Spring practice report, March 26

News and notes from the second formal workout of the spring season at the McClain Center

The University of Wisconsin football team practiced for more than two hours inside the McClain Center Sunday afternoon. The team again donned shorts, jerseys and helmets.

Offensive line

Eric Vanden Heuvel again took part in non-contact drill work, but sat out the contact portion of practice.

Vanden Heuvel lined up with the second team at left tackle when the Badgers were conducting non-contact work.

The first-team offensive line was left tackle Mike Van Someren, left guard Danny Kaye, center Marcus Coleman, right guard Andy Kemp and right tackle Kraig Urbik.

The second-team offensive line was left tackle Vanden Heuvel, left guard Jeff Stehle, center Luke Knauf, right guard Mark Gorman and right tackle Andrew Weininger. During the contact sessions Weininger replaced Vanden Heuvel at left tackle and Urbik double shifted at right tackle with the second team.

Running backs

Wisconsin continued to rotate its tailbacks liberally, though it appears that P.J. Hill and Jamil Walker are the primary tailbacks with the first offense.

Hill appears completely recovered from the broken leg he suffered in fall training camp last season. He has excellent vision, which allows him to find holes quickly and work his way fluidly into the secondary.

Jerry Butler showed off his exceptional speed on a run to the left. He burst into the open and forced a defensive back to take an extreme angle to head him off. The whistle blew as Butler was getting ready to try to juke his teammate.

The fullback depth goes as follows: junior Chris Pressley, sophomore Bill Rentmeester, junior walk-on Josh Balts and redshirt freshman walk-on Teddy Hanrahan.

Rentmeester had about a 15-yard reception-and-run.

Wide receivers and tight ends

Fairly consistent rotations have emerged early in spring practice at wide receiver and tight end. Along with tailback, these are the most wide open positions heading into 2006.

Juniors Jarvis Minton and Paul Hubbard have been the top pair so far at wide receiver. The second pair has been senior Jeff Holzbauer and junior Luke Swan.

Junior Marcus Randle El typically worked with redshirt freshman T.J. Theus as the third pair. Randle El made a really nice catch on a deep pass despite tight coverage by corner Allen Langford.

Several other receivers rotated in, including redshirt freshman Jarmal Ruffin and walk-ons Richard Kirtley, Matt Gifford, Shane Phillips and Derek Konkol.

Kirtley made standout plays at several points in practice Sunday. He runs solid routes and has a good combination of size, athletic ability and hands. He did a great job of adjusting to a pass over the middle during team work, pivoting and bending back to make the catch, then keeping his balance and turning up field.

Minton was very productive, with several receptions during the scrimmage session. He made a great catch along the sideline despite really tight coverage from cornerback Zach Hampton.

Minton even coerced what certainly would have been a pass interference penalty late in practice.

Hubbard made a great catch along the sideline, extending to haul in a pass from Dustin Sherer.

Early in 7-on-7 work, Hubbard blew past the secondary and scored on a long reception.

Later in practice, Hubbard did an impressive job of getting his hands up to haul in a high pass. Throughout practice, Hubbard did a good job of gaining separation from whichever defensive back was trying to cover him. His athleticism and strength make him a difficult matchup.

During team work, Swan collected a deep pass reception.

The top three tight ends are Sean Lewis, Travis Beckum and Andy Crooks. Several other players, though, are in the mix. The next group appears to include redshirt freshmen Jae McFadden and Garrett Graham and sophomore Dave Peck. Walk-ons Nathan Quist, Matt Brown and Joe Molenda also worked in.

Quarterbacks

Senior John Stocco has been fairly sharp, but it is clear that he is in the early stages of developing chemistry with his new corps of receivers and tight ends. Stocco, though, appears to have developed a rapport with Minton. That tandem hooked up for several impressive pass-and-catches.

Defensive line

The first-team defensive line again included ends Kurt Ware and Joe Monty and tackles Jason Chapman and Nick Hayden.

Second-team end Brandon Kelly received significant reps with the first team during the full-team work. With Kelly moving up a team, walk-on end Adam Purcell replaced Kelly at right end with the second unit.

With Purcell moving up, redshirt freshman Terrance Jamison double shifted with the second and third units.

Linebackers

The first-team linebackers continued to be sam DeAndre Levy, mike Mark Zalewski and will Jonathan Casillas. Second-team mike Elijah Hodge, however, rotated in with the first team during scrimmage work.

As a result, third-team mike Josh Neal received significant repetitions with the second unit.

Sophomore Jammar Crane rotated in behind sophomore walk-on Ben Landgraf at the second-team will spot.

Redshirt freshman second-team sam ‘backer O'Brien Schofield displayed impressive mobility in pass coverage. Schofield is one of the team's biggest linebackers.

Secondary

Strong safety Aubrey Pleasant continued to watch practice in street clothes.

Second-team strong safety Johnny White intercepted a pass intended for Jeff Holzbauer.

First-team strong safety Joe Stellmacher had a pass breakup.

Second-team corner Zach Hampton battled to break up a pass intended for Jarvis Minton, batting the ball into the air, where free safety Shane Carter plucked it for an interception.

First-team cornerback Allen Langford had a pass breakup.

The third-team safeties again were James Kamoku and walk-on William Hartmann.

Special teams

Reserve kicker/punter Adam Schober has taken part in the first two practices on a limited basis. He has not been in uniform.

Walk-on Andrew Woodward is backing up Steve Johnson at long snapper.


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