Wisconsin Spring Practice: Day Two

On an early Tuesday morning where individual drills were still one of the main focuses, it was no surprise that plenty of Badgers made solid strides in the second of 15 spring practices.

MADISON – Wisconsin player and coaches suited for its first 6:30 a.m. practice indoors Tuesday morning at the McClain Center. It was the second of 15 practices for the Badgers as the UW football team sets its sights on the spring game April 19.

Defensive Notes -

Every starter listed on the spring football first-team depth chart played on the first team defense throughout split squad and 11-v-11 work.

Cornerback Mario Goins performed well guarding Kyle Jefferson, blanketing him with solid tight coverage and forcing him to the outside on numerous routes. Goins is currently listed No.1 at the left cornerback position on the spring depth chart.

After being replaced in the Outback Bowl, sophomore Jay Valai looked to be making a push to win the starting role back. Providing close coverage, Valai skied for the interception on an Allan Evridge-thrown pass.

Shane Carter continued to play solidly at free safety, nearly intercepting an Evridge pass on 7-v-7 and providing solid secondary coverage on 11-v-11.

Reserve cornerback Andrew Lukasko timed a James Stallons deep ball thrown just right and knocked what would have been a sure touchdown away from Xavier Harris on the far sideline.

Although the former walk-on was bombarded by his teammates, the offense obviously was not pleased. Stallons and the offense ran the same route on the very next play with Jefferson running a go route. The result, a perfectly thrown pass by Stallons to Jefferson, who left Lukasto in his dust.

With practice entering its 24th and final session, reserve defensive back and Madison La Follette native Chukwuma Offor punctuated a solid day defensively. Guarding Lance Kendricks, Offor had a leaping interception that drew another mugging from his teammates.

Offensive Notes –

Every starter listed on the spring football first-team depth chart played on the first team offense throughout split squad and 11-v-11 work.

Evridge was under center first along with tailbacks P.J. Hill and Lance Smith with Scott Tolzien being the second quarterback to rotate in. The sophomore was followed by Dustin Sherer, Stallons and Curt Phillips, respectively, all of who received plenty of reps with the first and second team offense.

All five quarterbacks all performed well in individual drills, consistently ripping off tight spirals to the wide receivers. In 11-v-11 and 7-v-7, each QB had his individual moment.

Stallons struggled at times to get his timing right, throwing a shade too high or too low, but threw a perfect deep ball to David Gilreath. Stallons' throw had a perfect arc, perfect distance and drew high fives from his peers.

Phillips also struggled at times but seemed to have a better grasp of the offense than he did on Saturday and made some great passes over the middle to Jefferson and Harris.

Although it's still early, Evridge looks to be the man in charge, playing well throughout the practice with accurate throws, tight spirals and looked like a quarterback that has been in the offense for three years.

Lance Smith, rotating in with Hill, showed he has not lost a step. Running the sweep to the outside, Smith stutter stepped, causing Chris Maragos to close in. Once Maragos go there, however, Smith was long gone, turning on the jets down the sideline.

John Clay turned into another impressive afternoon and showcased his agility and hand-eye coordinator at the end of practice. On a pass attempt by Phillips, Maragos got a hand on the pass and deflected it upward. Clay was undeterred, as he adjusted to the ball, hauled in the pass and headed up field.

As the most experienced returning wide receiver, Jefferson used every inch of his 6-foot-5 frame to haul in plenty of passes over and under thrown. On the one pass that he dropped hitting him square in his hands, linebackers Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy were quick to tease, yelling "Come on Stretch!"

Notes -

Coaches from 2007 Division III national champion UW-Whitewater, Division III Carroll College, located in Waukesha and Knox College in Galesburg (Ill.) took in the early morning practice.

Waukee (IA.) outside linebacker Jake Knott was the lone recruit at Tuesday's practice. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound 2009 prospect has interest in UW, Iowa and Iowa State and stayed the entire two-hour session with his mother by his side.

Elijah Hodge did not practice Tuesday and is not expected to participate on Thursday. However, Hodge is expected to suit up when Wisconsin returns from Spring Break.

Not participating in spring drills after recovering from surgery, Travis Beckum was still very much part of practice, holding out a clipboard and barking out signals.

Wisconsin's three ACL victims of 2007 – Jason Chapman, Aaron Henry and Allen Langford – all participated in practice in different ways. Chapman worked on footwork and hand drills, showing no noticeable signs of his injury.

Henry walked up and down the sidelines cheering on his teammates. Still walking with somewhat of limp and a brace protecting his knee, Henry told me that he is feeling better and hopes to participate in summer drills.

Langford did not walk with a limp but did not take part in any drills.

The Badgers will practice in full pads on Thursday morning.

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