Notes: Stuck in a Rut

With two more interceptions thrown Saturday, Jon Budmayr ends the spring on down note, throwing five interceptions in two days. Even so, Wisconsin's No.2 quarterback pleased with the progress he made during UW's 15 practices and is anxious to move forward in the summer.

MADISON – The list of things freshman quarterback Jon Budmayr was looking forward to during Saturday's annual spring game, culminating the end of Wisconsin's 15 off-season practices.

He wanted to take another step forward in his progression, make good decisions and instill confidence in his coaches. Budmayr's goals and results were mixed, as he finished 12-of-25 passing for 86 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in front of a generously-announced crowd of 23,567.

"You take stuff away from this," Budmayr said. "Each time you got on the field, you can learn something. When you get those big scrimmages, it's nice to evaluate those and see where you are at. Today, there is a lot of stuff I can learn from … but I am definitely made some big gains (this spring)."

With Curt Phillips (torn ACL) out for the next year, Budmayr moved up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind returning starter Scott Tolzien. After getting limited reps in last year's spring game, Budmayr worked the first half with the No.2 offense and most of the second half with the starters.

There is still a learning curve that the 6-foot Budmayr is on. Early in the first quarter Saturday, Budmayr failed to recognize senior linebacker Culmer St. Jean in the flat, resulting in his first interception. With two minutes remaining in the half, Budmayr made the same mistake, allowing Jay Valai to jump a late pass intended for Jacob Pedersen.

"It's just something that I have to see and if I can't see, I need to make room to see," Budmayr said. "That's unacceptable … but one of the biggest things for me is going against the No.1 defense. That's when you get the most experience."

The two interceptions add to a growing total for Budmayr, who threw three interceptions in a scrimmage last Saturday and three interceptions in Friday's two-minute drill.

"Jon is a slinger," Bielema said. "When and if he becomes our quarterback, he's going to be a guy that you are going to see that from. There's a risk-reward with some of the throws he's thrown."

The fact that Budmayr made it through an entire camp injury free is a step in the right direction. After suffering a broken collarbone that cost him the majority of his senior season, Budmayr battled a groin strain last spring and missed six weeks after partially tearing a muscle in his right throwing forearm, forcing him to undergo another surgery.

After a camp that won't require rehab, Budmayr is anxious to build on the strides he's made.

"I was blessed to stay healthy all camp," Budmayr said. "I got a lot of reps and a lot of experience. I am taking everything I learned this spring, grow this summer and take it with me into fall camp."

Red-zone Woes

One of the ever-present words for last season's University of Wisconsin football team was "finish." With that thought in mind, it's a good thing the season opener is over four months away. Five times the starting offense drove into the red zone and only once did the Badgers come away with a touchdown.

Three times the Badgers went three-and-out after driving inside the 20 and once after getting inside the 10-yard line.

"I don't think we were as mentally prepared as we should have been," senior lineman John Moffitt said. "There wasn't a lot of emotion, a lot of big plays, our drives weren't consistent (and) we didn't move the ball consistently."

In addition to the two interceptions thrown by Budmayr, the Badgers had four fumbles (two loss), three of which came on problems during quarterback-center exchanges.

"I think that's why we really didn't move forward today," Moffitt said. "We moved backward."

One of those players that, at least in the eye of Bielema, that digressed was right tackle Josh Oglesby. One of the top offensive line prospects in the nation in the 2007 recruiting class, Oglesby started 10 games last season, but missed three games after injuring his knee against Indiana.

Needless to say, Bielema thinks Oglesby and the rest of his offensive line teammates need to get better.

"I saw a couple guys get beat on some easy moves that are elementary to football, so we're nowhere close," Bielema said. "Josh Oglesby isn't close to being where he needs to be as a right tackle to win in this league with consistency."

Clay Making Progress

Having John Clay sit out all 15 spring practices wasn't a highlight as far as Wisconsin coaching staff was concerned, but the upside of having the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year 100 percent healthy has got everyone encouraged.

Clay, who has played with pain in both ankles since high school, had his left ankle scoped to clean up bone spurs on Jan. 7, shortly after he capped off a huge sophomore season by rushing for 121 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-14 victory over Miami (Fla.) in the Champs Sports Bowl.

He got the same procedure done on his right ankle March 25, the same leg where he fractured his tibia and ankle in seventh grade.

"When I woke up, I wasn't in as much pain as I was in the first one," Clay said. "Maybe my body was used to it or maybe it wasn't as severe as the other ankle."

Clay has responsible so quickly that the medical staff cleared him to move around without crutches, a further indication that he'll be able to participate when UW starts summer conditioning June 7. In the meantime, Clay has been studying in the film room and asking questions to stay mentally fresh.

"I am looking forward to seeing myself play without pain for the first time in my career, just feeling good about my ankles," Clay said.

Extra Points

Junior wide receiver Nick Toon did not participate after suffering a concussion when he leaped high to catch a pass, then landed on his back, with his helmet hitting the turf, during a scrimmage the previous Saturday.

One of three players indefinitely suspended before spring camp for violating team rules, highly-regarded wide receiver Kraig Appleton has withdrawn from school and won't rejoin the team in the fall, according to Bielema. Bielema said LB Nick Hill and DE Shelby Harris, the other two suspended players, may return if they continue to follow a course he set out for them.

Senior tight end Lance Kendricks led the way in the spring game with six receptions for 63 yards and sophomore running back Montee Ball led the team with 74 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Ethan Armstrong led both teams with 14 tackles with Conor O'Neill finishing close behind with 12.

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