"I thought today would be one of the more difficult days," Bielema said. "It's practice number eight, we're in full pads, we just got done with over 90 plays of scrimmage on Saturday. I really thought they'd come in with a little bit of a drag to them today."
As it turned out, Bielema was mildly surprised. With the exception of a couple plays that saw players jump offsides near the end of the 24-period practice, the Badgers looked pretty sharp.
Clay fights through pain
What was most notable about running back John Clay's practice wasn't the untouched 64-yard touchdown carry he had during 11-on-11 drills, although that was a nice run.
Instead, what made Clay's day notable was the fact that he played through pain that often left him limping back to the huddle after taking a carry.
"That's part of being a Wisconsin tailback," UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst said, referring to Clay overcoming a little discomfort. "You gotta be smart … but you gotta go through it. When it's time to go, it's time to go. I think that's all how guys grow."
Wide receiver David Gilreath made several nice catches during 11-on-11 drills, but one play in particular stood out.
On a play to the near sideline, cornerback Marcus Cromartie made a nice break on the ball and cut under Gilreath's route. Cromartie deflected the ball, but Gilreath was still able to follow the ball in the air, tip it once and haul it in as he neared the sideline. Gilreath then managed to stay in bounds and turn the play up field for what would have been a score.
All Cromartie could do as he turned around to see Gilreath streak down the sidelines was wonder aloud what just had happened.
Bad news for Prather
After reserve linebacker Erik Prather sustained a knee injury during UW's Saturday scrimmage, Bret Bielema wasn't able to give any sort of diagnosis as to the extent or severity of the injury.
Monday, Bielema had news about Prather. It wasn't good.
"It's a pretty significant knee injury," Bielema said. "They probably won't be able to operate on it for about a month."
For Prather, a senior, the surgery and subsequent rehab will probably mean the end of his playing days.
"The likelihood of him playing here anymore is probably not very good," Bielmea said. "It's a tough stretch for him."
Bielema said he would like to see Prather, who is popular with his teammates, be able to continue to be a part of the team in some capacity throughout the upcoming season.
Other injury news
Wide receiver Kyle Jefferson did not dress for practice Monday. Jefferson had been feeling ill and was held out as a precaution. He is expected to return to practice Tuesday.
See and be seen
Former UW running back Anthony Davis and offensive linemen Kraig Urbik took in parts of Monday's practice.
Defensive end recruit Kevin Henry from Morris (IL) High School attended practice in what has been a light spring for recruits thus far.
Wisconsin will return to the field Tuesday night for its ninth of 15 practices, starting at 4:30 p.m.