MADISON -- Only 20-to-30 minutes' worth of the Wisconsin Badgers' scrimmage was accessible to media Monday afternoon, namely the last portion. On display were special teams, as both the punt and punt return teams took the field. Kenzel Doe was returning punts and looked very solid reeling them in. Sophomore wide receivers Alex Erickson caught some punts from Drew Meyer and P.J. Rosowski as well.
There was also a drive pitting what appeared to be the No. 3 offense and defenses against one another, as freshman quarterback D.J. Gillins flashed and drove the offense down the field, including a 10-yard completion to fellow true freshman George Rushing and a nice 38-yard scramble to set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Taiwan Deal.
So why was the main portion of the scrimmage not visible to the media? Head coach Gary Andersen wanted to keep various formations and potential information private before the Badgers face LSU on Aug. 30.
"We did a lot of things from a scheme standpoint that we want to definitely protect from an offensive side to a defensive side and a special teams side," Andersen said, "and I know it's your guy's job to cover it -- so if you see it, you're going to talk about it because it's your job. That's the real reason."
Andersen did disclose the team ran about 60-70 snaps, though he stated the team has a long way to go, especially with the players held out because of injuries.
No starting quarterback named
Of course, one of the first questions asked revolved around quarterbacks Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy. Andersen said both did some good things based on what he saw without watching film from Monday's scrimmage, but both were "put behind the sticks sometimes."
Neither quarterback received help from the wide receivers, who dropped some catches that could've propelled the team into scoring chances. The offense itself was just OK, per Andersen. Three turnovers were forced by the Badgers' defense that sat a number of potential starters and also had a touchdown, and there were offensive administrative penalties Andersen wasn't happy with.
Regardless of whom may have played better under center Monday, Andersen -- who will have significant input in the decision along with offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig -- said they didn't have the starting quarterback named yet, though one could see the direction the team was heading if watching practice.
"Both of those kids are still right there, and like I said a long time ago," Andersen said, "we may know who the starter is, but we're not going to say who the starter is until we jog out onto the field for the LSU game, so there's no big announcement."
Andersen is confident that both of his quarterbacks, whomever takes the field, has the ability to help lead Wisconsin to a victory over LSU.
"I expect good quarterback play, whichever one of those young men play, and the same thing is expected from D-Line, O-Line or wherever you wanna take it," Andersen said.
"But we'll put a good quarterback out there to give us a chance to absolutely win."
In the past 48 hours, Andersen confirmed the team is gained a lot of momentum with players healing up injuries and was really close to "firing on all cylinders." Fullback/tight end Derek Watt came back from injury this afternoon, and if Monday was a game situation, defensive ends Chikwe Obasih and Alec James, along with linebackers Jesse Hayes, and the Trotter brothers would have been available to play.
Regarding the other projected starting linebackers, senior Derek Landisch did not practice, as well as sophomore Vince Biegel, though Andersen said Biegel is expected back midweek.
On the offensive side of the ball, Andersen told reporters both wide receivers Jazz Peavy and Robert Wheelwright are expected back midweek as well.
Andersen acknowledged the team has to walk a fine line between getting players reps in practice and not wanting to come back too soon.
Caleb Kinlaw shows talent
The true freshman running back has come back from offseason surgery and impressed in his first team drills action in the short portion of practice open to the media. In one drive, he carried twice for 15 yards and flashed when the ball was given to him.
Andersen acknowledged Kinlaw had some productive runs during the middle of the scrimmage, and being a different type of back than Melvin Gordon, Corey Clement and fellow freshman Taiwan Deal, Kinlaw could challenge for the No. 3 tailback position if he continues to progress.
"If he can continue to move forward with that injury, if he does some of the things he did today, he'll definitely get a look and be in the mix for the third tailback spot," Andersen said.
Andersen noted the wide receivers in camp "stabilized" in their progression during today's practice, stating they may have hit a "little bit of a wall." He's confident the group will rebound as the coaching staff continues to evaluate them leading up to their date with the Tigers.
"I expect more out of them, I would say that after today's scrimmage, and I think that we'll get it out of them," Andersen said.
"[Wide receivers coach Chris] Beatty will keep coaching them. They care a lot -- their care factor is there -- they just appeared to have, not necessarily hit a wall, but they've stabilized their progression."
More true freshman news, but on defense: safety Lubern Figaro worked with the No. 1 defense again today. Andersen said sophomore safety Leo Musso would be out for a couple of days more, but Figaro continues to progress and do a good job, presumably opposite junior Mike Caputo.