MADISON — The Wisconsin Badgers practiced inside the McClain Center on Thursday morning for their second-to-last practice of the spring. The session ended earlier than I expected, which a UW official confirmed was scheduled in that manner, but there were still some highlights that popped out in the nearly 90 minutes of action.
For the first time from what I’ve seen since covering most of the spring practices, cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams (abdominal) took reps in some modified team drills. The will-be redshirt sophomore, like wide receiver Quintez Cephus (right leg) earlier this week, increased his workload by doing more than just positional work.
Speaking of Cephus, who was in a yellow jersey on Thursday, he caught a nice one-handed pass in modified team drills inside the red zone from the arm of quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Great Odell Beckham-like reception.
I believe it was the play immediately after when Hornibrook found Kendric Pryor for another touchdown pass. Three of Wisconsin’s four wide receivers have now seen more reps at the end of spring camp, and you can see the potential this group has.
- Pryor caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Coan right after the Hornibrook toss. It was a nice throw from Coan, who has thrown some good passes this week.
- B5Q will have more detailed spring observations once practices conclude on Friday, but I feel Wisconsin may have found its two-deep of cornerbacks in Carriere-Williams, Madison Cone, Faion Hicks, and Caesar Williams. It is a young, mostly unproven unit, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from some of them, especially Williams, who intercepted a Hornibrook pass during the modified team drills inside the red zone. Williams also blocked his second field goal of the spring, both coming in the past three practices.
- It’s a judgment call, but I really think Cole Van Lanen will compete for a starting spot this year. I thought some of his reps on Thursday in both pass blocking drills and modified team work looked solid. It is extremely hard to make assumptions in the spring on who will be among the starting five offensive linemen considering the injuries to Michael Deiter, Jon Dietzen, and David Edwards. However, there is a lot of depth on the offensive line, and it will be a good problem for offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Rudolph to have. If Van Lanen can show consistency on the outside, Deiter could slide back inside to a more natural guard position.
- Whenever Jonathan Taylor has the ball in his hands, it seems like big things can happen. Vague observation, I know, but based off when he does get some reps during practice, he continually shows his potential.
- Added as out for Thursday’s practice were kicker Zach Hintze (right leg), defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk (left leg), and nose tackle Bryson Williams (left leg). I saw a brace on Loudermilk’s leg, but that was about it. They joined running backs Taiwan Deal (left leg) and Chris James (right leg), wide receivers Adam Krumholz (right leg), Cade Green (left leg) and Emmet Perry (right leg), outside linebacker Zack Baun (left leg), and inside linebacker Mike Maskalunas (left leg) as designed as out for practice.
- Outside linebacker Tyler Johnson, who appeared to hurt his right hand on Tuesday, practiced on Thursday and did not appear to have any lingering effects. He worked alongside Andrew Van Ginkel as “first-team” outside linebackers.
[Update: A UW official confirmed to B5Q on Thursday afternoon that practice was scheduled to go only 18 periods and the team completed that.]