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Wisconsin fall camp grind continues on Friday

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Notes and analysis from Friday’s practice.

Wide receiver Aron Cruickshank returning a kickoff during Friday’s practice.
Jake Kocorowski

MADISON—A warm summer day inside Camp Randall Stadium on Friday was matched by some of the play on the field, as there were some good battles between Wisconsin wide receivers and the defensive backs.

When speaking with redshirt senior inside linebacker Ryan Connelly about the identity of this defense on Friday, he noted that the secondary is “flying around, making plays.” This season’s cornerbacks and safeties may be unproven in some areas, but there is confidence there that you want out of those defensive backs.

Redshirt freshman safety Scott Nelson intercepted an Alex Hornibrook pass during 7-on-7 drills inside the red zone. He ran down the field with excitement, with even a little bit of “Prime Time” Deion Sanders dancing as he reached the end zone, as noted by WOZN’s Zach Heilprin.

It appeared to be a good back and forth of reps between wide receiver A.J. Taylor and true freshman cornerback Donte Burton. On one rep, Burton forced an incompletion to Taylor (though holding could or could not have been called)—with Nelson walking from the sideline to and alongside Taylor after the play.

The next rep, Taylor caught a pass with Burton around.

Earlier in practice when the wide receivers and defensive backs were in one-one-one drills, redshirt sophomore wide out Kendric Pryor made a sweet move on true freshman corner Alexander Smith.

I like how redshirt sophomore Dontye Carriere-Williams has performed early on, and it will continue to be worth watching who defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard puts opposite him at the other corner spot. Today, it was once again Caesar Williams, though redshirt freshman Faion Hicks, in my opinion, has played well and with some confidence the past couple of days since returning from injury.

Injuries

Cornerback Madison Cone (left leg) and offensive linemen Jason Erdmann and Logan Bruss (both right leg) all were added to the Friday injury report after leaving practice on Thursday. Inside linebacker Griffin Grady (right arm), safety Patrick Johnson (illness) and outside linebacker Christian Bell (dehydration) returned to the field, while wide receiver Jack Dunn took off the yellow non-contact jersey.

In Wisconsin’s nickel package, true freshman Donte Burton replaced Cone as the slot cornerback. Presumed “second-team” defensive backs included Deron Harrell and Hicks.

In Erdmann’s place, redshirt senior Micah Kapoi continued to receive reps at center with the first-team offense. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Biadasz suited up again during practice but did not appear to work again in team sessions on Friday. A UW official noted there was no injury reason given, and B5Q saw Biadasz working with quarterback Alex Hornibrook after practice on snap exchanges.

Other observations

  • Redshirt freshman Kayden Lyles returned to practice after missing yesterday’s session due to a test. He resumed work with the apparent first-team defensive line alongside nose tackle Olive Sagapolu and walk-on redshirt freshman defensive end Matt Henningsen. I hope to have two separate features up about Henningsen and Lyles coming up in the next few days.
  • In what looked like the reserve offense against the first-team defense early on in practice, Jack Coan hooked up with Jake Ferguson on a touchdown pass.
  • True freshman Isaac Guerendo worked with the wide receivers on Friday, though he started camp with the running backs; I saw him in the slot position yesterday for a rep, though I was not necessarily paying attention to him throughout that session.
  • As you see in our Instagram feed, Aron Cruickshank was one of the Badgers that returned kickoffs during early special teams work. Also appeared like Pryor, Hicks and A.J. Taylor were back in the end zone area where they would return kickoffs, though I got to that practice period late to see who exactly did so.

#SeeAronRun #Badgers

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  • Wisconsin basketball guard Brad Davison also was in attendance with Alando Tucker on Friday.
  • Tight end Kyle Penniston had a nice reception in the flat on a route where Nelson appeared to be covering him.
  • Houston safety transfer Collin Wilder picked off a Chase Wolf throw towards the end of practice. Wilder has to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.