Bielema looks back at week one

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March 19, 2010

MADISON, Wis. -- After four spring practices, head coach Bret Bielema talks about some players that have impressed him, how the offense and defense are progressing and what the Badgers hope to see in their Saturday scrimmage.

Spring Practice Reports
No. 1 - Saturday, March 13
No. 2 - Monday, March 15
No. 3 - Tuesday, March 16
No. 4 - Thursday, March 18

What are your overall impressions of the first week of spring practice?
"I've been pretty impressed with the way that they have just handled their business. Every day has been a little bit different; we were limited at first because of the no pads. I thought they really tried to concentrate on the fundamentals and the basics of football IQ that we try to stress. As far as the first day in full pads, getting used to being hit, especially offensively and the ball security was something they needed to improve. We made a huge jump yesterday and are excited for the scrimmage on Saturday."

How has the offense looked?
"With the guys that are gone, the talented offensive linemen we don't have in Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt and also Peter Konz in that mix, it's been kind of amazing to me to see the progress that some of those younger guys have made that haven't really been involved in the heat of the action. Then John Clay not being there, the reps that Zach Brown and Montee Ball have had have been very, very good. You can see that Lance Kendricks is doing everything he can to improve, Nick Toon continues to strive to be better and just some consistency. Obviously Scott's (Tolzien) made some progress, but I have been really pleased with the progression of Curt Phillips and also Jon Budmayr is throwing the ball very, very well."

Does the fact that all three quarterbacks have some experience make practice run a little more smoothly?
"This is the third spring ball for Curt Phillips, and the second spring ball for Jon Budmayr. So for those guys, even though they haven't been on the field, especially Jon, they have heard this before they been through it before and now it seems like old hat."

What about the defense?
"There's a couple of guys that have stood out. J.J. Watt continues to get better, but the development of Louis Nzegwu and David Gilbert, that's a great competition going on right now. Inside-wise Jordan Kohout has kind of jumped out a little bit with what he's been able to do at the defensive tackle position.

"At linebacker, two guys that we really haven't seen much of, Kevin Rouse and Kevin Claxton, you can see that they have enjoyed contact and continue to get better. And then Rouse and Blake Sorenson have really stepped their game up as well.

"On the back end with a new coach that's probably been the biggest adjustments. There's been flashes when I thought Aaron Henry did some good things. At the corner position I have been seeing good plays, but some negative plays as well so it's something we're just trying to get better at it."

What do you hope to see in the scrimmage tomorrow?
"I hope to see every guy that starts practice, end practice. We want to stay healthy. We are going to put them in some situations we want, first and 10, play second down so it teaches them how important success on first down is. We want to gain four or more yards offensively and stop them for three or less defensively so that's the teaching of the game there. We'll also probably get some red zone stuff in there, where we will put the ball inside the 20 yard line and see who can, A) come away with points or B) deny points. And then we'll have a little bit of move the ball series as well that teaches them fundamental football and the importance of field position in the ball game."

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