Spring practice report, April 6

News and notes from Wisconsin's practice at Camp Randall Stadium Wednesday afternoon


John Stocco took the vast majority of the reps with the first-team offense. Tyler Donovan received roughly equivalent work overall, though almost all of his time was spent with the second team. He did receive significant reps with the first team as well. Bryan Savage took a few series with the second offense.

Stocco looked sharp Wednesday. He threw a strong out route to Brandon White and made a nice deep pass to Jonathan Orr during 7-on-7 work. He also threw a touchdown pass to Paul Hubbard during an 11-on-11 scrimmage session.

Donovan made an impressive throw with Jammar Crane right in his face, delivering a pass down the seam to Jeff Holzbauer for a long completion into double coverage during scrimmage work.

Savage threw a long touchdown pass to Luke Swan during 7-on-7 drills.

Running backs

Booker Stanley and Brian Calhoun continued to split time with the first-team offense. Each tailback has had a consistent, productive spring. Stanley continues to run strong and with a better bounce in his step. He also made some nice pass receptions Wednesday.

In addition, Stanley made a very good block against end Jamal Cooper. As UW's line shifted to pick up a blitz, Cooper was allowed to come free. Stanley recognized the play and stepped up to stone Cooper.

Bill Rentmeester had a very good day running the ball. For a big fullback, Rentmeester has good speed, vision and hands out of the backfield. The long-term health of the position looks fine with Rentmeester poised to take over for Matt Bernstein in 2006.

Wide receivers/tight ends

Jeff Holzbauer caught a long touchdown pass during 7-on-7 drills.

Jarvis Minton got loose deep a few times and made a very nice play on a long pass from Stocco.

Sean Lewis, making the conversion from quarterback to tight end, has lined up primarily as an in-line tight end and has held up reasonably well as a blocker. He may enter the season as UW's No. 4 tight end.

Jason Pociask made an excellent block to seal the corner on one running play and also had a good catch along the sideline.

Brandon Williams returned to practice after missing Sunday's workout.

Offensive line

The offensive line underwent some juggling Wednesday. Kraig Urbik returned to practice after missing time with an injury since before spring break. He rotated with Danny Kaye at right tackle on the first and second team. While Urbik was out of action, Kaye had taken nearly every rep at right tackle.

Marcus Coleman and Andrew Weininger exchanged positions with the second-team. Coleman moved to left tackle, backing up Joe Thomas, while Weininger moved to right guard, backing up Jason Palermo.

Defensive line

Jason Chapman remained at left defensive end and played with the first-team defense Wednesday. He gives the Badgers a player who has the potential to be productive against both the run and the pass. He held up well at the point of attack against the run Wednesday and displayed a decent burst off the line when pass rushing.

Kurt Ware, who had to this point in spring played exclusively at left defensive end, moved to defensive tackle Wednesday and played with the second team. At 274 pounds, Ware is probably just big enough to play tackle. But his quickness off the line of scrimmage proved disruptive Wednesday. He had one sack and played in the backfield on several occasions.

Mark Gorman and Gino Cruse rotated at the other second-team tackle spot.

Six defensive linemen have separated themselves this spring: ends Jamal Cooper and Joe Monty, tackles Justin Ostrowski and Nick Hayden and Chapman and Ware, who have shown the potential to play either position effectively.

End Brandon Kelly had a sack while playing for the second-team defense.

End Mike Newkirk spent a series with the first-team defense.

Chapman and Hayden each had a quarterback hurry.


Paul Joran rotated in with Andy Crooks at first-team mike linebacker. LaMarr Watkins served as the first-team will linebacker, while Mark Zalewski remained at sam.

Joran, Crooks and Josh Neal all saw playing time on the second team at mike. Casey Hogan played sam with the second team and Jammar Crane filled in at will.

Hogan also received some work at sam with the first team, when Zalewski took a turn at mike. Hogan had an interception during 7-on-7 work off a tipped pass.

Zalewski and Hogan each registered a quarterback hurry during scrimmaging. Hogan also had a "practice sack". He would have wrapped up Savage but he stopped short to avoid making a hit (as the scrimmage rules stipulated) and watched from a few feet away as Savage delivered a deep pass to Jarvis Minton.

Defensive backs

UW's secondary had a rough go of things early in practice, struggling to finish plays and cover the Badgers' receivers. Things picked up, though, as the practice progressed.

Allen Langford was lauded on several occasions for his tight coverage. He broke up a pair of passes, including one on a well-timed hit on tight end Owen Daniels along the sideline. Langford also made a surprisingly emphatic hit on Matt Bernstein. The big fullback had just caught a pass, and was not square to Langford, but was also far from defenseless. Langford caught him flush and dropped him in his tracks.

Second-team free safety Zach Hampton also made some nice plays late in practice, including an interception and pass breakup in close succession.

Jack Ikegwuonu received work with the first-team defense Wednesday, taking part in a three-cornerback set with Langford and Levonne Rowan.

Ben Strickland split reps with Antonio Freeman at cornerback on the second team opposite Ikegwuonu.

Special teams

In punt return drills, Brian Calhoun was the first punt returner up, followed by Jarvis Minton and Marcus Randle El.

Ken DeBauche was one of the stars of the day, with some booming punts.

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