Spring practice report No. 5

For the first time this spring, UW took part in a live scrimmage. After 45 minutes of individual drills, which included some work on the punt team, the Badgers took a water break and broke into their offensive and defensive units for some old-fashioned American football, complete with officials and tackling.

Practice No. 5 Photo Gallery

The scrimmage consisted of some situational play. It began with first and second down, where everything started at first-and-10 and the ball was spotted for second down wherever the result of the first down play was. Then the Badgers worked on third downs, starting with 3rd-and-2 and gradually moving the ball back to 3rd-and-12. There were then two drives (ones vs. ones and twos vs. twos) of "move the ball" (basically football as you would see in a game). Practice ended with some work in the red zone followed by about 10 plays for the No. 3 offense and defense.  

"I thought the scrimmage went well," head coach Bret Bielema said. "A couple guys jumped out. I think Jon (Budmayr) can throw the ball around pretty good, which is evident. Jared Abbrederis, if you've been watching practice, has really come along well at the wide receiver spot. It was also nice to see some hits on defense."

Head coach Bret Bielema's complete post-practice media session (video)

The defense set the tone on the very first play as CB Antonio Fenelus came up to drop RB Montee Ball for a two-yard loss on a toss play. Later in that series involving the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense, LB Kevin Rouse intercepted a pass from QB Scott Tolzien as the defensive line was pressuring Tolzien.

During the third-down drills, Tolzien hooked up with WR Kyle Jefferson for conversions on consecutive 3rd-and-long situations. Jon Budmayr also had a nice conversion of a 3rd-and-long, hitting fellow freshman Jeff Duckworth on about a 15-yard gain after he was flushed out of the pocket.

In the two drives of "move the ball" the defense won one and the offense won one. When the No. 1 offense and defense squared off, Fenelus ended the drive by intercepting Tolzien's pass on a rollout to the right.

The No. 2 offense got revenge when Budmayr marched them down the field for a score. Zach Brown got the drive started with a 12-yard scamper, cutting to the outside to find running room. Budmayr then hit Jefferson and TE Jacob Pederson each for about 12 yards. On first-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Ball looked as though he would score but DT Ethan Hemer came up with a big hit to keep him out of the end zone. Following a procedure penalty, Ball got his touchdown from six yards out, making a great cutback to hit pay dirt.

Practice5_7.jpgThe No. 1 offense got two cracks in the red zone drill and was 1-for-2. On the first drive, tight coverage by Fenelus on Nick Toon forced a 3rd-and-long. J.J. Watt then came up with a sack to halt the scoring threat.

On the next drive, Toon and Tolzien hooked up for about a 15-yard touchdown that was eerily reminiscent of Toon's "Play of the Year" http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/121109aal.html catch vs. Michigan last season. Matched up 1-on-1 with CB Devin Smith, Toon jumped over Smith and was able to come down with the ball despite Smith being flagged for pass interference.

When the No. 3 offense and the No. 3 defense squared off, WR Jared Abbrederis again came up with a big play, hauling in about a 60-yard touchdown pass from QB Nate Tice.

With only three healthy running backs in the spring, Bradie Ewing got his share of work and then some. Ewing lined up at fullback for many of the plays with the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses then saw some time at tailback with the No. 3s.

QB Curt Phillips and TE Brian Wozniak both left the scrimmage with injuries. Coach Bielema did not know the extent of the injuries after practice.

Faces in the Crowd
Among the large crowd in attendance to witness the scrimmage was Mike Tice, father of UW quarterback Nate Tice and offensive line coach for the Chicago Bears ... former UW assistant coach Jay Hayes, now the defensive line coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, was also in attendance ... former Badger players included Taylor Mehlhaff, Mickey Turner and Garrett Graham
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