MADISON—The sun finally started to peak out a bit towards the end of the Wisconsin Badgers’ sixth spring practice on Saturday afternoon inside Camp Randall Stadium. UW took part in some routine individual position work along with some team periods, but as the team donned full pads on this day, it was also time for some scrimmaging.
Before getting into some observations from the practice and scrimmage, not much appeared to change on who practiced, who was out and who was limited from what was seen on Tuesday. Perhaps the biggest change was redshirt junior wide receiver Kendric Pryor not practicing on Saturday for most of the session, and he told reporters afterwards it was more of precaution with his hamstring. He performed what he called “indy” work before taking off the pads. Fellow wide receiver Emmet Perry also appeared to not suit up, though a reason was not given.
- The defense made some interceptions during practice. During a team period, safety Eric Burrell intercepted a Jack Coan pass that seemed to target tight end Jake Ferguson. Safety Reggie Pearson made a couple of interceptions on the day, one against Danny Vanden Boom in a team period and one during the scrimmage. Near the end of practice, safety Scott Nelson hauled in a nice pick off a Vanden Boom throw towards the sideline, then waived to some of the media in the bleachers.
- I liked Pearson’s performance over the course of practice. During a particular tackling drill where one offensive player had to get passed two defenders, the sophomore safety pounced and made a huge hit on wide receiver Taj Mustapha. He received some huge cheers from the defense (see: the tweet below around the :15 mark).
- That above drill definitely got the players hyped up, as you could hear them from where some of us the media were sitting in the concourse area on the east side of the stadium. By my count, the defense won 4-1 in the five matchups.
- The media has only seen two practices, but true freshman mid-year enrollee Leo Chenal has made an impression to me at inside linebacker. As seen in the above tweet, he intercepted a Graham Mertz pass and returned it for a pick-six during the scrimmage. In a couple of instances on Saturday, he also backed up his ball skills with a heavy hitting mentality.
- He has mostly worked with redshirt junior Mike Maskalunas from what we have seen during the two open sessions to the media, but I also saw him paired with Sanborn during Saturday’s scrimmage at certain points with Orr not taking a lot of reps in that part of practice.
- OK, that’s a lot of interceptions to talk about, but Coan did throw a pretty deep pass to A.J. Taylor during a 7-on-7 drill. The rising senior wide receiver reeled it in and ran for a long gain.
- For that matter, Coan received first-team reps, but by my notes, only ran two series during the scrimmage (prior to scrimmage, he received first-team snaps as well). Vanden Boom, Wolf and Mertz all received several series during the scrimmage session itself.
- As expected with a position change, new running backs Brady Schipper and Isaac Guerendo saw a lot of work on Saturday during the scrimmage. I liked how Schipper caught the ball and ran with it. You can also see the potential with Guerendo. I’ll get a post up by early tomorrow morning, but Groshek gave some positive thoughts for both redshirt freshmen during availability after the practice.
- I expect a lot of rotation and mixing with the cornerbacks with the depth the position group has. I initially saw Caesar Williams and Faion Hicks getting work with the first-team before the scrimmage, with Hicks sliding into the slot with Deron Harrell coming in as the third corner during one of the team periods. In my notes, I have redshirt freshman Alex Smith also working in the slot with the first-team as well during another team period.
- With Danny Davis and Pryor not practicing—and I did not see or note A.J. Taylor receiving reps in the scrimmage—redshirt junior Adam Krumholz made the most of his time with some nice receptions on Saturday. I thought the walk-on from Stoughton made the most of his reps.
- The “first-team” and “second-team” offensive lines looked the same as Tuesday’s.
- Zack Baun and Noah Burks could be looked at as the “first-team” outside linebackers, or at least the players that were first up in team periods and a couple series of the scrimmage from my notes. Other combinations I jotted down included Tyler Johnson and Izayah Green-May, Green-May and Jaylan Franklin, Franklin and Spencer Lytle, and Lytle and Griffin Grady. While trying to keep track of all the reps, there likely were more combinations.
Wisconsin returns to the practice field on Tuesday morning for spring practice No. 7. B5Q will be there for more analysis, video and photos.