The Badgers finished practice Thursday with a spirited series of scrimmages, beginning with a red zone session that set up the offense with a first-and-goal at the 10. The first defense forced a fourth down in its first round against the first offense, but Matt Bernstein caught a deflected pass for a six-yard touchdown in the second round.
The Badgers simulated three plays regardless of results, and Chris Pressley, who rotated in with the first offense Thursday, also powered in for a one-yard touchdown.
The highlight of the second-offense-versus-second-defense portion was a blistering six-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Donovan to Brandon Tobias. Joe Stellmacher had excellent coverage on Tobias, but Donovan's pass was right on the money and Tobias made an impressive play on the ball, holding on despite Stellmacher's attempt to jar it loose.
Pressley got the offensive sideline going during the practice-ending scrimmage, a second-and-eight situation. He took his first carry for nine yards, then darted six yards around left end on his second carry.
Jamil Walker lost a yard on his first carry for the second offense after Stellmacher shot through the line for a tackle for loss. Walker finished the drill with a nine-yard jaunt right up the middle.
Pressley and Walker have received a lot of reps throughout camp and have looked good. Walker had his best practice Thursday, putting his quickness and speed on ready display whether running between the tackles or outside.
Sanders moving up?
Dontez Sanders took the majority of the reps with the first unit defense at will linebacker Thursday. LaMarr Watkins took the rest of the first-team reps and most of the second team. Sanders recovered a fumble, recorded a tackle for loss and broke up a pass Thursday.
Paul Joran worked with the first-team defense for a few series at sam linebacker.
Young receivers stand tall
Redshirt freshman Brandon Tobias continues to step up. His touchdown reception during the red zone drill was just one of his noteworthy plays. Tobias is really coming into his own.
True freshman Jarvis Minton has had a high-quality week of practice. He displayed body control and concentration on an over-the-shoulder catch against double coverage. He runs good routes and has put more athleticism on display each day. It is hard to believe he played in a run-first offense in high school, as good as his route running and hands are.
White turns it around
Brandon White struggled to open fall camp but has played well for much of this week. His route running never failed him and now he is completing plays and showing flashes of what made his spring so strong.
Tight end Joel Nellis had a very good practice Saturday. He found a crack in the defense for a long reception down the sideline that was only stopped by the whistle. In addition, Nellis looked good as a blocker, especially when he decleated a safety 20 yards down field to spring Anthony Davis for what would have been a touchdown.
Hawthorne takes charge
Anttaj Hawthorne almost always stands out at practice but Thursday was another level. Hawthorne made regular appearances in the offensive backfield. On a few series in particular he very nearly could not be blocked. On back-to-back plays during one scrimmage series he had a sack and a tackle for loss.
Brandon Kelly appears to have taken to his position change to defensive end. He has been a high energy player and could help the Badgers in short spurts this year. He worked out with the second and third defenses Thursday.
Sean Lewis delivered some of his best passes of the fall Thursday, including a dart to Marcus Randle El and a well thrown 20-yard pass over the middle to Dave Peck. He also picked up 10 yards on a keeper after selling a fake.
Tyler Donovan keeps making plays with his feet. Thursday he scrambled to his left, out-ran the pursuit and found only open turf in front of him. Only the whistle kept him from a huge gain.
Donovan also scrambled to make plays with his arm, including a nicely thrown pass to Luke Swan along the sideline.
Mike Newkirk made a nice play to stop a screen pass.
Scott Starks and Jim Leonhard each forced fumbles during scrimmage drills.
Fall camp report, Aug. 19
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