Friday Night's Practice Report

Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema was in a giving mood Friday night before UW's big scrimmage Saturday afternoon. Moving inside the Dave McClain Center to avoid the heavy rainfall, the Badgers practice in shoulder pads and helmets for only 90 minutes, giving the players a needed break. Go inside for the full report.

MADISON — After impressing the coaching staff during the morning practice, UW players were rewarded with a shorter practice in the evening. Wearing shorts with shoulder pads and helmets, the Badgers practiced for just about an hour and a half, from 7:30 p.m. until a few minutes after nine.

"It's amazing when you give these guys a little break like that how good they feel," head coach Bret Bielema said. "I thought there was good tempo out here today."

The evening practice was mostly positional drills for the first two-thirds of the practice and situational drills for the final third.

Junior running back John Clay spent the second half of practice working with Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Herbert. Clay worked up a good sweat doing interval work on a treadmill, alternating sprinting and jogging.

"He got pretty good reps this morning and to me, he just needs to keep getting in better shape," Bielema said of Clay, who is not expected to compete in the scrimmage. "If he's not going we want to put him in a little bit of a workout phase."

Another change from the morning was at center. After being dropped from the first team in the morning practice because of several poor snaps, Peter Konz was back at center with the first-team offense in the evening.

"The good news is we have some depth there," Bielema said. "Pete, by no means, is anointed the starting center or anointed to be a guy who can snap the ball for us. He needs to get that corrected and move on."

Saturday's scrimmage will go a long way to determining the depth chart as UW shifts its focus from fall camp to game preparation for UNLV.

Scary moment for Smith

A scary moment came late in practice during a two-minute drill situation. Junior cornerback Devin Smith, playing with the second team defense, slid to try and intercept a Jon Budmayr pass. Smith's right knee appeared to buckle as he went to the ground. Smith stayed down grabbed for his knee and teammates immediately called for the training staff.

After being attended to for several minutes, Smith was able to walk off the field under his own power.

"Devin, everything was [fine]. I think it scared him," Bielema said. "Anytime you have something that's not right and you haven't felt that before… but everything checked out there for him."

While Smith was out, freshman Jameson Wright took his place in the secondary.

Current sidelined

Center Jake Current did not practice after undergoing an operation on his knee earlier in the day to repair damage from a previous injury. Bielema said the surgery was successful and that Current would be out about three weeks.

Alex Dietzen will join the team in Current's place to fill out the 105-man roster.

Sorensen back

Linebacker Blake Sorensen was back in action for the first time since Monday. Sorensen did some lateral agility work before joining the defense in situational practice.

"[He] wanted to give it a go today and played in limited fashion down there in the red zone and looked pretty good," Bielema said. "A lot will depend on how he comes back tomorrow … but for sure he should be ready to go by Monday of next week."

Scholarship count

Bielema acknowledged the staff is looking at the potential of awarding scholarships to a limited number of walk-ons. The exact number is still up in the air, contingent on the number of available scholarships from players who have left the program.

"The scholarship count is in a moving transition," Bielema said. "By NCAA rules, some of those guys who signed scholarships but, if they move on to other institutions, we can use those scholarships."

An example would be Shelby Harris, who was removed from the program and has yet to latch on to a new place.

Like placement on the depth chart, walk-ons who show well during Saturday's scrimmage could find themselves with a scholarship.

"We'll have a big scrimmage tomorrow afternoon," Bielema said. "We'll have a heavy personnel meeting Sunday morning that really discusses where were at with true freshmen and then also if there's anyone out there who merits a scholarship for this upcoming season."

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