Spring Practice: Day Seven

Wisconsin's roster is now one player shorter, previous injuries aren't as bad as they seem, linemen show what they can do and QB Curt Phillips impressed with the option, all happening Tuesday morning at Spring Practice.

MADISON - No April Fool's joke here.

Already dealing with a rash of injuries that have potentially eight starters out of camp, Wisconsin will not deal with redshirt sophomore Brad Thorson decision to explore other options, thus leaving the Wisconsin football team.

The situation apparently came to a head when Thorson was the player involved when Dan Moore suffered his injury during Saturday's one-v-one drills, although head coach Bret Bielema acknowledged that a bunch of things were involved.

The 6-foot-4, 294-pound offensive lineman from Mequon Homestead originally committed to Minnesota before switching his commitment to Wisconsin at the end of January 2006. However, Thorson will not be able to transfer to Minnesota, as Bielema said he would not release Thorson to anyone on Wisconsin schedule for the next three years (the remaining eligibility he has), which puts the axe on the Gophers.

Named first team Milwaukee Journal Sentinel All-Area squad and 2005 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State, Thorson led the Highlanders to a 12-1 mark, losing to eventual champion Racine Park in the Division 1 semifinals this season.

Injury Plagued Group

JUCO recruit Daniel Moore, who injured his left leg on Saturday, received a bit of good news, as his leg injury was not as severe as it originally appeared.

Moore needed the help of crutches to get off the field Saturday and was not at practice Tuesday, but arrived to Camp Randall wearing a full leg brace and a pair of shorts around 9:15, presumably on his way to get further evaluation on his injured knee.

Bielema is expected to have more information by Thursday's practice and hopes to have the defensive tackle back by fall camp.

Also inactive was Nick Toon, Ricky Garner and DeAndre Levy, who aggravated his back after the scrimmage on Saturday. All are expected back by Saturday or by next week Tuesday at the latest.

Elijah Hodge continues to progress following his injury, as he practiced for roughly 75 percent Tuesday morning.

As expected, Travis Beckum, Dan Cascone, Jonathan Casillas, Kirk DeCremer, Jason Chapman, Garrett Graham, Aaron Henry, Brandon Hoey, Richard Kirtley, Allen Langford and Mike Newkirk, who are all expected to miss the remainder of the spring.

Split Squad – lineman drills

In one-on-one drills, plenty of defensive lineman, matched up with their offensive counterparts, showcased their abilities in front of the coaching staff.

Defensive end Louis Nzegwu blew by Josh Oglesby with an inside move and was able to get to the ‘quarterback.'

Senior end Matt Shaughnessy also showed freshman Current the speed of the game, using a swim move that got by the young blocker.

It wasn't all defense linemen, as senior guard Kraig Urbik knocked defensive tackle Patrick Butrym right back where he came from off the snap, causing a little friendly, competitive banter.

In two-on-two drills, offensive left tackle Jake Bscherer was able to cut off Evan Millard, moving through traffic to push him out of the way. Originally a reserve linebacker and listed at 6-foot-1, 217 pounds, Millard's move creates more depth at the position, although he's currently a bit out matched going up against Oglesby and Vanden Heuvel.

Current stuffed Nzegwu at the line, regaining some redemption from one-on-one drills, followed by Eric Vanden Heuvel stopping Butrym on a bull rush.

Team 11-on-11

Because of all the injuries, the entire defense took on a whole new shape.

Defensive Line: Shaughnessy, Stehle, Butrym and O'Brien Schofield

Linebackers: Jae McFadden (Will), Culmer St. Jean (Mike) and Blake Sorensen (Sam)

Second Team Linebackers: Ryan Flasch (Will), Hodge (Mike) and Erik Prather (Sam)

Cornerbacks: Niles Brinkley and Chris Maragos

Safeties: Shane Carter and Jay Valai

Aubrey Pleasant saw work with the first-team defense and ran some safety blitzes but switched frequently with Valai in the rotation.

QB Dustin Sherer was first to work with the No. 1 offense, who was then followed by Allan Evridge, but all five quarterbacks took a good share of reps.

Both Evridge and freshman quarterback Curt Phillips were on the move frequently. Evridge ran the naked bootleg a couple times and Phillips ran the option from the shotgun formation.

Designed to give the defense a look at the spread offense, Phillips made the defensive, particularly the linebackers, silly. Phillips faked out McFadden twice, once with the draw and once faking the pitch.

It was a good set for the offense, as the defense did not recover an interception off the arms of Evridge, Phillips or Sherer.

When they weren't running routes, wide receivers Nate Emanuel, Xavier Harris, Kyle Jefferson and Elijah Theus were working on hand-eye coordinator with wide receiver coach DelVaughn Alexander, throwing a ball on a spring board and catching it with one hand.

Special teams

Brad DeBauche and Philip Welch were back handling the punting duties

In addition to David Gilreath, Mario Goins and Maurice Moore were back fielding punts, although they were not returning kicks.


While the rest of the team took a 10-minute water break, tight end Travis Beckum (shoulder surgery) put on the gloves and went hard for the duration of the break, cutting, planting and catching passes from Phillips, Sherer and Stallons.

While he has been impressed with the wide receivers to an extent, Bielema called out Jefferson and Gilreath to the media, saying both needed to step up and be ‘big time' wide receivers, especially Jefferson, who dropped multiple passes all day Tuesday.

With Kim Royston transferring out of the program, free safety Chris Maragos switched his jersey number from No. 31 (who he shared with fellow DB Prince Moody) to Royston's 21.

Working out in Madison and waiting for a contract offer, former Badger Jim Leonhard took in another spring practice.

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