Practice Report No. 16

IMG_0510.jpgWisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said on Friday night that Saturday's practice/scrimmage would be "big" to him. After two-and-a-half hours on Saturday in full pads in the hot sun, he likely has a good idea as to who will contribute to the team in the 2010 season. Addressing the team afterward, he said there was great competition on the field, and they'll have great film to work with.

The team doesn't practice on Sunday, but it will still be at Camp Randall Stadium to take part in Family Fun Day.

Defense holds ground in scrimmage
After a bit of individual work and other practice situations, the team moved in to scrimmage mode. Following a series of first and second-down plays, the units moved on to full "move the ball" drill. The No. 1 units got two series, while the No. 2s went for three. Each drive saw the offense get down field, but the defense was able to get them out of the end zone.

Things started with the No. 1 offense and the No. 1 defense starting at the offense's 20-yard line. Running back Montee Ball got the first three carries and picked up 13 total yards. Three plays later, the offense faced a third-and-eight at its own 35, but Scott Tolzien found Kyle Jefferson for 19 yards to move the opposing 46. Another first down was followed by a false start penalty, making it first-and-15 at the defense's 37. Then came the highlight of the drive, if not the entire practice, as John Clay took the handoff to left and barreled over both Shelton Johnson and Niles Brinkley. The play went for nine yards and seemed to energize the offense, but Antonio Fenelus put a stop to that, making a great play to intercept Tolzien's pass on the very next play.

The No. 2 units were up for the next two series. The defense forced an initial three-and-out thanks to a near-interception by Dezmen Southward, a dropped pass by Sherard Cadogan and a pass breakup down the sidelines with double coverage by Devin Smith and Adam Hampton. The second drive looked more promising for the offense as running back James White gained four yards on his first run, then took off the right side and emerged 29 yards later for the longest play of the day. The drive stalled from there though as defensive tackle Kyle Costigan batted down a pass at the line on third-and-two.

The No. 1s took to the field again, and once again the offense gained good yardage before the defense held its ground. The drive started at the offense's 24-yard line and began with a five-yard run by Clay, followed by gains of nine and 20 yards by Jefferson. An eight-yard run by Clay moved it down to the defense's 34, but Louis Nzegwu tackled Ball for a four-yard loss. A 10-yard reception by Lance Kendricks kept the drive alive, and Ball later gained four yards on third-and-two to keep the chains moving. Chris Borland then dropped Ball for a loss of two, and a pass breakup in the end zone brought up third down. Fenelus came through again for the defense, this time sacking Tolzien on a corner blitz.

The No. 2 offense got one more drive and started strong thanks to an eight-yard grab by Jared Abbrederis. Two plays later, Abbrederis struck again, making a leaping grab to gain 23 yards. Defensive end Pat Muldoon came up with a sack on the next play and, after an incompletion, safety Josh Peprah picked off a deflected pass to end the drive.

Backed up
The next two drives saw the offenses backed up deep in their own territory. Starting at its own two-yard line, the No. 1 offense gave the ball to Clay two plays in a row and he gained five and four yards, respectively. They went to the well one more time, but defensive tackle Ethan Hemer snuffed the play out and brought down Clay for a loss.

White again showed his explosiveness on the next drive as, after gaining three yards, took a handoff up the middle for an additional 26. The drive stalled from there as an incompletion was followed by a tackle for loss and a pass breakup by Smith.

Offenses come through in the red zone
Moving to red zone work, the offenses scored on both series to even things out a bit.
Going against the No. 2 defense, the No. 1 offense needed just three plays to score from the 18-yard line. It started with a pass to Isaac Anderson who spun to the outside and gained 15 yards. Two plays later, Ball plunged in from a yard out to get the score.

White helped the No. 2 offense move the ball against the No. 1 defense, rushing for 13 yards on a second-and-eight from the 16-yard line. After two goal line stops, quarterback Jon Budmayr used a play action to freeze the defense before finding Jake Byrne open for a touchdown.

No. 1 units stay strong
Going again against the No. 2 defense, the No. 1 offense used multiple big plays to find the end zone. Things looked dire to start as the drive, which began at the offense's 24-yard line, saw a false start, tackle for loss and dropped pass make it third-and-16. After a nice pump fake, Tolzien found Jefferson for a big 32-yard gain to midfield. Anderson gained another seven yards on an end around before Tolzien threw to Nick Toon for a 21-yard pickup. On the very next play, White took a sweep right, made a nice cutback and was in the end zone from 22 yards out.

The No. 1 defense then forced a three-and-out against the No. 2 defense, using an incompletion, tipped pass and team sack to get the job done.
ON WISCONSIN