MADISON—Yes, the Wisconsin Badgers’ spring game officially was canceled, but the team practiced and scrimmaged in front of an audience of players’ families, UW alumni and recruits on Friday inside the McClain Center.
Junior wide receiver Quintez Cephus (right leg) suited up in shoulder pads and practiced in limited fashion, taking in some positional work in running some routes and catching passes from Wisconsin quarterbacks but did not take part in team drills or the scrimmage.
Though limited, it is a promising sign for Cephus’s return to the field in fall camp, who led the Badgers in receiving last season before suffering the season-ending injury against Indiana in early November.
- Wide receivers Chris Clementi, Jack Dunn, and Aron Cruickshank practiced returning punts.
- A couple of times during the scrimmage, quarterback Jack Coan showed some nice wheels with his scrambling ability, including one on what appeared to be a naked bootleg play.
- Chris Orr stuffed the run on several plays on Friday night, really playing like . According to Owen, Orr is the best third inside linebacker in the country, and it is extremely hard to dispute that.
- This is just spring practice, and they are still raw, but I (Jake) like the progression and development of true freshmen wide receivers Aron Cruickshank and Taj Mustapha towards this end of practice. Cruickshank, despite being listed at 152 pounds, is simply dynamic with the ball in his hands. He carried a jet sweep for about 20 yards while eluding tacklers and keeping his balance, and he also looked good catching the ball.
- Mustapha caught a contested pass between cornerback Caesar Williams and safety Eric Burrell during the scrimmage, and I think he has looked solid for his first semester as a college football player. Again, how much that translates to fall camp for both true freshmen receivers remains to be seen in terms of who returns from injury for fall camp. Regardless, I (Jake) feel both have made the most of spring practice.
- With the referees working during the practice/scrimmage, It seemed like there was a decent amount of pass interference penalties called against the defense. For that matter, as Owen pointed out, there were some procedural penalties by the offense.
- According to Owen, outside linebacker Izayah Green-May and nose tackle Bryson Williams looked impressive in 1-on-1s.
- Also according to Owen, the defense appeared to adjust to heavy personnel in a 3-3-5 alignment with Patrick Johnson in at linebacker.
- It did look like walk-on redshirt freshman Ethan Cesarz worked alongside Griffin Grady and Orr at inside linebacker.
- Some former Badgers took in practice on Friday night as part of an alumni gathering, including Bradie Ewing and Ben Strickland, among what looked like many others. Troy Fumagalli and Leon Jacobs also watched their former teammates.
- Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel intercepted an Alex Hornibrook pass on first play of 7-on-7s.
- Cornerback Caesar Williams came down with an interception himself during modified team drills against
- Hornibrook threw some nice throws as well, however, including a touchdown reception to Kendric Pryor in team red zone drills.
- Coan found Mustapha for a touchdown in team red zone drills.
Highlights from scrimmage
- Running back Sam Brodner had the play of the scrimmage, taking a rush outside, shaking and beating cornerback Donte Burton to the edge, then proceeding to stiff arm safety Ryan O’Connell to get the touchdown.
- Cornerback Donte Burton hit Cruickshank after a catch and run with a pretty good lick, sending his fellow true freshman to the sideline.
- Mustapha with a contested catch between Caesar Williams and safety Eric Burrell from a Danny Vanden Boom pass.
- Reserve running back Mark Saari scored two touchdowns.
- Caesar Williams blocked a Rafael Gaglianone field goal attempt.
- Redshirt freshman safety Scott Nelson sacked Coan
- Defensive end Kraig Howe sacked Kare’ Lyles, causing a fumble that was recovered by reserve nose tackle Gunnar Roberge
- Cruickshank drew a PI on Burton from a deep throw from Coan.
- Clementi nicely reeled in a contested catch against Caesar Williams from a Vanden Boom throw.
- Cruickshank with that nice run off a jet sweep, keeping his balance in avoiding being tackled and gaining around 20 yards.
- Reserve placekicker Collin Larsh successfully converted a couple of field goals.
- Tight end/fullback Coy Wanner caught a Lyles pass and reeled in a touchdown reception after juking a defender.
- Reserve placekicker Zach Hintze connected on both of his field goal attempts, including one that I thought was over 50 yards.
- Coan ended the scrimmage session with a touchdown pass to Pryor.
Taiwan Deal (left leg) was added to the injury list as out for Friday’s practice, joining wide receivers Adam Krumholz, Cade Green (left leg) and Emmet Perry (right leg), fellow running back Chris James (right leg) and Mike Maskalunas (left leg) as being listed with that designation.
Jack Dunn appeared to be injured during the scrimmage, as he was helped off the field. A UW official after practice did not have official word of the injury.
The spring game usually brings in a good chunk of recruits to Madison, but the weather did not cooperate this year.
2018 quarterback Chase Wolf was in attendance, as were some other prospects as seen below:
The Huskies are planting flags in Wisconsin ! Fight On! pic.twitter.com/dTDMkI8jKj— HamiltonHuskyFootball (@Husky_Football7) April 14, 2018