Spring practice report, March 30

The Badgers returned to the practice field Wednesday afternoon with a workout at the McClain Center

With tornado warnings in the news and a thunderstorm battering Madison, the Wisconsin football team practiced inside the McClain Center in its first action after spring break.

Quarterbacks

The depth remained unchanged, with John Stocco taking the bulk of reps with the first team and Tyler Donovan predominantly working with the second offense. Bryan Savage handled third team duties and worked in with the second unit.

Savage displayed his powerful throwing arm throughout practice. During a 7-on-7 session, Savage hooked up with wideout Luke Swan for several nice completions, including a blistering throw on a deep out. Savage also displayed a good rhythm on a slant pass to Jonathan Orr.

Donovan continues to show significant improvement from bowl workouts. He looked very good on the move Wednesday, throwing a dart while sprinting out to his right. He also scrambled for some nice gains during the scrimmage sessions.

Donovan made one of his best throws of this spring late in the scrimmage session, throwing a perfectly thrown post route to Swan for a long touchdown pass.

Stocco had an on-and-off practice, but he did deliver a nice pass in traffic to Jarvis Minton.

Running backs

Brian Calhoun repeatedly flashed his quality hands, both out of the backfield and while split out wide. Calhoun also lined up as a slot receiver.

On one pass reception, Calhoun found himself wide open on a short curl. After he caught the ball he darted into the open field for a big gain.

Calhoun and junior Booker Stanley continued to split time at tailback with the first unit. Calhoun again displayed his speed, getting around the edge for a long run.

Stanley has been a gritty competitor this spring. Throughout spring the Badgers have indulged in a 1-on-1 "Oklahoma" drill that pits an offensive player against a defensive player. The offensive player attempts to drive block the defensive player, who attempts to bull rush his offensive teammate. The drill typically ends up being a series of short-burst 1-on-1 quasi-wrestling matches, with the players trying to knock each other backwards and onto the turf. Stanley has stood out in the drill. He does not always get the better of his man, but the sheer tenacity with which he is delivering his hits has carried over to the practice field, where he has refused to go down without a fight.

Sophomore Chris Pressley again spent some time at tailback.

Fullback Matt Bernstein made a very good block to seal off LaMarr Watkins on an off-tackle run.

Wide receivers

Jarvis Minton stood out, with several highlight reel quality catches, including a circus style catch on the left sideline. Stocco hit Minton on a crisply run slant pattern during 7-on-7 drills, and the two hooked up for a completion on a route down the seam, a play on which Minton made a leaping, twisting catch over a pair of defenders.

Minton also showed good concentration on a short out route, when he held onto the ball despite falling to the turf as he extended for it.

Jonathan Orr made a diving catch on the right sideline as well during the 7-on-7 session. Fellow senior Brandon White also made several catches while working with the first team.

Paul Hubbard made a good play on a pass on a curl route.

Tight ends

Owen Daniels made some nice blocks against the first team defense, including a play in which he pulled from the wing and sealed the edge, helping the tailback cut in off tackle.

During the 1-on-1 "Oklahoma" hitting drills senior Jason Pociask and linebacker Mark Zalewski produced some of the best physical competition.

Former quarterback Sean Lewis excelled in the drill, taking his man to the ground on one occasion. The 6-foot-7 Lewis ran a nice corner route later in the practice for a completion from Savage.

Offensive Line

The depth remained unchanged. Andy Kemp and Marcus Coleman continue to serve as second-team guards behind starting left guard Matt Lawrence and starting right guard Jason Palermo, though Kemp spent some time with the first team when Lawrence slid over to left tackle for a few series

Coleman had a strong practice, putting forth a dominant effort in position drills.

Defensive Line

The first team line stayed the same, with ends Jamal Cooper and Joe Monty and tackles Nick Hayden and Justin Ostrowski making up the group.

Redshirt freshman Jason Chapman, who had previously worked primarily at tackle, spent most of the practice at end. Chapman also drew praise from defensive line coach John Palermo during individual drills.

Linebacker

Starting mike backer Andy Crooks showed his athleticism with a diving interception after a tip by safety Roderick Rogers.

Several players rotated on the second team defense, with redshirt freshman Joshua Neal and senior Elliot Goode each seeing time at mike, though Neal played the majority of the time.

Redshirt freshman Jammar Crane played at the will spot with the second-team defense, while Nick Sutton, Casey Hogan and Paul Joran each spent time at second-team sam.

First-team sam linebacker Mark Zalewski forced John Stocco to rush a throw harmlessly into the turf with a fierce blitz off the edge.

Defensive backs

The same four players (Levonne Rowan and Allen Langford at corner and Rogers and Johnny White at safety) continued to play with the first team.

Rowan made a nice one-handed pass break up on a ball intended for Orr.

Allen Langford also broke up a pass.

Redshirt freshmen Antonio Freeman and Jack Ikegwuonu played corner on the second unit for the majority of the day, but special teams standout Ben Strickland also saw time with the second unit.

Walk-on Nate Egholm, who had previously been listed at corner, worked out at safety alongside Jameson Davis.


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