowers his shoulders and he is remarkably quick into and out of cuts. He has also been consistently impressive as a pass blocker. On one play Monday, he stopped a blitzing Mike Newkirk cold and maintained the block.
It was not all fun and games for Pressley. Sanders got the better of him on at least one play, when he came in to assist on a tackle and stripped the ball away. Sanders also recovered the fumble.
John Stocco's favorite target is fast becoming Owen Daniels. The junior tight end caught three passes from Stocco during scrimmage work this morning, including a marvelous play when Stocco delivered a crisp pass right where it needed to be—just out of reach of a linebacker trailing the play and just ahead of safety Johnny White, who was just a step or two behind Daniels. The tight end reached up just behind him, snagged the pass and held on despite a hit from White.
Daniels continues to impress with his exceptionally strong hands. He and Brandon Williams are the Badgers most reliable receiving options by a significant margin. Darrin Charles and Jonathan Orr are making the big play but still need more consistency.
Booker Stanley looked good Monday. He had a half dozen runs that were only stopped by the whistle.
Morgan Davis also had an impressive practice—at right guard. Barry Alvarez said he would like to try out one of his three starting-caliber tackles at guard and Davis looks like the one, at least Monday morning. It should be noted, however, that Davis also took reps at right tackle with the second team, played one series at left guard with the second team and played right tackle with the first team in jumbo formations, moving Mike Lorenz to tight end.
Danny Kaye took a significant number of reps with the second team at left tackle Monday morning. Jake Wood played left and right tackle with the second team. Wood is clearly the team's fourth tackle, with Kaye and Andrew Weininger, who played right tackle on the third team Monday, in competition to be a distant fifth.
Kurt Ware made three catches in either full scrimmage or 7-on-7 work.
Marcus Coleman pancaked Andy Crooks to spring Pressley for a touchdown run during 9-on-9, short-yardage scrimmaging.
Johnny White had Anthony Davis lined up in the hole, but Davis spun to the inside, absorbed a partial blow and darted upfield.
Allen Langford broke up a pass to Brandon White but otherwise had a rough day. Brandon Williams in particular gave him a lot of trouble, but Langford struggled in a number of situations against a number of receivers. It was the only unimpressive practice for the true freshman thus far.
Mike Newkirk and Andy Crooks are pretty well entrenched at second-team mike and sam linebacker currently. Paul Joran (mike) and John Gillen (sam) worked with the third team Monday. Joran took a few series with the second team.
It is impressive how inconspicuous Jack Ikegwuonu has been. The true freshman corner just does not make many mistakes. He also adopted a new jersey number Monday: 27.
Justin Ostrowski took down Daniels behind the line of scrimmage as the latter attempted to run a reverse.
Marcus Randle El was also taken down for a loss trying to run a reverse, with Dontez Sanders making the play.
LaMarr Watkins made a nice play to read a screen and hold Josh Balts to a short gain. On another screen, Watkins took down Pressley behind the line of scrimmage.
Johnny White got into the tackle for loss barrage with one on Brian Calhoun.
Fall camp report, Aug. 16, morning session
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