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Wisconsin starts last third of spring practices

Highlights from Tuesday’s practice.

Jake Kocorowski

MADISON—The Wisconsin Badgers are nearing the home stretch of their spring practice schedule.

Session No. 10 of 15 concluded on Tuesday morning inside the McClain Center for head coach Paul Chryst and his team. Working with just helmets and shoulder pads (just shorts), the team is now into its second-to-last week of practices before next Friday’s spring game (*1990s Monster Truck Rally announcer voice* 6:30 p.m. CT, Camp Randall Stadium, BE THERE!).

B5Q got to see most of practice before exiting during the latter portion of team drills—when the first-team offense was on the field—but here are some of what was seen:

  • For a chunk of practice that I was there, the team worked on 7-on-7 drills for the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends on offense, along with the secondary, outside and inside linebackers on defense. The linemen on both sides of the ball did, well, linemen things. There were team drills as well.
  • The defense had their moments on Tuesday, intercepting some passes in both 7-on-7s and team drills. Those included picks by seniors Derrick Tindal and Joe Ferguson, along with redshirt freshman cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams.
  • Redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook was off and on at times on Tuesday, but some weren’t necessarily his fault. In the first set of 7-on-7s, the southpaw was 6-of-11 with an interception, completing some nicely thrown deep passes to tight end Troy Fumagalli and wide receiver George Rushing.
  • In redzone 7-on-7s, B5Q had Hornibrook at 6 of 13 (unofficially) with four touchdowns and the one interception by Ferguson off of a pass break-up by redshirt junior cornerback Nick Nelson. There were also two possible drops that didn’t help either. It did appear the southpaw connected with senior wide receiver Jazz Peavy and Neuville on solid strikes again after I left practice, per’s Ben Worgull.
  • Hornibrook targeted his tight ends and that alone shows the trust he has in them — and they should be a focal point in this offense this year. Really like Fumagalli’s game this spring. With Neuville’s emergence, the trio of he, Fumagalli, and redshirt sophomore Kyle Penniston should be something to watch in 2017.
  • Redshirt senior and former walk-on Jack Cichy got some work at inside linebacker with the limited (or non) contact drills on Tuesday. Opposite him on the inside was redshirt freshman Mike Maskalunas, who continues to receive some reps with projected starters/heavy contributors junior Chris Orr and redshirt juniors T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly all out.

Observations from others

  • Speaking of Carriere-Williams and his interception during Tuesday’s practice, Land of 10/Wisconsin Sports Zone’s Zach Heilprin and the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway tweeted the redshirt freshman worked in as the third cornerback in Wisconsin’s nickel package. I saw senior Lubern Figaro also in the nickel working primarily outside with Nelson, with Tindal moving inside at the slot at times.
  • One former Wisconsin cornerback, tied for the school record in games played (54), appears to be excited not just for Carriere-Williams, but the rest of defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Jim Leonhard’s secondary.

Out of practice

  • Sophomore wide receiver Quintez Cephus was not at practice, with what many have noted as him attending his father’s funeral.
  • Redshirt sophomore running back Bradrick Shaw did practice on Tuesday, with redshirt junior Chris James receiving reps with the first team. There was no confirmation as to why he was out.
  • In a spot of good news, left tackle David Edwards practiced with the first-team offense despite leaving Friday’s scrimmage with what looked like a lower left leg injury.
  • Inside linebacker Mason Stokke and tight end Luke Benzschawel also were out, according to Galloway.
  • Didn’t see Nick Thomas practicing, and as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus, is out for an extended period.