UW Health Sports Medicine 

Practice Report No. 1

The 2010 football season is officially underway for the University of Wisconsin football team as the Badgers held their first team practice of the season on Monday afternoon inside Camp Randall Stadium.

The heat was sweltering as the players went helmets-only for 28 periods. "They were popping around and flying around and giving it their best," head coach Bret Bielema said of the team's first practice. "But the part that we emphasize is that everyone feels good on day one, day two and day three, but if we take care of today it makes day 30 that much better. We can't jump to that date but we have to understand the process and continue to take care of every day."

Getting off on the right foot
If you're one to believe in omens, then Monday's first play in seven-on-seven action should bode well for the Badgers in 2010. Senior quarterback Scott Tolzien dropped back to pass and lofted a perfectly thrown ball down the sidelines to a streaking David Gilreath for a long completion.

The catch was just one of several nice receptions made by Gilreath. The senior wide receiver also made a tough grab falling forward while a defensive back pressured him from behind. Later in the skelly drill, facing at least double coverage, the Minneapolis, Minn., native leapt high into the air to haul in another long completion, this time from redshirt freshman Jon Budmayr.

Freshmen getting acclimated
For most of the players, Monday was an opening to another college football season. But for the freshmen on the team, it was the beginning to their college football careers.

There were some definite growing pains for the first-year players as they had to deal with lining up correctly, hanging on to the ball and hustling enough for the coaching staff; not to mention dealing with the new speed of the game. However, the new class has shown potential to some of the players.

"J.J. Watt got up in front of the team last night and talked about different aspects of the team and one of the things he emphasized was how impressed he was with the freshmen group and the way they came in and worked and hit the ground running," Bielema said.

Learning from the heat
Temperatures hovered in the upper 80s and lower 90s on Monday, but conditions were even hotter down on the field. While it may have been uncomfortable to some, it did serve as a good educational tool.
After practice, head football trainer Gary Johnson spoke of the importance of keeping hydrated and that for every pound lost, 20 ounces of water or sports drink needed to be consumed. Strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert echoed similar sentiments as he strongly urged the players to continue to stretch, take ice baths and do everything necessary to combat the heat and keep their bodies in top shape.

"I was really hoping we'd get this kind of stuff, maybe not to this extreme, but it's going to educate our guys on taking care of it and because of the NCAA rule that you can only have one practice a day for the first week, it should work out pretty good," Bielema said.

Battling back from injury
Players who dealt with offseason injuries were all out on the field on Monday, including running back John Clay, linebackers Mike Taylor and Chris Borland, defensive lineman Pat Muldoon and quarterback Curt Phillips.

"John did well," Bielema noted. "I thought he was moving around, especially early on, I was excited to see how he how well was running.

"Curt Phillips has just continued to be ahead of the curve and really continues to feel good. I spent the last 10 minutes, as the freshmen were working, standing right next to Curt and he was just excited about how good he felt and how well he was moving around."

Phillips was wearing a brace on his injured knee, but he wasn't the only quarterback to don the protective gear. No, no new players have gotten hurt, but the team is doing it as a precaution. All the quarterbacks in camp are wearing braces on their respective front leg so as to guard against injury while they are in such a vulnerable position. Bielema said the tactic came from offensive coordinator Paul Chryst's time at Oregon State.