August 19, 2009

Revamped offensive line on display

MADISON, Wis. - When Gabe Carimi suffered an injury Tuesday afternoon, it was unclear how it would affect an already bruised offensive line. During Wednesday morning's practice, though, members of the media got a glimpse of how the team will proceed in the apparent two weeks the junior left tackle will be out.

Anchoring the line to start practice were Ricky Wagner at left tackle, Jake Current at left guard, Peter Konz at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard and Josh Oglesby at right tackle.

Jake Bscherer, the normal starting left guard appeared to be under the weather during the morning practice. It remains unclear whether the UW coaching staff will shuffle the line around and possibly move Bscherer out to left tackle, or keep Wagner out there until Carimi returns.

Skeleton drill:

All three of the quarterbacks vying for the starting job took part in the skeleton throwing drill. Curt Phillips logged the majority of the snaps as he threw 10 passes, completing six. To his credit, however, one of his four misses was a drop by freshman tight end Brian Wozniak.

Dustin Sherer went second in the drill and completed all five of his throws, including a deep pass to Jeff Duckworth who slipped behind the coverage of Kevin Claxton.

Finally, Scott Tolzien, who has looked sharp throughout the week, completed five-of-six passes including a pass across the middle to Kraig Appleton who returned to practice after tweaking his hamstring last Friday. The only incompletion during Tolzien's session was a dropped pass by tight end Zach Davison.

Players returning to practice:

-The aforementioned Appleton returned to practice and played fairly well after a four day layoff. The freshman wide receiver is a huge target for the Badger quarterbacks and is not afraid to mix it up across the middle. Maybe, though, that has something to do with the team not tackling.

-Kevin Rouse returned to practice after Wednesday. Though he didn't have a major impact on practice, he did show a few flashes on run blitzes and in pass coverage. However, he received an earful from defensive coordinator Dave Doeren when he failed to get off a block and make a tackle on the sideline.

-Bradie Ewing returned to practice, as did Kyle Jefferson. On the flip side, Bill Nagy, who head coach Bret Bielema said could potentially return by the end of the week, remained on the sidelines during Wednesday's morning practice. Joining him were Brendan Kelly, Jake Byrne, Mike Taylor, Conor O'Neill, Dan Cascone and John Moffitt.

Move the ball drill:

The final drill of practice featured a move the ball drill where the offense would go as far as it could as long as they it continued picking up first downs. During the drill, neither Phillips nor Tolzien were able to lead the team to a touchdown. Phillips had the best chance, but threw an interception in the end zone after Shelton Johnson slipped in front of the receiver on the intended jump pass.

It was an interesting development to see the jump pass in play during a scrimmage portion of practice. During practice earlier in the week, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was working with the quarterbacks on the Tim Tebow specialty play. However, after seeing the result when in action, only time will tell if they keep it in the playbook.

The Badgers will hit the field inside Camp Randall again Wednesday night. Stay tuned to BadgerBlitz.com for another practice report following the nightcap.

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