A day after their annual media day, the Wisconsin Badgers had their first fall camp practice under head coach Paul Chryst on Monday. From reports at practice and as expected, players didn't hit and there were no 11-on-11 team drills. However, the Badgers did run 7-on-7 drills in addition to position work.
"It was fun getting out here," Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said, "and I told the kids at the end of practice today that I appreciated their energy, their enthusiasm to it.
"It was a good start. Obviously we got a ways to go, but we'll get there if we keep stacking days like this -- and I know it's the first day, right? But I like their approach. It was fun."
Senior Tanner McEvoy, who Chryst said on Sunday would get more looks at wide receiver in fall camp, began with a solid start at the position, according to many in the media. That, and from what many reporters who were in attendance, an initial look of a starting five offensive line, though not finalized by any stretch, was shown.
No major developments/injuries from Day 1 of @Badgers practice. Thought Wheelwright, save for one bad drop, looked good.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) August 10, 2015
Tanner McEvoy shines in first practice at wide receiver
the start of McEvoy's Heisman Trophy campaign the first day of practice with no pads or hitting, but there's the glimmer of hope that a second viable threat at wide receiver behind senior Alex Erickson may emerge with McEvoy. Those watching noted how senior quarterback Joel Stave has found some chemistry with his former competition at quarterback in McEvoy:
Just wrapped up #Badgers practice. McEvoy will make plays at WR this season. Had 73-yard TD grab from Stave in 7-on-7.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) August 10, 2015
Just one practice but Stave to McEvoy could be a combination we hear a bunch this fall. The two hooked up on a couple deep throws in 7-on-7.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 10, 2015
#Badgers fans will like this. Tanner McEvoy was unstoppable at WR today. Abused the defense a couple times for deep scores.— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 10, 2015
Chryst noted McEvoy's a big body that can run and has really good hands, along with a good football IQ. The ratio of offense to defense is up in the air still for the fifth-year senior, but as McEvoy continues to learn the position, Chryst is optimistic about his value on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
"I think that in the spring he did a ton of safety work, and I think he feels comfortable there," Chryst said. "I think there's some of the details at the wide out spot that he's gotta get, and our plan is to think he can help us on both."
As BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull noted in his recap, McEvoy played wide receiver with some success in high school.
Offensive line talk
One of the major transition points for the 2015 Wisconsin Badgers is rebuilding and reloading an offensive line that lost three starters after helping running back Melvin Gordon rush for 2,587 yards in 2014. Chryst said on Sunday that the pool of candidates for the starting jobs was found in spring camp, but the fall camp would decide who gets the nod starting Sept. 5 against Alabama.
#Badgers say they are still figuring out starting 5 along OL: Today it was LT Marz, LG Ball, C Voltz, RG Deiter, RT Biegel.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 10, 2015
Second-team OL: LT Maxwell, LG Dietzen, C Panos, RG Williams, RT Benzschawel. Micah Kapoi also getting work at center.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 10, 2015
Frosh Jon Dietzen now at LG with No 2 unit instead of RG. Curious to see if he can push senior Ray Ball.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) August 10, 2015
Worgull also wrote about the seemingly heavier workload given to the linemen by offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph ($).
When asked about Rudolph working the linemen with that intensity on the first day of fall practices, Chryst said with a laugh, "He should be. He's the o-line coach, and we've building towards it."
- Chryst noted the first week's mostly about installation, and he thought the players retained the information well.
- Wisconsin director of athletics Barry Alvarez watched practice. Chryst says he feels fortunate to have him and calls Alvarez a "valuable resource."
- Thought McEvoy provided a deep threat to Stave, ESPN Wisconsin's Zach Heilprin observed the defense had a decent day with some forced turnovers.
Focus for the D this year is to create more turnovers & it was a good 1st day in that department. 3 picks in 7-on-7 & numerous deflections.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 10, 2015
Defensively looked like Jacobs and Edwards were 1st team ILBs today. New LB Jones will have to climb his way up the depth chart. #badgers— John Veldhuis (@JohnVeldhuis) August 10, 2015
True freshman I really liked today was Titus Booker. 4.4 speed looks legit, had a couple PBU's, and hits on receivers. #Badgers— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 10, 2015
With McEvoy on offense, Lubern Figaro lined up with the first-team defense at safety. Natrell Jamerson was the 3rd CB in the nickel.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 10, 2015
Make sure to read more day one observations from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus, BadgerBlitz's John Veldhuis ($), the Wisconsin State Journal's Jason Galloway and 247Sports' Evan Flood ($).