MADISON -- Tuesday's practice at Camp Randall Stadium saw a mix of weather. While a stiff wind blew throughout the practice, players encountered plenty of sun and a brief rain shower in their preparation for the season. The defense showed its continued improvement throughout practice, while the offense displayed its air presence.
Notably, one quarterback was left out of the mix in Joel Stave. Stave had a MRI on his shoulder Monday and is being held out of for the rest of spring practice in hopes of being ready for the summer. Last week, Stave detailed the treatments he had been undergoing and how he was trying to only do what his shoulder would allow. The junior quarterback was declared the starter at the beginning of the spring by coach Gary Andersen, but was held out of practice until after spring break.
"I've never done this to my shoulder. It's just something that I am learning. Something that I am figuring out and it's something I've had to deal with.
"I'll ice it and massage it and try to get some laser therapy. It's just a matter of trying to throw what I can throw in practice and being smart with it outside of football."
As Stave recuperates from the injury suffered in the Capital One Bowl, Tanner McEvoy has a golden opportunity to make the most of what will be the majority of first-team reps. Over the last two weeks, it has become clear that the quarterback race has narrowed from four possible starters to two: Stave and McEvoy. The latter will have the opportunity to run with the first-team offense and showcase his progress Saturday at the annual spring game benefitting the School of Education.
On defense, the Badgers displayed a 3-3-5 defense, which was previously unseen. The scheme featured Chikwe Obasih, Warren Herring and Konrad Zagzebski on the defensive line. The linebacking group consisted of Derek Landish, Joe Schobert and Marcus Trotter. The overloaded secondary showcased Sojourn Shelton, Darius Hillary and Devin Gaulden at cornerback and Mike Caputo and Peniel Jean at safety. The defensive set was used against scout-team quarterback Connor Senger.
Two weeks ago, Andersen said that he would start to implement game plans for the season-opener vs. LSU Aug. 30 in Houston. Senger ran mainly read-options, which could be in preparation for LSU's projected starter and dual-threat quarterback, Anthony Jennings.
- Peniel Jean lined up opposite Mike Caputo at the other safety position with the first team.
- Wide receiver Robert Wheelwright returned to practice and was an active participant. Fellow receiver Jordan Fredrick was out of the sling he was in last week.
- Herring did run a few plays at defensive end in the 3-3-5, with Arthur Goldberg at nose tackle.
- Senger ran a set of read-options against the first-team defense.
- Quarterback D.J. Gillins received 10 reps in the media portion of practice. He was 5-for-5, including a deep 35-yard pass to Kenzel Doe. Gillins also had one designed run, which went for 15 yards, and a 5-yard scramble. He also ran the option on one play.
- Quarterback Bart Houston took four reps and went 1-for-2 through the air. The defense got a sack and a hurry on his incompletion. Houston looked discombobulated and was pulled after a false start was committed by his offensive line and confusion arose while he was in the huddle. Gillins replaced him for one play and then Houston was inserted again.
- McEvoy commanded the first-team offense, totaling 14 reps. He was 3-for-5 and hurried once by the defense, but looked composed. An option and quarterback read were called for McEvoy, as well as a designed quarterback run.
- Derek Watt lined up at "U Back" a few times, in a slot receiver position.