UW Health Sports Medicine 

Spring practice report No. 4

In the midst of the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the Wisconsin football team tended to business as usual. The Badgers held their fourth spring practice in half-pack (shoulder pads, helmets and shorts) for 24 periods. For the second straight practice, Wisconsin was outside in Camp Randall for a breezy 60-degree day under the sun.

Practice No. 4 Photo Gallery

Stepping up in the Red Zone
The defense had another solid day with three interceptions during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 today. With an emphasis in making red zone stops, all three picks came when the offense was inside the 20-yard line.

During skelly (7-on-7), Devin Smith had a one-handed interception in the back of the end zone, fighting off Nick Toon to pick off the pass. Culmer St. Jean got the second pick of the day during 11-on-11 jumping in front of Isaac Anderson near the goal line.

"It was a long drive, the offense was driving and the red zone is where most points happen, 7 or 3, so getting the ball out of there and getting it back is definitely a good stop for our defense," said St. Jean.

Video highlights and post-practice interviews with LB Culmer St. Jean, DB Devin Smith and DT Patrick Butrym

Marcus Cromartie capped practice with a pick on the final play. Kevin Claxton tipped the ball, taking a hit from Jared Abbrederis and Cromartie caught the tip to get the turnover.  
During positional drills, new defensive back coach Chris Ash emphasized to his players to keep their eyes up. Looks like it paid off.

Practice4_11.jpgNext man in
With running back John Clay out, running backs coach John Settle has a small group to work with in Montee Ball, Zach Brown and Bradie Ewing. During 11-on-11, Ball and Brown each saw a lot of reps which seems to be paying off, both finding holes for big gains.

Ball had a good read breaking down the middle to get into the open field. Before practice was over, Brown also got in on the action. He broke off the line going down the left side for a big gain before getting pushed out of bounds. Ewing made his mark in the passing game, gaining nearly 20 yards on a pass from quarterback Jon Budmayr

Finding his sweet spot
Offensively Lance Kendricks had a good outing, finding his sweet spot in the back of the end zone. First Budmayr found him for the score during 11-on-11 drills inside the red zone and then quarterback Scott Tolzien connected on another touchdown in the back corner of the end zone during 11-on-11. He made both catches look easier than they were.

Showing some leg
The punting unit got its first live action of spring ball, giving Brad Nortman a chance to show off his leg. An unofficial average of Nortman's punts sailed approximately 40 yards into the wind. Before they wrapped up, Nortman hit his long which nearly cleared 60 yards, again kicking into the wind.

This and That
Not too many guests at practice today, however, the Badgers had a familiar visitor in former safety Chris Maragos.

J.J. Watt did a touchdown celebration during a water break that included jumping up and slamming the football over the goal post.

Next up
The majority of Saturday's practice will be a live scrimmage with officials present. UW's fifth practice starts at 10:15 a.m. and will likely be back indoors on the practice field in the McClain Center with the forecast calling for snow.