Fall Practice: Day Seven

It was a busy double practice day for Wisconsin, as the Badgers went back inside the redzone, looked at the return game and started to evaluate the talent of their freshman. The day didn't come without a price though, as UW suffers its first major injury in camp.

MADISON – The last time the Badgers worked inside the redzone, the offense only managed to break the plane three out of 28 times and looked uncomfortable inside the 20.

This time around, the offense looked much more at ease.

Wisconsin's offense registered 11 touchdowns in 35 tries, as both quarterbacks seemed more comfortable with the shorter field. Both Allan Evridge and Tyler Donovan threw for scores, limited turnovers, showed better pocket presence and a good sense of leadership. The only turnover came when Mario Goins stepped in front of a sure touchdown grab and took it the other way for six.

In perhaps the best overall play in the red zone drill, Tyler Donovan calmly waited until freshman Kyle Jefferson made his juke and uncorked a tight spiral down the middle. Jefferson jumped up and secured the pass between two defenders for the 20-yard touchdown.

"[Jefferson] can really catch the ball well and made a couple nice snags down there," Bielema said.

Senior Paul Hubbard also was a solid contributor in the red zone Monday night, making two solid touchdown grabs. His first came on a 20-yard bootleg where Hubbard shredded two potential tacklers to get into the end zone. His second came on a catch in the back of the end zone with top cornerback Allen Langford draped all over him. Overall, Monday's two practices were solid for the fifth-year wide receiver.

"He put two [good practices] back-to-back, which is something he hasn't done yet in camp," Bielema said. "We've only had two days of two a days, but there have been times where he's looked good and at times he's shown that he needs to get back on track. I thought today was his best complete day."

Offensive Line

Working with the first team offense throughout the evening was Danny Kaye (left tackle), Andy Kemp (left guard), Marcus Coleman (center), Kraig Urbik (right guard) and Eric Vanden Heuvel (left tackle). The group performed well together – giving up only one legitimate sack in 6-on-7 and red zone work.

Redshirt freshman Gabe Carimi also saw some snaps in situations and performed well. Originally recruited at 262 pounds, Carimi now stands at a solid 292 and, according to Bielema, is always thinking football.

"Gabe might be the best athlete out of his class," Bielema said. He really runs well. All day [Saturday] he was thinking about football and getting ready for the scrimmage. That's something that you can't put a price tag on."

Kickoff Returns

In about 20 minutes of kickoff return work, the Badgers tried four different players at the return possession, which each player providing successful results.

Freshman David Gilreath saw the most action fielding kicks, with senior Luke Swan and freshmen Aaron Henry and Daven Jones each fielded a couple. Gilreath looks to be the front runner for the position with either Swan or Henry providing backup.

Freshmen Contributors

Addressing the issue of freshman redshirting for the first time, Bielema stated that he thought running back Zach Brown, wide receivers David Gilreath and Kyle Jefferson, linebacker Blake Sorensen and cornerback Aaron Henry could see consistent playing time as freshman this season.

"We met on Sunday after getting in six practices and there are certain guys that jump out right away that will be redshirt guys," Bielema said. "We have it narrowed down to about eight guys and anywhere from four to six will play."

The addition of Brown is good news for Wisconsin fans, as the powerful running back from Palm Beach, Florida has had an excellent camp. After running back coach John Settle watched Brown during Florida's spring season and in an all-star game, Bielema knew he'd found his second running back recruit.

"We offered Zach very early through spring evaluations," Bielema said. "Zach wanted to go to a strong, running tradition school and well as an established program. Clay was being so highly-publicized in the state of Wisconsin that other high-ranked backs throughout the state see that and [go elsewhere]. But, we knew we wanted to sign two the whole way."

Bielema almost mentioned that Daven Jones is ‘in the waits,' the jury is still out on Mario Goins and Quincy Landingham could be used on special teams.

Injury Report

A multitude of players had hydration issues on Monday, including TE Travis Beckum, who missed time with spasms and is day-to-day.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy had a minor irritation and Bielema said it wouldn't be an issue.

Quarterback Dustin Sherer tweaked his ankle during morning walk through and will miss a couple days. He's expected to be back by the end of this week or the beginning of next week.

The serious injury came in the morning practice when redshirt sophomore Richard Kirtley ruptured his ACL and will miss significant time. Surgery is planned as soon as the swelling goes down. The loss was difficult for Bielema, who was looking forward to using Kirtley on special teams this season.

"It's disappointing because we just had a nice conversation about him on Sunday," Bielema said. "He's a guy that could travel in our wide receiver core but would have probably been on all our special teams. A guy has good athletic ability, tries hard and is one of our respectable kids in the program. It's too bad."

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