Practice Report No. 15

The high temperatures from Friday morning's session were washed away by a cool rainstorm on Friday night, forcing the Wisconsin football team inside the McClain Center. The team practiced for 18 periods in spiders (helmets/light shoulder pads) as a reward for their strong morning practice, as well as in preparation for Saturday's practice and scrimmage.

"One of the things we did earlier was we said that if they practiced well this morning, we were going to give them a break this evening," head coach Bret Bielema said. "We put them in spiders, and it's amazing how if you give them a little break like that, how good they feel.

"I thought there was good tempo out here today. We practiced certain situations, especially end-of-game."

The team hits the field at 2:35 p.m. tomorrow afternoon for a 30-period practice in full pads.

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On the mend
A few players returned to action on Friday night after battling injuries. Linebacker Blake Sorensen and defensive linemen Jordan Kohout and Eriks Briedis all participated in drills to varying degrees.

"Jordan Kohout came in," Bielema said. "I don't know if we'll see him tomorrow, but he's going to be ready to roll next week.

"Same with Eriks Briedis; he'll try to go tomorrow, but I don't know how much we'll get out of him."

Kohout was sidelined with a bone bruise in his knee, while Briedis went down yesterday with an unspecified knee injury.

"Blake Sorensen wanted to give it a go today," Bielema added. "He played in a limited fashion down in the red zone and looked pretty good. A lot of it will depend on how he comes back tomorrow, how much he does in the morning and in the afternoon session, but for sure he should be ready for Monday of next week."

In other injury-related news, offensive lineman Jake Current had knee surgery and will miss three-to-four weeks. In his place, redshirt freshman Alex Dietzen has joined the 105-man fall camp roster.

"Big" scrimmage set for Saturday
Tomorrow's 30-period practice will be divided up between a regular practice and scrimmage situations, and Bielema said the practice as a whole is big to him and he's looking to see which guys earn their spots.

"You take for instance Jay Valai, he's not going to practice so some safety has to step up," Bielema explained. "Whoever that guy is going to be, whether it's [Josh] Peprah, [Shelton] Johnson, Adam Hampton, or young linebackers between [Kevin] Rouse and A.J. Fenton, that's going to be an exciting time."

Speaking to the team after practice, Bielema said that he wants to see guys fighting to get those extra reps. Among positions he mentioned as having playing time up for grabs are safety with Valai's injury, wide receiver and tight end, because of Brian Wozniak's injury.

The scrimmage takes on added significance because, as Bielema told the players, on Sunday the coaching staff will gather to determine which players they see as being active contributors in the upcoming season.

In addition, Bielema echoed comments that former head coach and current director of athletics Barry Alvarez made to the team. Alvarez said that in order for the team to get better, individuals have to get better. Bielema said he's seen good things from a lot of guys, but he wants to see everyone take that next step.
ON WISCONSIN