Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Evening Practice Report: August 17, 2011

Wednesday evening’s practice served as a bit of a calm before the storm for the Wisconsin football team, who are scheduled to undergo a full contact scrimmage Thursday afternoon.

Following the evening’s practice, head coach Bret Bielema said he came away pleased with the way the team handled its 14th and 15th practices on Wednesday. He told the media he “backed off” a little bit on the team, but expects full-speed on Thursday.

“I’d like to get somewhere around 50-60 snaps of high speed reps,” he said.


The Badgers donned only helmets and shoulder pads Wednesday night, save for the offensive linemen, who went in full pads.

News from infirmary

It was basically just the usual suspects that sat out the evening’s practice. Wide receivers Nick Toon (foot) and Manasseh Garner (hernia) watched, while right tackle Josh Oglesby and safety Aaron Henry rested, as is the norm for evening practices.

Cornerback Devin Smith, who did not finish the morning’s practice, again sat out, but arrived on field dressed in uniform.

Linebacker Mike Taylor dressed for practice for the first time since Monday night and only participated in individual and scout drills with the first-team defense. Fellow starting linebackers Chris Borland and Kevin Claxton followed the same regiment.

None of the three starting linebackers took part in 11-on-11 drills Wednesday night. Redshirt sophomore Ethan Armstrong and freshmen Derek Landisch and Josh Harrison took over in their stead.

Bielema expects Taylor and Borland to participate in tomorrow’s scrimmage while Toon will only do individual drills.

Offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler (ankle) and Rob Havenstein (ankle) dressed in full pads but did not scrimmage. The bulk of their activity Wednesday evening came by working separately with trainers on the sidelines, running sprints the width of the field and hitting a blocking dummy to test their ankles.

According to Bielema, quarterback Jon Budmayr’s return is still in “wait-and-see mode.” Bielema said the redshirt sophomore will undergo tests on his throwing elbow Monday or Tuesday of next week, where a clearer picture of his return may emerge.

From camp to kickoff

Early next week, Wisconsin will dip deeper into its preparation for the Sept. 1 season-opener versus UNLV and the rest of the season.

According to Bielema, the Badgers will start to put together scouting reports on the Rebels Sunday and on the following day, the team will vote on team captains.

Six fifth-year seniors attained captaincy last year.

Bielema also mentioned UW Athletic Director, and former football head coach, Barry Alvarez will address the team prior to Monday’s practice.

Defense exudes confidence

Throughout camp, UW’s defense has shown comfort in expressing itself audibly, and it’s easy to see the unit is feeling good about itself.

When the team was called together for the evening’s first scrimmage Wednesday night, there were a multitude of hoots and hollers coming from the white jerseys out of the excitement for the upcoming drill.

And whenever a defender made a solid play, you can bet it was be followed by cheers.

The offense is rather quiet in comparison – not to say it’s down on confidence or anything of the sort. UW’s offense knows it’s good and is ready to play.

But that defense sure does like to make noise.

Freshmen under focus

Bielema noted that he expects to figure out some lingering questions, especially in regards to the the freshman, during Thursday afternoon’s scrimmage.

Running back Melvin Gordon, cornerback Darius Hillary, tight end Sam Arneson, wide receivers Jordan Fredrick and Fred Willis and linebacker Landisch, were singled out as having caught the eye of Bielema as of late, and he’ll be looking closely to see how they handle another full-contact scrimmage.

Arneson has been impressive with his hands and Gordon’s speed and vision have turned heads. Bielema expects the two to see playing time this year.

Hemer holds his ground

After defensive tackle Jordan Kohout went down with a minor knee injury last year after starting the first seven games, Ethan Hemer stepped in and has yet to budge from the starting spot.

Hemer started the final six games of the 2010 season but heading into camp, Bielema anticipated Kohout to again challenge for the top spot.

Kohout’s been slowed by a hamstring injury this August, but even since his return, Hemer has continued to impress his head coach.

“Ethan’s playing at a high level,” Bielema said. “The thing I love about Ethan, he’s got incredible balance… he really stays on his feet well. Ethan is a tremendous worker, attitude and he’s got more athleticism than you think.”

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