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Wisconsin goes “half-pack” for fall camp practice No. 3

Injuries and interceptions were the story on Saturday.

T.J. Edwards during Saturday’s practice.
T.J. Edwards during Saturday’s practice.
Jake Kocorowski

MADISON — On a warm Saturday on the practice field north of Camp Randall Stadium, the Wisconsin Badgers practiced in “half pack”—shoulder pads, helmets, and shorts—as they continued the first week of fall camp.

Several Badgers caught the injury bug, as inside linebacker T.J. Edwards and tight end Zander Neuville (both confirmed as right leg), along with wide receivers Jack Dunn (left arm) and Emmet Perry (left leg) left practice.

A UW official confirmed to reporters that Neuville’s injury is not the right knee injury that cost him the final two games of the 2017 season, so that is a positive from Wisconsin’s standpoint. He was seen on the practice field after the session, though not in uniform. Redshirt sophomore Luke Benzschawel saw some work in Neuville’s absence.

I saw Edwards working on the stationary bike for a time about 20–30 minutes into practice, with redshirt junior Chris Orr working with Ryan Connelly as first-team inside linebackers in his absence.

Dunn caught a great pass down the field on a diving play—allowing me to declare my second “Well Dunn” pun of fall camp—but landed on his shoulder/arm area.

None of the injuries appeared to be serious after discussing with a UW official. We will know more about their statuses come Monday when practice is again open to the media.

Here’s the injury report given to us prior to the start of Saturday’s practice:

Mixing it up

Again, a disclaimer: it is only the third day of fall camp. It appeared the Badgers were mixing up combinations of players. On the defensive side, here are some of the pairings I saw on Saturday in team drills or 7-on-7 (there may have been others I didn’t catch):

  • Safety: Scott Nelson/D’Cota Dixon, Dixon/Patrick Johnson, Johnson/Reggie Pearson, Travian Blaylock/Eric Burrell, Seth Currens/Evan Bondoc, Nelson/Burrell
  • Cornerback: Dontye Carriere-Williams/Madison Cone, Caesar Williams/Deron Harrell, Cone/Harrell
  • Inside linebacker: Orr/Connelly, Griffin Grady/Mike Maskalunas
  • Outside linebacker: Andrew Van Ginkel/Zack Baun, Tyler Johnson/Christian Bell, Bell/Noah Burks, Burks/Izayah Green-May
  • Defensive line: Aaron Vopal/Olive Sagapolu (NT)/Kayden Lyles, Matt Henningsen/Bryson Williams (NT)/David Pfaff

Jon Dietzen again worked with the first-team offensive line, though I also saw Cole Van Lanen claim some reps at that spot. Both were also occasionally on the field at the same time, with Dietzen even spelling David Edwards at right tackle. Logan Bruss also appeared to get some time at right tackle throughout the day, though it’s unclear if they were first-team reps.

Speaking of Bruss:

Observations

  • Elsewhere on the offensive line—though I’m not sure if they were first-team reps or just offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Rudolph mixing and matching linemen—were Jason Erdmann, Micah Kapoi, and David Moorman. Kapoi actually saw time at center with the reserves on Saturday as well.
  • Tight end Jake Ferguson had a nice one-handed grab while falling to the ground.
  • Three interceptions were recorded by the defense. Nelson intercepted an Alex Hornibrook pass, and to say he was excited is quite an understatement.
  • The two other interceptions came from cornerbacks Cristian Volpentesta and Donte Burton off the arm of quarterback Jack Coan. The pick by Burton was not Coan’s fault, as his pass went through the hands of his receiver and deflected into the hands of the opportunistic true freshman.
  • With the team in “half-pack” mode, the coaching staff threw in some pass-rushing drills. Jonathan Taylor looked solid in one rep against Nelson, and after a nice round of motivational yelling, outside linebacker Tyler Johnson went up against David Edwards. It did not end well for the walk-on, as he was pancaked (I believe it may have been something with his footing).
  • There was a hint of a dust-up when the linemen were working against each other during one practice period, as Lyles and fellow redshirt freshman Tyler Beach engaged in some pushing post-rep. I did not see it, but from what others at practice noted, it appeared that fired up Beach in his next rep.
  • Sophomore wide receiver Danny Davis reeled in a deep reception working against true freshmen Rachad Wildgoose and Alex Smith.
  • In coverage, Baun displayed some nice athleticism with a pass deflection to negate a potential Ferguson reception.
  • Jersey number updates: Henningsen is now No. 92 and Cormac Sampson is No. 47.