Spring practice report No. 13

Thursday afternoon marked the final full practice session before Saturday's spring game. There is still one more practice tomorrow, scheduled to go 18 periods in helmets only. The Badgers spent 24 periods in full pads outside in Camp Randall Stadium amidst blustery conditions.

Practice No. 13 Photo Gallery

"It was a good day today," head coach Bret Bielema said. "Tomorrow we'll back off actually and go helmets only."

Watch highlights and Coach Bielema's post-practice interview

Getting defensive
After spending the first several periods working at their respective positions, the Badgers broke into a 1st and 10 drill. A few standout defensive plays highlighted the drill.

FS Aaron Henry got it started as he came all the way to the opposite side of the field to snuff out an end-around to WR David Gilreath, while DL Ethan Hemer broke through on a pitch right to disrupt the backfield.

Later in practice, the No. 1 defense went up against the No. 2 offense. On a fake handoff, end-around, DE Louis Nzegwu was able to get deep penetration and bring down Gilreath for a big loss.

In a situational drill, a sideline pass featured a showdown between TE Lance Kendricks and CB Niles Brinkley. As Kendricks went up to haul in the pass, Brinkley was able to punch it out, much to the delight of his teammates and coaches.

SS Jay Valai had the big hit of the day as he walloped RB Montee Ball as Ball tried to run off the left tackle. Since it was practice, it wasn't a full-on hit from Valai, but it did create a loud pop and knocked Ball off balance.

Practice13_12.jpgOffensive showcase
The defense had some nice plays on Thursday, but the offense certainly had its share as well.

In the red zone skeleton drill, the first play featured QB Scott Tolzien using play action to find an open WR Kyle Jefferson in the corner of the end zone for a score.

Later, as the No. 1 offense faced off against the No. 1 defense, another play action resulted in another score. This time, Tolzien used the deception to fit a deep pass into WR Isaac Anderson who snuck past the secondary.

In the same sequence that saw the aforementioned play by Nzegwu, redshirt freshman QB Jon Budmayr put some nice touch on a deep pass to TE Zach Davison.

Red Zone
The Badgers spent a little time towards the end of practice on Red Zone. SS Jay Valai started the drill with a big pop on RB Montee Ball. The No. 1 offense did find the end zone once, on about a 15-yard crossing route from QB Scott Tolzien to WR David Gilreath after a nice play fake by Tolzien. The defense held its own for the rest of the drill, including three plays inside the 10-yard line.

The No. 2 offense also managed one score with QB Jon Budmayr finding WR Kyle Jefferson for a bout a 10-yard scoring strike. LB A.J. Fenton started the drill with a nice hit on RB Kyle Zuleger but then Zuleger came through on a big third down run.

2-minute drill
The No. 1 offense started on their own 30-yard line and drove to the defense's 41. Facing a 4th-and-2, Tolzien scrambled for about 10-yards and got out of bounds. A 20-yard pass to TE Lance Kendricks got the offense inside the 15-yard line. With four seconds left, the offense had the ball on the 10-yard line for one last shot. Tolzien lofted a pass for Jefferson in the corner of the end zone but CB Devin Smith was able to jump with Jefferson and break it up.

When the No. 2 offense and defense squared off, Budmayr quickly led the offense to the 38-yard line with a pair of completions to Duckworth and WR Jared Abbrederis. Facing a 4th-and-10, head coach Bret Bielema awarded the offense a first down at about the 25-yard line. DE David Gilbert ended the day with an interception on the next play, however.

Injury updates
Senior OL John Moffitt was back at practice and participating in drills on Thursday after recovering from hernia surgery. Bielema expects Moffitt to be in the lineup Saturday.

The same cannot be said for WR Nick Toon. He likely will not play after being banged up in last Saturday's practice.

Junior RB John Clay was seen off his crutches for the first time on Thursday since undergoing surgery on his right ankle.

This and that
Former UW defensive back Jack Ikegwuonu was in attendance at practice on Thursday, he spent time talking with Toon, Bielema and his fellow defensive backs, amongst others.

He may be sitting out this spring, but linebacker Chris Borland still showed his athleticism. As the team was taking a water break, Borland was seen catching one-handed passes of the jugs machine. 

ON WISCONSIN