No, we are not talking about any pre-camp scrapes where punches are thrown or Ali vs. Foreman or even Ned Yost against Johnny Estrada and Tony Graffanino.
What we're talking about is the fact that the Wisconsin football coaches mean business and they aren't as understanding anymore about slopping play or poor work ethic.
Plenty of Badgers, both young and old, were at the mercy of the coaching staff Wednesday night. Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst pulled quarterbacks aside to show his displeasure with poor mobility, bad reads and failure to execute the right pass and hollered at running backs to finish plays. Secondary Coach Kerry Cooks got tired of seeing his young secondary get beat over and over again on passing routes in 7-on-6 and 9-on-9 that he could be heard yelling shouts of criticism and motivation. Even Bielema could be heard chirping at players who weren't hustling.
Unfortunately, those corps got off the easiest, as Offensive Line Coach Bob Palcic could be heard anywhere in the stadium with the poor play of his offensive lineman during individual work and full squad work. It's clearly evident that the learning curve for players is shrinking and that we're going to start to see separation for certain jobs.
Bielema was not available after practice and, despite being the first day in pads, there were no injuries to report.
There were plenty of bright spots under the lights Wednesday, however, as some Badgers made a statement to the coaches and the other players.
In split squad work, redshirt freshman Maurice Moore made a tremendous juke move to the inside of the field, making newly-converted DB Niles Brinkley bite on the move, and haul in the pass going down the sideline. Moore could be seen chirping at Brinkley afterwards.
Freshman Mario Goins continued to make solid plays early on in camp when he broke up a pass intended for sophomore Xavier Harris. Harris got his hands on the ball, only to have Goins pin his hands and knock the ball free with his right forearm.
Senior Paul Hubbard continued to show why he's Wisconsin's playmaker as the veteran looked in mid-season form. Hubbard readjusted nicely to a number of mistimed and under thrown passes to make a number of jumping or diving catches.
Wisconsin's secondary seemed a bit slow all around tonight, as the offense seemed to have its way with them during the scrimmages. Every catchable ball thrown from the quarterbacks seemed to find its way into the hands of a waiting receiver. Throughout the entire two hour and 30 minute practice, the defense did not have one interception.
The play of the evening came during 6-on-7 when Allan Evridge looked to have an easy completion to Travis Beckum on an out route to the opposing sideline. Out of nowhere, sophomore DB Josh Nettles jumped in front of the pass to swat the ball away with his right hand. Psyched to see the hustle and the great play, Bielema ran nearly 30 yards downfield to give Nettles a congratulatory slap on the helmet.
Media Day News and Notes
- Lance Smith was not made available at media day due to an undisclosed conflict. Furthermore, Coach Bielema forbade any media member from asking about his arrest, saying that it's over and done with and the team's official position would be not to comment.
- There was absolutely no talk about Michigan, Big Ten conference play, BCS bowls or national titles. The only major talk was about Washington State and what individuals needed to do to get better that night in practice. One special teams player did say, however, that he was really looking forward to playing the last two games of the season against Michigan and at Minnesota.
- Staying on the topic of ‘Mum's the word,' no talk from any of the players about who their starting QB would be or when the job would be decided. Although they had the two biggest crowds around them, Donovan and Evridge were very humble, very complimentary and answered every question about the starting job with the same answer, "Whatever happens, happens. I'm just going to come into practice everyday and perform to the best of my abilities. The decision is really out of my hands."
- Senior punter Ken DeBauche stated that he was going to wait until the end of the season to declare for the NFL Draft. He also practiced his interviewing skills, doing comedic interviews with fellow players for uwbadgers.com
- Shane Carter looks to have guaranteed himself some playing time in 2007, as he turned in another solid practice and received many accolades from his teammates.