Monday's Wisconsin Spring Practice Report

The second week and the sixth practice of Wisconsin spring football practices started with multiple stand-out performances and a couple of bounce-back performances, proving that the Badgers are pushing hard with spring break on the horizon.

MADISON - With the snow out of the forecast and the mercury rising into the mid-60s, Wisconsin football was back in Camp Randall for a its sixth practice of the spring season, one that lasted roughly two hours and featured a number of impressive players in 11-on-11 work.

Kicking Off

Senior running back Zach Brown continued to impress in the second week of spring, gaining roughly 20 yards on back-to-back runs during 11-on-11 work. After Lance Kendricks saw a ball go through his hands, Brown picked up his teammate with another run through the right side. Brown's burst was the best of the day and he cruised right through the defense, not stopping until the whistle was blown with him 30 yards down the field. Add his four runs up during that set without the whistles and Brown could have pushed 60 rushing yards.

"I am just trying to come out here, play for God and play my best," Brown said after practice. "I feel like I am going into it as my last season and playing like it's my practice."

Wide receiver screen to Jared Abbrederis was set up by a solid seal block by Isaac Anderson. Anderson, who was named co-offensive player of the week against Indiana two years ago despite not catching a pass because of his ability to register a solid seal block, again showed that the WR screen is going to yield positive results when run in his direction.

"That's just part of Wisconsin football – trying to be a tough guy, go in there and hit a safety," Anderson said. "That's the number one priority in our run game to attack a safety running downhill. Looking at myself as a receiver, you want to both catch the ball and block, as well."

Senior David Gilreath got off to a fast start in the second week, catching roughly six passes during team drills and showed soft hands catching the ball, crisp routes and experience when trying to gain extra yards.

"David knows the offense inside and out," Anderson said. "He's really detailed. He's like an offensive coordinator at receiver. He knows all three positions, every detail and fundamental of the position."

After a rough up-and-down first week, junior cornerback Antonio Fenelus had his best practice of the spring, finishing with three passes broken up and one interception.

In 11-on-11 work, Scott Tolzien finished approximately 12-of-18 on his passes with two interceptions while Jon Budmayr went approximately 9-of-12 with no interceptions. Curt Phillips was not on the practice field Monday, reportedly getting his right knee that he injured Saturday evaluated. After originally not appearing to be serious, sources indicate that it's more serious than a sprain.

A spokesperson said Bielema will address the injury tomorrow.

11-on-11 notes

Scott Tolzien, Set 1: Tolzien went 3-of-3 in the first of many 11-on-11 drills during the practice. Tolzien hit Nick Toon over the middle on a crossing route after a coverage breakdown, hit tight end Rob Korslin over the middle and connected on a 36-yard pass to Toon. Tolzien got great coverage from his offensive line and was able to air a deep ball out for Toon, who gave a little bump to Marcus Cromartie, and secured the leaping catch in one-on-one coverage.

Scott Tolzien, Set 2: Starting with a play action to Brown, Tolzien, who went 5-of-5 in set two, got great pass protection kept the pocket clear for Tolzien, but solid defense forced Tolzien to checkdown to Brown. Fortunately for the offense, Brown had enough space to move, and turned up field for an 18-yard gain.

Tolzien hit Gilreath on a rollout, and took advantage of a slip by Kevin Claxton on the next play to hit Gilreath on a comeback route. With no room to turn up field, Gilreath slowly ran toward the left sideline looking for a seam, which he found and quickly turned up field to earn extra yardage.

Scott Tolzien, Set 3: Set three didn't start as good for Tolzien. Miscommunication with Toon, as the junior wide receiver never looked back for the incoming back, caused Fenelus to nab the interception. Two plays later, J.J. Watt, celebrating his birthday Monday, deflected a pass right into his arms for a pick.

