"I give our guys kudos," Bret Bielema said. "Guys know they are going to come out and work. I thought they had tempo, really crisp in what they were doing, did good things offensively and defensively and I just admire the way they respect (each other).
Bielema plans to run a short scrimmage at the end of tomorrow's practice, the last day practice is open to the media, involving move the ball, red zone, goal line and possibly short yardage situation.
"As I told them, there's no more important day than tomorrow," Bielema said. "There's nothing more important on our radar than tomorrow' practice. I think they buy into that."
Red Zone Offense
First-and-10 on the 19 – Play-action fake to Montee Ball and a naked bootleg sucked the defense to the far right side of the field. Scott Tolzien had little problem throwing the ball to a wide-open Ball on the five-yard line and watching the sophomore waltz into the end zone.
First-and-10 on the 19 – A handoff to Ball around the left side went for no game, as good closing speed by J.J. Watt and Patrick Butrym iced up the play. Second-and-10 on the 19 – Incomplete pass to the right. Thrown just out of Toon's reach in heavy coverage. Third-and-10 on the 19 – Heavy coverage forced Tolzien to throw the pass out of the back of the end zone.
First-and-10 on the 19 – Heavy traffic in the middle of the field for the second-team offense allowed James White to get just two yards. Second-and-8 on the 17 – Jon Budmayr had Kyle Jefferson on a fade route to the corner of the end zone, but Budmayr led Jefferson a touch to far. Niles Brinkley was right there with Jefferson to provide a tough throwing lane. Third-and-8 on the 17 – Kevin Claxton knocked the ball out Jacob Pedersen's hands and into the air, allowing freshman safety Josh Peprah to make the pick. First-and-10 on the 19 – A run by John Clay to the right only managed one-yard against the first-team defense. Second-and-9 on the 18 – Similar play, same result for Clay, who could find no running room. Third-and-9 on the 18 – Solid pressure from the defensive line forced the first sack of the drill, keeping Tolzien from connecting with Jefferson in the end zone.
First-and-10 on the 19 – A crossing pass to Manasseh Garner from Budmayr yielded the offense a six-yard gain on first down against the second-team defense. Second-and-4 on the 13 – James White muscled his way behind the left tackle and made a lot crash when he ran into Ethan Armstrong, but got the first down. First-and-10 on the 10 – Budmayr's five-step drop was good, but he put too much air under a throw that nearly landed in the stands. Second-and-10 on the 10 – Good coverage from the secondary forced Budmayr to throw the ball away. Third-and-10 on the 10 – From the shotgun, Budmayr started to take off running and then found freshman Isaiah Williams camped just passed the goal line for the score. It was Williams' first unofficial catch in team drills since the media was allowed in.
First-and-15 on the 24 – After a false start by Ryan Groy pushed UW back five yards, a screen pass to White got UW back near the original line of scrimmage. Second-and-10 on the 10 – W juking run from White to the right side managed to get UW some extra yards for a manageable third-down situation. Third-and-5 on the 15 – One-on-one with Devin Smith, Toon used his distinct size advantage to haul in the touchdown pass. It was evident it was a play the two had worked on, Tolzien throwing the pass high and deep into the end zone to allow Toon to go and catch it.
Down five with 1 minute, 54 seconds to go, Budmayr had 68 yards to go for the score and only one timeout. After some disorganized chaos and short gains over the middle, Budmayr thought he had a big gain to Williams on the right sideline, but Antonio Fenelus provided good coverage and ripped the ball out on the way to the turf.
It was downhill from there. One play later, Kevin Claxton nearly had an interception, jumping a route in the flat and bobbling the pass and Budmayr, will UW resetting the drill, threw six straight incompletions and was sacked by A.J. Fenton on third-and-10 with eight seconds left.
When the first-team offense was put in the same position, Tolzien quickly hit Abbrederis and Toon for back-to-back 10-yard gains and first downs. Tolzien then hit Abbrederis over the middle for a 19-yard gain and saw the redshirt freshman get out of bounds with 83 seconds left and the ball on the 27.
"I really stressed to Del (Alexander) how much I want to get him (Abbrederis) involved," Bielema said. "He's a guy that continues to excel past what we think he could do. Anytime he had a dropped ball that first week or two of camp, I let him have it because for him to play, he can't drop a ball. He needs to make every catch thrown his way and he's been like glue the last five, six practices."
When UW tried to get creative running the hook and ladder (ala Boise State in 2007 Fiesta Bowl), Lance Kendricks made the pitch too high and behind the receiver, sending the ball to the turf and allowing Dezmen Southward to scoop and recover for the defense with over 70 seconds left on the clock.
Plays of the Day
The best catches of the day come courtesy of Nick Toon. He registered the catch of the night in 7-on-7 skelly drills. On a crossing route, Tolzien threw behind the junior, but Toon reached his right arm back to slow the ball down, give a slight tip to himself and haul in the pass, barely breaking stride in the process.
Then after the hook-and-ladder fumble, Tolzien's offense got one more chance with less than 15 seconds left. Tolzien got inside the 25 with one second left for one final play. Airing the ball in the end zone, Toon made a leaping catch between two defenders and came down with the ball for the winning score.
From the Infirmary
Senior guard Bill Nagy (concussion) and freshman tackle Casey Dehn did not practice in full drills Monday night, but were in full uniform and took place in blocking drills and against the one-man sled. Bielema expects Nagy back Wednesday barring no issues. Kevin Zeitler (ankle sprain) is still three or four days away.
Seniors Culmer St. Jean (ankle), David Gilreath (mild concussion) and Isaac Anderson (turf toe) are day-to-day. Senior Jay Valai (concussion) is still out but hopes to return sometime this week after doing some drills Monday night.
"(He's) real close," Bielema said of Valai, "and of course, Jay wants to be out here sooner than later."
After missing a week's worth of practice, redshirt freshman Jordan Kohout returned in the morning session and immediately starting mixing things up in the middle.
"Jordan was like a kid in a candy store," said Bielema. "He was all excited. He did a little jump around after his first tackle. The next thing about Jordan is that he just wants to be out here so bad. It's apparent when he's out here that he's playing at such a different level with those fresh legs …He hasn't done anything for seven days while guys have been doing two a days. It makes a huge different."
Bielema went on to say that the defensive tackle position has grown the most from the first to the second scrimmage. Bielema expects Beau Allen, Eriks Briedis, Patrick Butrym, Kohout and Pat Muldoon to be involved in the rotation.
Extra Points: John Moffitt worked at center for the second straight practice, a move Bielema said was due to injuries. Travis Frederick started at left guard … With Gilreath sitting out practice, freshmen Jared Abbrederis and James White fielded punts. "The thing I like in the punt return game is he can get vertical in a hurry," Bielema said of White. "James has got very nice ability and because he is a little smaller in stature, he gets lost (and) you can't find him."