Spring practice report, March 31

News and notes from the Badgers' fifth practice of the spring

The University of Wisconsin football team practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts at the McClain Center Friday.

Defensive line

Kurt Ware returned to practice for the first time since injuring his right knee five days ago, in UW's third practice of spring. He joined the second-team defense.

The first-team defense continued to be ends Joe Monty and Brandon Kelly and tackles Nick Hayden and Jason Chapman.

Kelly, who has shown solid improvement this spring, had a strong practice Friday.

During 9-on-9 work he made a nice play to get penetration and force tailback Jamil Walker to run wider than he had planned, which allowed safety Roderick Rogers to close and make the stop near the line of scrimmage.

Several plays later Kelly had a tackle for loss. Later in the drill he again did a good job stringing out a running play, forcing tailback Jerry Butler to take a wide berth and get hemmed in by the pursuit.

Kelly also would have had a sack if this had been a full-contact setting.

Ware was joined on the second team by tackles Justin Ostrowski and Mike Newkirk and end Terrance Jamison.

Ware and Jamison combined for a tackle for loss during 9-on-9 work.

Newkirk had a practice sack during an 11-on-11 segment.

Ostrowski, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, showed very good mobility when he chased a quarterback out of the pocket and batted down a pass.

Monty had a fumble recovery.

The Badgers unveiled their goal-line personnel Friday, with a first-team defensive line consisting of Ostrowski and Hayden at tackle and Chapman and Monty on the ends.

Chapman had a tackle for loss while playing end.

The second-team goal-line defensive line was tackles Dan Cascone and Newkirk and ends Ware and Kelly.


The first-team goal-line linebackers featured Mark Zalewski at his regular mike spot, but with Paul Joran (sam) and Elijah Hodge (will) flanking him.

The second-team goal-line unit was O'Brien Schofield (sam), Josh Neal (mike) and Jonathan Casillas (will).

Schofield had an excuse me pass breakup while playing his customary role as the second-team sam linebacker in the base defense. He broke up a pass when its intended target failed to look for the ball, sending it caroming off Schofield's pads.

First-team sam DeAndre Levy had a tackle for loss.

Walk-on transfer Ryan Flasch played third-team will linebacker Friday, with Josh Neal at mike and Paul Joran at sam.

Jammar Crane rotated in at will with the second team behind Ben Landgraf.

Hodge tackled P.J. Hill for a loss — after the latter caught a pass.


Cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu returned to practice Friday after missing some time Wednesday. But junior Ben Strickland rotated in with the first-team defense behind Ikegwuonu and Allen Langford. Zach Hampton remains out with an injury.

Jameson Davis returned to practice after missing Wednesday's workout and filled in with the second team behind Strickland and Prince Moody. Davis had a pass breakup on a throw intended for walk-on Shane Phillips.

Second-team free safety Shane Carter had a pass breakup on a throw intended for Marcus Randle El.

Starting strong safety Joe Stellmacher has a pass breakup on a ball labeled for tight end Dave Peck.

Langford intercepted a pass intended for Richard Kirtley and took it the distance the other way. He added a pass breakup later in practice.


One of John Stocco's greatest strengths in his first two years as the Badgers' starting quarterback was his ability to be patient and work through his progressions to find an open receiver. Despite having a whole new fleet of skill-position players at his disposal, Stocco has managed to look even more composed than he did a year ago.

Second-string signal caller Tyler Donovan made a very good deep pass during 11-on-11 work to hook up with Kirtley for a touchdown.

Offensive line

Eric Vanden Heuvel said after practice that he expects to be back to full strength and cleared for full-contact work on Wednesday. In non-contact drills he worked out at right tackle today.

With Vanden Heuvel still nursing a plantar fasciitis injury originally suffered at the end of January, first-team right tackle Kraig Urbik double shifted with the second team.

Though he would certainly like to have a fumbled snap back, center Marcus Coleman played well Friday. The junior is establishing himself at the center position. He, guard Danny Kaye and right tackle Kraig Urbik combined to spring Dywon Rowan through a sizeable cut-back lane during 11-on-11 red-zone work.

Running backs

During 9-on-9 run-game work, fullback Chris Pressley had a great block on defensive end Joe Monty to spring tailback Jamil Walker for a touchdown.

During the 9-on-9 drill, walk-on tailback Dywon Rowan cut back to his right and found a wide-open lane to the end zone.

Rowan gained about 10 yards to the 6 after picking up a great block by second-string fullback Bill Rentmeester, who sealed off linebacker O'Brien Schofield.

Later in practice, Rentmeester made a big block on Mark Zalewski to help Dion Foster skirt through a hole to the right.

Walker scored easily on a cutback to the left during 9-on-9 work.

During 11-on-11 red-zone work, No. 3 fullback Josh Balts caught a touchdown pass.

Tailback Jamil Walker, UW's No. 1 heading into spring, has been showing signs of running with greater toughness and physicality.

Wide receivers and tight ends

First-team receiver Jarvis Minton missed practice Friday, after suffering an injury Wednesday.

With Minton out of the lineup, Paul Hubbard, Marcus Randle El, Luke Swan and Jeff Holzbauer rotated with the first team.

Hubbard has been the starter throughout spring at the X receiver position, which was the spot held by Brandon Williams last season. Swan and Randle El opened spring backing up Hubbard at the X, and Randle El opened the spring as the starter at the R, or slot, in three-receiver sets. Minton opened spring as the starter at the Z, ahead of Holzbauer. Swan and Randle El are also playing Z.

Another receiver to keep an eye on continues to be Kirtley. The redshirt freshman has good size and athletic ability and has consistently made plays throughout spring. He got loose well behind the secondary this afternoon for a long touchdown catch during 11-on-11 work. Kirtley may have also caught a touchdown during 7-on-7 work, but the defensive players (who could be a little biased, of course) nearest to the play signaled that he was out of bounds.

Hubbard made several impressive catches today. After one such reception during an 11-on-11 drill, receivers coach Henry Mason made a point to laud Hubbard for running a great route.

Soon thereafter, Hubbard caught a pass over the middle despite having two players – corner Prince Moody and safety Johnny White – surrounding him.

On the first offense's third play during a 7-on-7 red-zone drill, Hubbard caught a touchdown pass from quarterback John Stocco.

Two plays later, Stocco found Holzbauer for a touchdown, before hooking up with Randle El for another score on the last play of the series.

Sophomore Dave Peck appeared to receive more work with the first team today. He may prove to be the No. 4 tight end this season. An early favorite for the No. 1 tight end spot goes to Andy Crooks, but with Travis Beckum and Sean Lewis not far behind.

Peck caught a touchdown pass from second-team quarterback Tyler Donovan during 7-on-7 work.

Receiver T.J. Theus caught a touchdown pass from third-team quarterback Dustin Sherer.

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