After a set by Budmayr, Tolzien threaded a pass to Kendicks in traffic, Byrne in the flat and had Anderson on a crossing route until Coddye Ring-Noonan came in to break up the play. That's when Brown carried the load with the ball.

Scott Tolzien, Set 4: Devin Smith got an ear full for not being a smart player and guessing on a route by Kyle Jefferson. After Secondary Coach Chris Ash yelled at Smith to get up on the line of scrimmage and not give the lanky receiver a 10-yard cushion, Smith broke to the sideline while Jefferson broke inside, giving him plenty of room for the easy catch and igniting Ash's fuse.

After a Toon drop, Anderson hauled in a deep pass, but Aaron Henry made up a lot of ground to get there a split second after the catch and lay a big enough hit to jar the ball loose as Anderson fell to the ground. Upon getting back to the huddle, Bielema reminded him that he can't play three quarters of a four quarter game.

Jon Budmayr, Set 1: Budmayr made plenty of throws in the new direction of his favorite target – Abbrederis – and was lucky that his first one wasn't intercepted. Floating a timing route to Abbrederis on the right sideline, Budmayr was fortunate that Fenelus didn't come down with the pick. Fenelus sealed Abbrederis along the sideline, allowing him to make a leaping play on the ball that he couldn't haul in.

Budmayr again showed poise stepping up into the pocket, allowing him to get some added zip on a pass to Kyle Jefferson on the sideline, so much zip that Jefferson had trouble hanging on.

Jon Budmayr, Set 2: Budmayr was a perfect 6-of-6 in his second set, but didn't throw anything past 10 yards, content with finding the open receiver in the flat as he went through his progressions. A couple of the passes were off quick three-step drops and Budmayr delivered those passes with great accuracy.

Budmayr's best play of the day could be his sell of a handoff on two straight plays. Hiding the ball on a fake run play to the left, Budmayr rolled right and delivered a solid throw to a wide-open Abbrederis in the flat. Faking a dive one play later, Budmayr threw another completion with a spot on throw.

Jon Budmayr, Set 3: After back-to-back completions to Anderson and Abbrederis, Budmayr just misfired on a 27-yard deep pass to an open Jeff Duckworth in the corner of the end zone. Budmayr made up for it one play later, hitting Anderson from the same distance on the goal line for the touchdown.

7-on-7 skelly notes

Tolzien waited no time to start taking shots during skelly drills. On the first repetition, Tolzien sent two tight ends in motions and aired out a deep pass for Gilreath. Gilreath nearly made a great diving play, but Fenelus stayed right with him and knocked the ball to the turf.

Tolzien overthrew Kendricks on the next play, but came back to him two plays later for a dump pass in the flat that the senior turned up field and barreled through the defense for a nice gain. Tolzien also connected with a speedy Brown out of the backfield, as the senior running back blazed right pass a linebacker.

When Budmayr was under center, the sophomore hit a couple checkdown routes before he tried to force a pass to Jake Byrne in traffic, Rushing the throw, Budmayr gave Jay Valai an easy interception that would probably have been returned for a touchdown. Budmayr responded on the next play to hit Toon on an inside slant route after Valai had vacated the area.

Extra Points:

Junior Niles Brinkley continues to be held out of individual and team drills while recovering from a slight pull of the hamstring. Brinkley probably will miss two more practices

Senior left tackle Gabe Carimi continues to have April 6 as his return target date for spring football. A first-team All-Big Ten selection last year, Carimi worked on building his surgically repaired shoulder with Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Herbett during individual drills, pushing a sled loaded with 45-pound weight discs

During lineman/tight end blocking drills, the name that kept being complimented was Byrne. Going through his third spring, Byrne is 100 percent healthy and had a quick burst off the line to seal his defender.

Sophomore Montee Ball went through drills but wore a green no-contact jersey after suffering a bruise in his right shoulder. He was held out of contact as a precaution.

Up Next

Wisconsin returns to the practice field tomorrow for practice number seven at 4:45 p.m.

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