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Wisconsin continues fall camp with practice No. 2

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Notes and observations from Friday’s practice, plus a conversation with Isaiahh Loudermilk.

Running back Jonathan Taylor at Friday’s practice.
Running back Jonathan Taylor at Friday’s practice.
Jake Kocorowski

MADISON — The Wisconsin Badgers returned to the field inside Camp Randall Stadium on Friday for their second practice of fall camp, once again working in just helmets, jerseys, and shorts.

The injury report was the same as Thursday’s, though a couple players later sustained injuries in practice.

Faion Hicks suffered what UW referred to officially as a right leg injury early in practice. He appeared to have ice applied to the upper leg, which could indicate a hamstring injury. Though that is not confirmed by UW, he was rubbing the back of his leg while coming off the field in discomfort. Madison Cone and redshirt freshman Deron Harrell received reps with Dontye Carriere-Williams in Hicks’s absence.

Wide receiver Adam Krumholz also suffered a right leg injury and was held out for the rest of the day.

Defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk (left knee) worked on the sideline on some conditioning exercises (hello, stationary bike). Read more on him below. Running back Garrett Groshek (right arm) practiced again in limited fashion and with a yellow non-contact jersey. As we noted yesterday, he appears to have a cast/wrap of sorts around that right hand/wrist area.

Observations

  • Left tackle will be the area to watch on offense, as at first we did not see much of Jon Dietzen work in with the “first-team” offense. Cole Van Lanen and what looked like redshirt freshman Logan Bruss received some reps in that time. Later on in the practice before the position groups split up for some late drills, Dietzen returned to work with the first-team in an offensive walk-through (reserve offensive players acted like scout-team defense). I also saw redshirt freshman Tyler Beach get some snaps at left tackle in that walk-through section, though I did not see which group he was a part of.
  • The 7-on-7 drills saw a similar set-up to Thursday’s first practice, where two offenses worked toward opposite end zones from near midfield. Focusing on the defense where the presumed first-team unit defended the north end zone, there were a lot of safety pairings today. Here’s what I saw: D’Cota Dixon/Scott Nelson, Dixon/Patrick Johnson, Johnson/Reggie Pearson, Nelson/Travian Blaylock, Blaylock/Pearson.
  • On the other defense, Seth Currens and Eric Burrell worked on defending the south end zone unit at safety. I do wonder what the two-deep looks like at this position. Two days in, it appears Dixon and Nelson would be the starters, but there’s also Johnson as well as Burrell and Currens who saw the field at some point last year (Burrell with actual playing time at the position in meaningful games). Again, this is the second day of practice. Still interesting how Jim Leonhard mixes and matches his secondary.
  • While Harrell worked with Carriere-Williams, Cone and Caesar Williams were paired together for the second consecutive practice.
  • Throughout the afternoon (either in 7-on-7 or team drills), here who was working together at outside linebacker at some point: Andrew Van Ginkel/Zack Baun, Tyler Johnson/Christian Bell, Bell/Noah Burks.
  • The defensive line front was the same as yesterday’s with Aaron Vopal, Olive Sagapolu, and Kayden Lyles, with the latter again working at end. The second grouping looked like Bryson Williams at nose tackle with Matt Henningsen and David Pfaff as ends.

Wisconsin returns to the field again on Saturday for its third fall camp practice. We’ll be there with more coverage.


Isaiahh Loudermilk opens up about his injury, timetable, and the development of Wisconsin’s defensive line

When news broke that defensive linemen Isaiahh Loudermilk and Garrett Rand were injured coming out of spring practice, Badger fans began to worry quite a bit about the depth of Wisconsin’s defensive front.

Loudermilk, a redshirt sophomore, recorded 11 tackles in 11 games played in the historic 2017 season, and is hoped to be a key contributor in a defense that turns over many players from last year’s squad. He has a self-reported long history of problems with his left knee.

“[It bothered me] throughout [last] season ... but it had healed up during the spring,” he said on Wednesday during local media day. “I felt great all throughout spring ball. Felt normal, and then in practice l kind of tweaked some stuff and had to get surgery on it.”

Loudermilk seems to be on the road to recovery, though. He says he is lifting, including squats and a number of leg activities.

“I just keep it light with that,” he said. “So far running is the only thing that I’ve been real, real limited in.”

So, what is Loudermilk’s timetable for return? He mentioned on Wednesday that he hoped to start running and cutting “in the next couple of days.”

“I’m hoping [the] first couple games to be back. But we will see where I’m at when the time comes.

“[It depends] on what the trainers say and what they have me doing. It depends on how this camp goes.”

In his and Rand’s absence, Loudermilk praised the rest of the defensive line’s ability to raise their mental and physical intensity. Specifically, he lavished praise on Aaron Vopal a number of times. A redshirt freshman from De Pere, Wis., Vopal was a three star recruit in the 2017 class.

“I think Vopal had a great summer,” Loudermilk said. “I saw him physically change and, you know, really mentally, going through plays and stuff with him.”

So far, it seems that Wisconsin’s defensive line unit has answered the bell and stood up in the face of adversity. The news that Loudermilk could be back in the first few weeks should only boost the growth that this unit has experienced.

By Bob Wiedenhoeft with reporting from Jake Kocorowski