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Wisconsin football: First Saturday practice ends on sour note; freshmen receivers intrigue

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The first two-a-day session ends with some gassers.

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Badgers finished up their first of two Saturday sessions in not-so-stellar fashion: Sprints.

That was followed by head coach Paul Chryst, then sophomore inside linebacker Chris Orr, speaking to the players.

What caused the gassers?

The last two plays of practice involved two scuffles between the offense and defense. The first fight occurred between redshirt senior wide receiver Reggie Love and defensive backs Joe Ferguson and Titus Booker. Love caught a pass and was pushing down the field. Whether or not the play was blown dead is another question, but a defensive player stripped the ball from Love. That’s when the melee broke out with Love first swinging at Ferguson, then Booker.

After that, redshirt freshman tight end Kyle Penniston got tangled up with some members of the defense.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a good end to practice.

"We’ve got so much time, and how we use that time is up to us," Chryst said. "I thought we had a couple of undisciplined things that maybe we need to address that part of it, so that’s how we’re going to spend our energy.

"I’d prefer we do that in other ways, but [the sprinting session] was the purpose behind that."

Observations

With Wheelwright out of practice and Jazz Peavy limited due to a chest injury (more below), true freshmen Quintez Cephus and A.J. Taylor received reps with the first and second-team offenses.

It’s hard to point out a true freshman, let alone two, so early in camp—especially with the rest of fall practices and the beginning of the semester in three weeks. Regardless, the two have jumped in and impressed.

"I think they’ve done some good things to where they’ve earned the right to get more reps," Chryst said.

Chryst did note they still have a ways to go. Taylor fumbled on a fly sweep during practice, an infraction that made him run a lap around the field.

Redshirt freshman running back Bradrick Shaw ran the ball well, excelling to the second level. Next season, with Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale leaving, position coach John Settle will have quite the group of backs with Shaw, Taiwan Deal and transfer Chris James.

At quarterback, Bart Houston appeared to rebound from a rougher effort on Friday. Of course, it’s still early in the race. For more on the unofficial counts, check out Jason Galloway’s recap here or Ben Worgull’s breakdown here ($).

Rest and injuries

According to UW, the following players received some rest during the first of the two-a-day session:

  • Safety D’Cota Dixon
  • Tight end Eric Steffes
  • Right tackle Jake Maxwell
  • Left guard Dan Voltz

It appears Wheelwright and Love will rotate out every couple of days to also keep fresh, according to a UW official. Wheelwright did not practice with the team on Saturday morning, though he was catching balls from the jugs machine.

On the injury front:

New Badger incoming

On Friday, Wisconsin confirmed Christian Bell was cleared academically to begin working with the team. According to a UW official, he will receive his physical on Monday and start working his way into fall camp next week. The defensive end/linebacker from Alabama will still have to sit out the 2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

"I think he’s a skilled football player," Chryst said. "I like his size and athletic ability, and from what I’ve know about him—and certainly all the people you go through and research who is this person—they speak very highly of him. I’m excited he’s here."