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Wisconsin football: First scrimmage shows promise, room to grow

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Highlights from Monday’s practice.

Jake Kocorowski

The Wisconsin Badgers scrimmaged inside Camp Randall Stadium on Monday morning, a mere week into fall camp. There were some highlights from the day’s two-hour practice — including two touchdown drives led by redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook — but with it still so early, there are teaching lessons to be had.

“I thought there were some good things, but there’s still a lot of stuff that we gotta clean up,” head coach Paul Chryst told. “This is a huge week for us. Last week we got a lot of the installation in, and getting a feel for guys, but we gotta spend a ton of time on the details and the little things that make a big difference.

“It’s a big week for us. I thought today was a good start, but we got a long ways to go.”

Chryst also noted that this upcoming week is where players will have the chance to find their roles on the team.

Observations

As a disclaimer, I caught the last half of practice (11 a.m. on — practice started at 10 a.m.). From what I saw:

  • Regarding the quarterback situation, Hornibrook led the first-team offense on a 98-yard play drive that culminated with a Bradrick Shaw touchdown run. The southpaw then connected with wide receiver Robert Wheelwright on a touchdown in the left side of the south end zone against single coverage later in the scrimmage.
  • Wheelwright himself had a couple of nice catches, including one on the left sideline where he stayed in-bounds.
  • Hornibrook played well, as seen by the stats given by the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway, but he did “take” a sack on a first down — along with throwing an interception to safety Joe Ferguson (note: prior to my arrival to practice).
  • Houston looked decent at times, but he missed a wide open Wheelwright for a touchdown near the left sideline of the north end zone with the first-team offense. The redshirt senior did connect with redshirt junior Troy Fumagalli on a 25-yard gain with the first-team offense on another series.
  • As noted, it’s still early in the race with plenty of time for both quarterbacks to assert themselves further. The Wisconsin Sports Zone Network’s Zach Heilprin said Hornibrook was the better quarterback based on moving the ball down the field. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus believes Hornibrook has been the better quarterback all camp.
  • Redshirt sophomore Evan Bondoc came up with a nice open field tackle before Shaw could hit the edge towards the sideline.
  • Hawaii transfer cornerback Nick Nelson came up with a nice hit as well after a receiver hauled in a Hornibrook pass.
  • Play of the day, in my opinion, was the last one. True freshman Isaiahh Loudermilk tipped then intercepted a Kare Lyles pass. It drew loud cheers from the defense.

Injury report

New to the injury list was true freshman wide receiver Quintez Cephus (right leg).

Taiwan Deal appeared to suffer a right shoulder/arm injury, though details weren’t known about the extent of severity.

Next practice is on Tuesday and closed to the media.