Fall camp report: Aug. 25

News and notes from the Badgers' Thursday afternoon practice

The University of Wisconsin practiced in full pads Thursday afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium, on the second-to-last day of fall camp.

  • As camp draws to a close it is becoming more and more clear that defensive end Matt Shaughnessy is the team's most impressive true freshman. Rarely has a practice gone by without Shaughnessy registering at least one "practice sack". He has been a fixture on the second-team defensive line and received considerable reps with the first team Thursday, rotating in along with Jamal Cooper, Joe Monty and Kurt Ware. That has been the Badgers' top quartet at defensive end since Justin Ostrowski's injury forced Jason Chapman to slide to tackle from end. Shaughnessy has been the Badgers' best and most consistent pass rusher throughout camp. He has an exceptional burst off the edge, and he does a good job holding the point, particularly for a 235-pound true freshman.
  • Shaughnessy batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage Thursday.
  • The Badgers continue to rotate several defensive backs through spots in the nickel, but it looks like Jack Ikegwuonu has an edge in this competition. He lined up as a corner and nickel back with the first-team defense Thursday.
  • Roderick Rogers continues to "cross train", serving as the first-team free safety and working in at corner in spots.
  • Sanders had a practice sack during 11-on-11 team work and an interception versus the scout team.
  • After ceding the bulk of the second-team mike reps to Elijah Hodge the past few practices, Josh Neal was the primary middle linebacker with the second team Thursday.
  • Levy and Neal combined for a ‘tackle' for loss, with Gino Cruse trailing the play, on a Booker Stanley run during 9-on-9 work. Stanley looked a bit tentative on the run. Stanley, though, preceded that carry with a strong run up the middle.
  • Dywon Rowan may be buried on the depth chart, but he certainly has practiced well this camp and did so also during spring practices. He may not be blessed with the best physical talent of any of UW's running backs, but Rowan is a tough inside runner who does a decent job of finding and hitting the hole. He also has shown decent hands out of the backfield and is giving the first and second team defense everything they could ask for out of a reserve. Rowan would be a capable fill-in in a pinch.
  • Day-in and day-out, Brian Calhoun has been extremely impressive. One play in particular stands out from Thursday's practice. Calhoun caught a short pass and kicked it into an extra gear, darting about 30 yards from the line of scrimmage before Zach Hampton drew near. Calhoun still may have broken free into the clear if the whistle had not blown then.
  • Calhoun also looked very good on a tough off-tackle run later in practice. Chris Pressley delivered a strong lead block on the play, and Calhoun stayed low and drove his way into the hole, picking up about five yards before the whistle blew.
  • It appears that John Stocco and Brandon Williams have really built up a good rapport on the football field. During 7-on-7 work, Stocco hit Williams with a good pass over the middle, then through a very nice ball that found Williams in stride deep over the middle. During the final 11-on-11 segment, Stocco completed at least three passes to Williams.
  • Stocco nearly completed a deep pass to Brandon White, but the ball was a little under thrown, allowing strong safety Joe Stellmacher to make a play on it. Stellmacher wrestled it out of White's hands to break up the pass.
  • Williams again was the Badgers' No. 1 punt returner but he did not work out with the kick returners during a live kick return session Thursday. Instead, Jarvis Minton and Marcus Randle El alternated as the kick returners. Randle El, Minton and Calhoun rotated in behind Williams at punt returner.
  • Zach Hampton remains the personal protector with the first-team kick return squad, but he had an opportunity to return a kickoff that went to his side of the field Thursday afternoon. Hampton made the most of the chance, using a nifty spin move to pick up about 10 extra yards on a nearly 30-yard return.
  • Hampton also spent some time at free safety with the first-team defense and had an interception Thursday.
  • Travis Beckum made a good athletic play to break up a John Stocco pass near the sideline.
  • Kurt Ware had a practice sack.
  • Nick Hayden knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
  • Ben Strickland had an interception during 7-on-7 work and a couple of pass breakups during 11-on-11 action.
  • Soon after Strickland's interception, Jack Ikegwuonu stepped in front of a pass on the sideline and could have had an interception, but could not quite reel it in. Ikegwuonu, though, picked off a pass during 11-on-11 work.
  • Jason Pociask is a very good blocker at tight end. On one play during 11-on-11 work Thursday, he drove Joe Monty out of the play to help create a running lane.
  • A play later, though, Monty burst through the line and pressured John Stocco, who threw the ball away with Monty probably in line for a ‘practice sack'.
  • Jerry Butler took advantage of some good blocking up front, found a seam and dashed into the open field during an 11-on-11 drill. He would have scored on a 75-yard touchdown run if not for the whistle.
  • Jonathan Casillas received some reps at strong safety during 7-on-7 work, his most extension action of fall camp as he comes back from an injury.
  • Johnny White broke up a Tyler Donovan pass intended for Jason Pociask.

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