Fall camp report: Aug. 18

News and notes from a spirited afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium

The University of Wisconsin football team's fall camp has been in session for more than a week now and the Badgers' afternoon session Thursday was its most intense so far.

UW's competitive sessions and scrimmages featured several big hits, but none was more ferocious than the blow true freshman Shane Carter delivered to tailback Booker Stanley during a full tackle red zone drill towards the end of practice.

With the second-team offense facing a second-and-goal from the 5, Stanley took the ball running left and tried to side step into the hole. Carter, though, crashed down from his cornerback spot and decleated Stanley with a pop that reverberated through Camp Randall Stadium and emitted a wild celebration from the defense, with first-team players spilling onto the field to celebrate with their second-line teammates.

On the proceeding play, a third-and-goal from the 4, Stanley ran into a swarm and the ball squirted out, with free safety Zach Hampton coming up with it.

The series was an exclamation point on a raucous practice on an afternoon when the defense again flexed its muscles.

The red zone session actually began auspiciously for the offense, with quarterback John Stocco floating a nice pass to tight end Jason Pociask in the corner of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown on third-and-goal.

The defense, though, would hold the offense out of the end zone on the next three possessions, all of which began at the 20.

  • With the second defense squaring off against the second offense, Elijah Hodge stuffed a second-and-four running play for no gain at the 14, and nearly intercepted a third-and-four pass.
  • What really got the defense fired up, though, was the first unit's goal line stand on the next series. A 20-yard pass from John Stocco to Jonathan Orr gave the first offense a first-and-goal at the 2, but the defense held firm. First, defensive end Kurt Ware, mike linebacker Josh Neal and tackle Nick Hayden converged to stop Jamil Walker for a loss of one, with Neal delivering the big hit. Then, sam linebacker Mark Zalewski wrapped up Walker well behind the line, with strong safety Johnny White giving support, forcing a third-and-goal from the 9. The series concluded with Kurt Ware batting down Stocco's pass at the line.
  • Dustin Sherer then entered at quarterback with a blended second/third team offense, but Carter batted away his third-down pass. Given a second set of downs at the 10, the offense lost more than 10 yards, capped by Brandon Kelly's sack on third-and-goal from the 17.
  • A bright spot for the offense, though, was that kicker Taylor Mehlhaff made field goal attempts from 32 and 37 yards out look relatively easy.

More notes from Thursday afternoon's practice:

  • The liveliness of the Badgers' workout seethed into three fights.
  • Brandon Kelly has been receiving increasingly regular reps with the second team at defensive end. Kurt Ware worked in at end with the first-team defense and took his regular share of reps with the second team. Matt Shaughnessy also played end with the second team.
  • LaMarr Watkins appears to have found a new home at sam linebacker. Watkins has been the primary sam with the second-team defense after playing will at the beginning of camp. Watkins was a strong-side drop linebacker under former defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove, but was switched to the weakside will position with the arrival of Bret Bielema last season.
  • Watkins combined with Gino Cruse for a tackle for loss during 9-on-9 work. Watkins, Ware and Shaughnessy combined for a practice "sack" during 11-on-11 work.
  • Cruse had his most productive practice of the fall. He pressured Tyler Donovan into scrambling on one play and generally did a good job getting a push from his defensive tackle position.
  • Brandon White caught what would have been an 81-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Donovan if the 11-on-11 segment had been completely live.
  • Ikegwuonu had an interception and one pass breakup Thursday.
  • During 9-on-9 work, Hodge had a "tackle" for loss on Stanley (the practice was ‘wrap-up only' aside from the red zone session).
  • DeAndre Levy took reps with the second-team defense at will linebacker, while Hodge spent time with the second team at mike.
  • Johnny White broke up a pass.
  • Allen Langford broke up two passes.
  • At the end of the 7-on-7 drill, Dustin Sherer completed all four of his pass attempts, delivering throws on target to Luke Swan, Paul Hubbard, Brandon White and White again.
  • O'Brien Schofield batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
  • Zach Hampton intercepted a pass.
  • Dontez Sanders had a practice sack when he chased down Tyler Donovan.
  • Defensive tackle Nick Hayden made one of the more impressive plays Thursday, using a very good swim move to surge into the backfield for a sack.
  • Shane Carter made a very nice play to break on a pass intended for Jonathan Orr, but the interception slipped out of his hands.
  • John Stocco made a particularly strong throw to connect with Brandon White on the sideline.
  • Jason Pociask is an unsung, but key component to the Badgers' depth. He is UW's best blocker at tight end and has developed into a very capable receiver.

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