April 9, 2009

Spring camp report: Day 10

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin football team returned to full pads during Thursday's outdoor practice. The approximately two-hour practice featured an intense red zone drill with a successful and boisterous defensive effort.

Injury report:

-John Clay sat out of practice with a lingering bone bruise on his ankle. The injury is not deemed too serious as the coaching staff hoped to hold him out of Thursday's practice so he can scrimmage Saturday.

"The reason we sat John today was to let him play Saturday," Bret Bielema said. "He's got a pretty tender, actually a helmet hit his ankle, so it's more of a soft tissue type deal than structural issue."

-Nick Toon started practice, but was soon pulled out after aggravating a hamstring issue. The injury did not seem to be serious and will likely return Saturday.

"He was real tight coming into it," Bielema said. "So, I told Del (DelVaughn Alexander) if he had any issues today, let's set him down and be able to use him on Saturday as well."

-Freshman quarterback Jon Budmayr tweaked his groin at some point during practice and did not participate in red zone drills at the end.

-Linebacker Mike Taylor received more reps Thursday and looked to be making an impact with the No. 2 linebackers.

"Mike was a little bit limited on Tuesday," Bielema said. "They didn't want him to have contact. I had him in a drill and he wouldn't stop making contact. I kept telling him to don't hit anybody and he'd just go hit somebody."

Red zone drill:

During Saturday's scrimmage, the Wisconsin defense played particularly well on the majority of the field, until they entered the red zone. Before that point, the tackling was solid and the offense had a difficult time moving the ball.

But once red zone drills started, it was like a totally different defense because they could not stop the offense at all.

On Thursday, though, it was clear from the start of the red zone drill that the entire defense was focused and determined to keep the offensive units out of the end zone. The No. 1 offense led by Dustin Sherer did not find the end zone at all during the drill.

"It shows us that we can do it," senior defensive end O'Brien Schofield said after practice. "It doesn't really show too much because we only did it once, but I think it's important that now we know we can do it and the coaches expect us to do it all the time."

Then, behind Scott Tolzien, the No. 2 offense could not get the ball across the goal line either. And finally, with Curt Phillips running the No. 1 offensive group, the No. 1 defense once again withstood the challenge and the defensive players were hooting and hollering the entire time.

"You saw the red zone, goal line part of it, the one part we struggled on defensively on Saturday," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "There were some adjustments as well as an opportunity to put in some new goal line stuff.

"I really like the way the defense responded at the end of practice."

Saturday scrimmage format:

Last week, the UW football team scrimmaged for over 90 plays, but only a small number of which were actually went with the movement of the ball. Regardless of the play's result, the ball was moved back to a designated yard line and done over.

This week, Bielema and the coaching staff are going to do it a bit different as they prepare for the upcoming spring game.

"The plan is right now to probably have the most realistic game like situations," Bielema said. "We're going to move the ball for the most part. If I don't get what I want specifically from the red zone or goal line, we may actually put them in that situation by the spot of the ball.

"But right now the intent is to put the ball on the 25 yard line and let them move the ball."

Up next:

The Badgers will have Friday off before returning Saturday morning for practice No. 11 of 15.

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