Fall camp report: Aug. 14

On the first day in full pads, Badgers conduct hour-long scrimmage

The University of Wisconsin football team had its first opportunity to conduct practice in full pads Sunday morning at Camp Randall Stadium. So the Badgers spent the final hour of practice in a live tackling full scrimmage, complete with referees.

The Badgers first-team offense went against the first-team defense for eight possessions, or about half the scrimmage set.

As tends to be the case with scrimmages early in the season, the defense was significantly ahead of the offense Sunday. However, they could not bottle up tailback Brian Calhoun.

Calhoun ran six times for more than 60 yards, capped by a 46-yard burst down the sideline that gave the offense its initial first down on the eighth offensive possession. On the play, Calhoun made a terrific juke to freeze a defensive back a few yards past the line of scrimmage, he then darted into the clear before being knocked out of pounds at the 14-yard line.

Four plays later, the offense had first and goal at the 3 but defensive tackle Jason Chapman broke into the backfield and took down Jamil Walker for a loss of five. Two plays, later, however, Walker used a nice block from Matt Bernstein to waltz into the end zone from two yards out. Bernstein also had a great block on the previous play to spring Walker for six yards.

That was one of only two times the offense found the end zone in 17 possessions. The other was on the second-to-last attempt, when true freshman quarterback Dustin Sherer found redshirt freshman tight end Dave Peck in the corner of the end zone for the scrimmage's only touchdown pass.

Calhoun also had carries of 4, 5 and 6 yards, providing the Badgers with their best offense for the first half of the scrimmage session.

Wisconsin attempted three field goals in the course of the scrimmage. Taylor Mehlhaff made one from 37 yards out, but had a 42-yard attempt clang off the cross bar. Adam Schober made his only attempt, from 42 yards away.

Notable:

  • The first-team offense came up empty on its first four series, with no first downs and one turnover. On the first offense's fourth series and the seventh series overall, Allen Langford's tight coverage on Jonathan Orr forced a third-down incompletion. Langford, who had been having an up-and-down camp, played well in the scrimmage — he also broke up a third-down pass on the second series.
  • First-team strong safety Johnny White continues to have a very good camp. He played well Sunday and thwarted one possession with an interception.
  • True freshman tailback Jerry Butler received considerable work and rotated in with the second and first offenses. His best run went for 12 yards. Butler showed off his elite speed Sunday, but he could not quite out-run corner Levonne Rowan as he tried to turn the corner on a third-and-one play. Rowan stopped him for a loss of one.
  • Second-team defensive end Kurt Ware also had a strong day. On the second offense's first series he hit quarterback Tyler Donovan as he tried to deliver a third-down pass, forcing the ball to go off target. Corner Antonio Freeman made a break on the ball but could not quite get his hands under it for the interception. Freeman did get an interception later in practice.
  • Ware also held up well versus the run.
  • Tailback Jamil Walker and fullback Bill Rentmeester rolled in with the first team behind Calhoun and Bernstein.
  • Second-team sam linebacker Casey Hogan had a sack and a quarterback hit to his credit, both against Tyler Donovan.
  • Defensive end Jamal Cooper had a ‘sack' on quarterback John Stocco. The scrimmage was not full contact on Stocco.
  • The defensive line generally won the battles with the offensive line Sunday, but on the first team's eighth possession Stocco had good protection and he used it to deliver a well throw pass to Owen Daniels on the sideline for a gain of 19 yards.
  • Chris Pressley made a few absolutely crushing blocks, including one where he ran over a linebacker during the primarily freshman-versus-freshman portion of practice.
  • Bill Rentmeester saved a turnover by pouncing on a fumble on a second-and-goal play.
  • True freshman defensive end Matt Shaughnessy has looked good in drills early in camp and he showed serious pass rushing potential Sunday. Shaughnessy did not quite get a sack, but he flushed quarterbacks out of the pocket at least twice.
  • Third-team quarterback Bryan Savage had a tough morning, fumbling once and throwing one interception. He did, however, complete a pair of short passes to Marcus Randle El while scrambling, one of which went for a first down. Randle El also caught a 16-yard pass from Tyler Donovan. Randle El is having a strong spring, boosting UW's depth at receiver.
  • During the freshman-dominated portion of scrimmage, Dion Foster broke free for a 28-yard run.
  • During his second and final series, Sherer completed 2 of 3 passes, connecting with true freshman walk-ons Shane Phillips and Joe Molenda.

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