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Badger Bits: Wisconsin completes eighth spring football practice

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Notes from Thursday’s practice.

Nebraska v Wisconsin Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers are now officially halfway through spring football practices, as they concluded their eighth of 15 on Thursday morning inside the McClain Center. B5Q was unable to attend, but will be there Friday evening with a full report.

BadgerBlitz.com’s John Veldhuis mentioned the quarterbacks had a “rough day” overall (maybe not entirely their fault), but redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook picked it up during red-zone drills (read more in Veldhuis’s practice recap here ($). The Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway reported Hornibrook went 9-of-15 with six touchdowns in seven-on-seven drills inside the 20-yard line.

As Veldhuis, BadgerNation.com’s Ben Worgull ($), and Badger247’s Evan Flood ($) also noted, head coach Paul Chryst and his coaching staff had players practice heavily in the red zone.

Worgull spoke with defensive end Garrett Rand, who appears to be set at that position now after developing into the No. 2 nose tackle on the depth chart last season behind junior Olive Sagapolu (and senior Conor Sheehy, who slid inside after Sagapolu was injured midway through the season).

“When I came in I knew I was going to play both positions right away,” Rand said. “First year, Coach Nokes wanted me to get a handle of the nose spot. Now he’s moving me to end and I figure I’ll be there for a little longer. I’ll probably handle this end spot and go from there.”

Nick Nelson was propped up to be the expected starter at cornerback opposite Derrick Tindal before spring camp began. There is buzz around the Hawaii transfer, and a secondary that’s losing Sojourn Shelton and Leo Musso could reload rather than rebuild in the defensive backfield. As Flood mentions below, Nelson did have an interception during practice.

The move to inside linebacker for Arrington Farrar

It was intriguing to see junior Arrington Farrar work with the inside linebackers on Tuesday, only to hear confirmation after practice that the former four-star safety would move there permanently. It seems as though the 6’2, 225-pound athlete grew into being a linebacker.

For those older Wisconsin fans, former walk-on and captain Bob Adamov was a safety before moving up to outside linebacker in UW’s 4-3 defense back in the mid-to-late 1990s. There’s a lot of depth at inside linebacker, so it will be interesting to see how Farrar develops and where defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard and inside linebackers coach Bob Bostad choose to utilize him.

Injury news

According to a couple of media reports, it appeared inside linebacker Nick Thomas suffered a knee injury.

Galloway spoke to redshirt senior inside linebacker Jack Cichy, who said he was “100 percent” after suffering a torn pectoral muscle against Iowa.

"If we had a game tomorrow, I definitely could go,” Cichy said. “But it’s just being smart and letting the other guys get some reps. I do everything except the full-go stuff. It’s not a necessity for me. I’ve put enough on film and put in a body of work where I think they trust me."

Read more in that article for how painful the injury was for the former walk-on, who despite missing seven games still tied for fourth on the team in tackles (60) and tied for third in tackles for loss (seven).

More odds and ends

B5Q noted last week how redshirt freshman defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk has stood out in practices. Veldhuis gave some interesting insight into the Kansas native right after practice, and be sure to check out BadgerBlitz’s spring series on a lineman who could produce in the coming years.

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Potrykus on safety D’Cota Dixon and Nelson studying during Wisconsin’s spring break late last month.