Wisconsin practice report: Joel Stave, Curt Phillips still battling; Jeff Lewis back at running back

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Just 11 days from the season opener, Wisconsin has yet to name a starting quarterback. There aren't many more reps to go around before game week, and Joel Stave and Curt Phillips still appear just as likely as the other to start against UMass.

It appears Monday's scrimmage still wasn't enough to decide Wisconsin's quarterback battle, as Joel Stave and Curt Phillips shared first-team reps again during Tuesday afternoon's media viewing period.

Phillips took the first rep during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Tuesday, but it's difficult to read too much into that. Tanner McEvoy -- who received some first-team work Friday -- wasn't part of the Phillips/Stave grouping at any point during Tuesday's viewing period. With less than two weeks before the season opener, one would think a decision would be on the horizon.

Injury news:

-- Center Dan Voltz (sore hamstring) was in pads Tuesday but did not participate in any drills during the 50-minute media viewing period.

-- Outside linebacker Ethan Armstrong was on the field again after returning to practice Monday. He called his injury, sustained during the first week of fall camp -- a "little knee issue" that the team wanted to be cautious with.

-- According to 247sports.com's Evan Flood, freshman offensive lineman Jackson Keeler was carted off the field during Tuesday's practice with what he said looked like a leg or ankle injury.

Notes and observations:

-- Jeff Lewis, who the Badgers were experimenting with at safety, was back at running back.

-- With Voltz out again, left guard Dallas Lewallen moved over to center during 11-on-11 drills, Ryan Groy played left guard and Tyler Marz came in at left tackle.

-- Armstrong spoke on the Badgers' defensive potential after practice, noting the system has proven it can produce a top unit -- head coach Gary Andersen and co. ranked 14th nationally in total defense last season at Utah State. If everyone buys in, Armstrong said, Wisconsin could find itself among the top defenses in the country this year.

"If we play well and play with great effort, I know we can be a top defense in the country," Armstrong said. "It's totally on us. We have to go out and we have to prove it every single game."

-- Wide receiver Jordan Fredrick was back returning punts with running back James White and fellow receiver Jared Abbrederis.

-- The offensive line struggled at times in pass protection during 11-on-11 drills. It led to more inaccurate throws from both Phillips and Stave than during the 7-on-7 period, when both looked very sharp.

-- Michael Caputo was again taking first-team reps over freshman Leo Musso at free safety alongside Dezmen Southward. He said after practice that the competition was friendly and that everyone at safety has aspects they need to improve on.

-- Wisconsin ran a few five-wide plays during 11-on-11 drills with White or Melvin Gordon split out in the slot. It will be interesting to see how much the Badgers will want to use their running backs to bolster the passing attack this season.

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