Fall Camp: Day 4 Defense Report

Trying to avoid the chance of rain, Wisconsin practiced at the McClain Center. Afterwards, head coach Bret Bielema gave the lowdown on some banged-up Badgers.

The Wisconsin Badger football team resumed Fall Camp for Day 4 inside the McClain Center Practice Facility Thursday afternoon. After deciding to practice inside in case of rain, the Badgers once again practiced in helmets, jerseys and shoulder pads.

Here is a look at the defense on Day 4.

Defensive Line

The depth at defensive line continues to be the same and assistant coach Randall McCray said at Media Day Wednesday that he could foresee eight or nine players rotating in and out every game.

Making up the first team up front were Matthew Shaughnessy, Nick Hayden, Jason Chapman and Kurt Ware. The unit seems to gel well, but more will be seen from the defensive line when the team begins practicing in full pads on Friday.

Both Joe Monty and Jamal Cooper took reps in the first and second strings. Cooper was probably the player of the day on defensive. Not only did he continue to show speed off the edge, but for the second straight day he put an end to practice with an interception.

He cruised off the edge, got his left hand in the air as if to bat the pass down, but instead hauled it in.

"Jamal Cooper is a good football player," head coach Bret Bielema said after practice. "The thing I like out of him is he's kept moving forward. He's had a lot of reasons to step back and all he's done is step forward."

The second string also consisted of Justin Ostrowski, Mike Newkirk and Brandon Kelly. Kelly was able to get his hand on a pass and knock it down.

Seeing action on the third string were Kirk DeCramer, Dan Cascone, Brandon Hoey, Richard Garner, Terrance Jamison and Derek Yentz. In the few reps during scrimmage, Cascone used his 6-foot-3, 315-pound frame to plug up holes nicely.

Linebackers

The biggest news was the status update on team captain Mark Zalewski. Bielema did not announce an exact injury, but did say the starting mike linebacker had an injury that would usually put him out four or five days. He also said that the staff may keep him out longer just to make sure he comes back at 100 percent.

That said, taking the first team reps were Elijah Hodge at mike linebacker, Jonathan Casillas at the will and Paul Joran at the sam. The coaches and fellow players have had nothing but good things to say about Hodge so far this year and Bielema stated it would be good for him to get more reps with Zalewski out.

DeAndre Levy, who had been the first string sam linebacker thus far, participated with that first squad during lighter contact drills, but not at all during the final scrimmage of practice.

While it was unclear why Levy was in and out on Thursday, it may have just been to get Joran some reps.

"The thing Paul is able to do is that he knows all positions," Bielema said. "He really does understand the game of football … and is probably one of our better coaches that doesn't wear coaching attire. There's a value on that you can't put a price tag on."

At the second string, sophomore Joshua Neal filled in at the mike position with Culmer St. Jean at the sam. Ryan Flasch and Jaevery McFadden each saw time at the will spot.

At third string were O'Brien Schofield, Erik Prather and Ben Landgraf.

Defensive Backs

There were no changes in the depth at this position. Jack Ikegwuonu and Allen Langford continue to grow with reps as the first-string cornerbacks with veterans Joe Stellmacher and Roderick Rogers with them as the safeties.

Behind them, Ben Strickland and Zach Hampton saw most of the cornerback reps for the second team, with Kim Royston filling in every once in a while. Shane Carter and Johnny White helped them as the safeties.

Strickland has shown he has a nose for the ball and he jumped in front of Marcus Randle El for an interception Thursday.

For the third string, Josh Nettles ad Prince Moody manned the corners with Jay Valai and William Hartmann at safety.

One injury to note was that of Aubrey Pleasant. The sophomore had a sling on his right arm and Bielema said that he had injured the shoulder, which he has had surgery on before. The first-year head coach said he expected to know more later Thursday night.

The Badgers should be back on the grass practice field Friday in full pads before beginning two-a-days on Saturday.


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