Bielema Impressed with Phillips' Abilities

Taking the cautious approach with some players, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema held some players out of Monday night's practice, one of the players that wasn't held out was freshman Curt Phillips. After struggling in the morning session, Phillips found his niche Monday evening, something that impressed Bielema.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema -

full transcript

(Injury updates) – Jon (Budmayr) actually tweaked his – I don't know what part of his arm, but he has'nt been able to throw. He came out here and threw a little bit here tonight. He should be back. He just threw a lot of balls and it was a little bit sore so they backed off him.

Then there's a number of guys that we just take out in the evening: Aaron Henry will be a one-a-day guy, so he won't practice in the evenings. Jaevery McFadden practiced all day this morning, he sat out this afternoon. Mike Taylor we think is very close to getting back out there. Actually, Billy Nagy and Dezmen Southward, those guys both had good reports on their hands, so they can get cleared for contact. Billy still has a little bit of an issue with his foot, so he isn't back out there yet, but I expect him back hopefully by the end of sometime this week, but definitely next week.

Jake Current had a concussion. Jake had a concussion, I believe it was Saturday at some point. There's actually three guys; Jake, Alex Dietzen … and Jake Byrne.

(Jefferson out?) – Kyle just got really dehydrated, wasn't feeling very good. He wasn't feeling like it was anything particular due to a specific injury, just wasn't really into it. We didn't want to push him out there until he felt good enough to get back in the mix.

(lot of reps for Phillips today) – One of the things we did toward the end of last week is started getting him more reps. One of the things I addressed with the whole team … what we kind of said to all positions is, ‘There's two ways to look at it: You're three weeks away from the first game, or you're three weeks away from the first game, and there's got to be that urgency to move forward. Even though we're not really doing Northern Illinois game plan, per se, we have to think about that first game and where we're going to go and how we're going to get there.

(thought process to getting Phillips more reps) Monday through Friday, I think we just took a really good look at everybody. Saturday , we put ourselves into a scrimmage situation in the morning, came back and had good work in the afternoon and as coaches, we sat down on Sunday and realigned our depth chart, talked about freshmen who we thought potentially could go out there and help us, and then with the quarterback position, Curt because of where he is in his maturity (level) here at Wisconsin, the more reps he gets the more opportunities we'll see if he can do something.

(was tonight as good as Phillips as looked?) – He looked good. I watched a lot of different things out here, but I know the one thing Curt can do – and you guys know – is if something breaks down, he has the ability to make something out of nothing. He has the ability to make something out of nothing. He was pretty creative on Saturday, he had a little Brett Favre flip. He's just got those little to him.

(full pads for fourth straight practice) – I think if I didn't do it, they were asking for it. Quite a few guys after our practice in the morning, I didn't even make a big deal, I said, ‘We'll be in full-pack this evening.' There was a lot of (positive) reaction, but I think they expected it, which is a good thing.

(Zach Brown a lot of work with the 1s) – John got a majority of the reps last week and Zach really performed well. Last year, I think, was a little different year for him. He had P.J., he had John, he also had his own identity. What I saw this year is he came in, and Zach is oblivious to what's going on around him. A lot of people have different opinions who's going to be running the football, but Zach knows what he does, we know what he does well, so we gave him a lot of reps and he took advantage of them. And on the flip side of it, John Clay has probably practiced Saturday and today as good as he's practiced all fall.

(Borland moving around at linebacker) – We actually had been playing Chris in the middle, at the mike position. Culmer has had a really, really good fall camp, and because of some injuries to Mike Taylor and Jaevery McFadden, you want to get your best players out there. And Chris is a guy that, if he's not in that first unit, he should be right behind in a variety of fashions. My credit (goes) to a freshman that's been here through basically eight days of fall camp (and) he's played field linebacker, boundary linebacker and middle linebacker. And he's going to make some mistakes out there, but one thing he does is he makes mistakes going 100 miles per hour.

(encouraged by Shelton Johnson's play) – I am. Shelton can fly and Shelton can break on the ball. You'd like to light a little firecracker under him once in a while. He's kind of one of those kids, he goes about his business, but that's his demeanor. But when he takes off, he takes off. He kind of surprised me a year ago in fall camp, we were going a scout scrimmage and he ran down David (Gilreath) in a big play. That's when he really made a big statement to me.

(Zeitler always staying late after practice, looking to do extra work) – It's a Kevin Zeitler attitude. I'll never forget the first time I ever saw Kevin Zeitler, I was watching him do the weight room workout. He has 100 conversations with himself every day. He was over there just going about his business and very focused. I remember last summer I came in and he was in the indoor facility and we talked about playing him at center, so he was snapping the ball up against the wall. And he said, ‘Coach, can I put some tape on the wall to create a strike zone.' (I said), ‘Knock yourself out.' I came in an hour later and he had tape up and he was still snapping, on his own. If you come down and you get real close to the cage work, he's grunting, he's straining, he's competing and that's why he's in a position he's in right now. He carries a little chip on his shoulder. He is a little bit undersized maybe height-wise, but he's got really long arms, so he can probably play like a 6-5 guy.

(Konz with No.1 o-line at center) – Travis (Frederick) has a lot on his plate. And we just felt that Pete's beginning to make some strides, too, and we want to recognize guys that made strides and that's what we did out there this evening.

(any update on Carter/Pleasant suspension) – no.

(did they violate any student-athlete policy) – I put it on the release.

(silver lining of Moffitt/Nagy injuries that young guys like Groy and Frederick are getting reps) – I said Sunday when I talked to the team, when those things happen. We kind of made adjustments (after Nagy's accident) based on Moffitt being able to (play) at guard. Lo and behold, the last weight-room conditioning session, Moffitt has the injury that he has. Now you go through the whole process there. But the part that we said when we sat down as coaches, it happened before camp even started and it allowed us to put people in positions and kind of find out what we've got. It didn't happen the Friday before the Northern Illinois.

(Montee Ball) – Montee is a work in progress. I thought he really ran the ball well last week. I think a lot of freshmen now and for the next couple of days might hit that little freshman wall. We're going to have a meeting tomorrow at 8:30 with all the freshmen, I'm going to meet with them, things can kind of just compound on you now. You're body's sore, you've got big bodies leaning on you, you've got coaches that are getting after you. You've got to be here, you've got to be there and you've got to be everywhere. This is a time when some of those guys might start to level off a little bit, and the ones that are moving forward are the ones you get excited about.

(have you seen a number of freshmen who will see the field this year) – I think there are. I think on defense there's a number of guys at linebacker and in the secondary that could potentially play for us. I don't know up front if any on defense (will play). I'd expect one to two, possibly even three guys on the offensive line. And really after that probably all up in the air, except for Montee.


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