Spring football practice report, April 5

News and notes from the Badgers' seventh practice

The University of Wisconsin football team practiced in the McClain Center for about two-and-a-half hours early Wednesday morning. The team suited up in full pads but did not conduct any live-tackling drills.

Tight ends

Jeff Stehle, who was the second-team left guard prior to Wednesday's practiced, has converted to tight end. Stehle was a tight end in high school and there was some discussion when he was being recruited that he would play the position situationally. Stehle ended up at defensive tackle during his redshirt season last fall. Now, after an audition at guard, it looks like Stehle, who is listed at 6-foot-6, 299 pounds, will stick at tight end.

Stehle lined up at the position with the first team during a run-game segment and looked good.

The primary first-team tight ends were Andy Crooks and Sean Lewis, with Travis Beckum also rotating in behind them. Beckum and Dave Peck were the primary second-team tight ends during 9-on-9 work.

Redshirt freshman Garrett Graham made a nice over-the-shoulder catch near the sideline during one drill session.

Offensive line

For the past three practices, sophomore Andy Kemp has lined up at left guard with the first-team offense, after playing right guard for the first four practices. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said afterwards that Kemp will likely stick at left guard.

With Kemp at left guard, Danny Kaye has swapped spots and is playing right guard with the first-team offense.

Stehle's move to left guard meant that Kemp double shifted with the second team, with Kaye filling in from time to time.

Sophomore tackle Eric Vanden Heuvel was a little more involved Wednesday than he had been in previous practices, but was still limited due to the ruptured plantar fascia he suffered in late January.


Aside from a few overthrows, quarterback John Stocco had an excellent practice. He has continued to improve on the heels of the most productive passing season in UW's history.

Redshirt freshman Dustin Sherer has the tools to press Tyler Donovan for the No. 2 spot this fall. For the moment, though, it appears Sherer is going through the trials that seemingly every quarterback experiences in their first spring practice season.

Running backs

P.J. Hill scored a touchdown early in the 9-on-9 segment, beating the pursuit to the corner of the end zone.

Jerry Butler sprinted to the outside for a touchdown during 11-on-11 work. He also had an impressive run between the tackles.

Wide receivers

With Jarvis Minton injured, Jeff Holzbauer played alongside Paul Hubbard as a fist-team wide receiver. Marcus Randle El was the third wideout.

Luke Swan was out of pads Wednesday, as he continues to nurse an injury suffered late last week. With him out, Richard Kirtley was the No. 4 receiver.

Kirtley continued to display good hands and a feel for the position. On one play he used his body to shield the ball from Jack Ikegwuonu. The cornerback delivered a solid hit as the ball arrived, but Kirtley held on.

Holzbauer appeared to take advantage of his additional reps, making several catches. His best play came during an 11-on-11 segment when he caught a pass and hung on despite a big hit from Joe Stellmacher.

Hubbard continued to impress. Right after having the ball knocked away from him on a strong hit by Allen Langford, Hubbard extended to snag a pass above his head and then absorbed a hit from Ikegwuonu and held on.

Hubbard worked into the clear for a touchdown reception early in the red-zone segment.

Randle El made a diving catch during 7-on-7.

Defensive line

Defensive tackle Nick Hayden led a swarm for a sack on the last play of practice.

Hayden continues to be joined by tackle Jason Chapman and ends Kurt Ware and Joe Monty on the first team.

End Matthew Shaughnessy, who is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, did some light running and appeared to be moving fairly well.


The Badgers juggled through several combinations of outside linebackers with the second-team defense.

Ben Landgraf, previously a second-team will ‘backer, took snaps with the second team at sam. Landgraf also played will and sam with the third team.

Ryan Flasch and Jammar Crane rotated at will on the second team and also took reps with the third team.

Crane made an impressive play on a blitz to get into the backfield and record a tackle for loss.

O'Brien Schofield, the regular second-team sam linebacker, nearly had a lunging interception during 7-on-7 work.

Middle linebacker Mark Zalewski was active throughout the day. He made a very nice play to disrupt a short pass attempt.


Allen Langford recorded a pass breakup during the 7-on-7 portion, when he jarred the ball loose from Paul Hubbard.

Fellow sophomore cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu knocked the ball free from Jarmal Ruffin's hands several plays later.

Zach Hampton, who returned to contact work after missing most of last week with an injury, also got in on the act, breaking up a pass intended for Richard Kirtley.

Hampton rotated in as a second-team cornerback along with Ben Strickland and Prince Moody.

Second-team free safety Shane Carter, who had two interceptions in practice Saturday, nearly snagged another one Wednesday. After making a fine play to simply get to the ball, though, Carter could not quite secure it.

Strong safety Joe Stellmacher made a lunging extension to knock a pass away from Richard Kirtley along the sideline.

Second-team strong safety Johnny White intercepted a pass.

Starting free safety Roderick Rogers put a good hit on Kirtley for a pass breakup.

Special teams

Zach Hampton joined Marcus Randle El and Jerry Butler as a punt returner.

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