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Wisconsin spring practice No. 7 recap

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Quick notes and observations from Tuesday’s morning practice.

Fullback John Chenal during running back drills on Tuesday.
Jake Kocorowski

MADISON—The Wisconsin Badgers conducted their seventh spring practice of 2019 inside Camp Randall Stadium on Tuesday morning.

Offensive lineman Jason Erdmann participated in team periods on Tuesday, which was the first time we have seen the redshirt senior do so in the three practices open to the media.

The former walk-on worked at both left guard and center from what we saw. As head coach Paul Chryst noted before spring ball began, both Erdmann and Kayden Lyles would receive reps with Tyler Biadasz out for these 15 practices. That has come true for the interior linemen.

Wide receiver Kendric Pryor (hamstring) returned on Tuesday after missing most of Saturday’s session.

Injuries

  • Similar list to what we have seen last Tuesday and on Saturday, though at some point running back Nakia Watson appeared to have his left shoulder wrapped for a portion of practice. Wide receiver Emmet Perry also did not participate.
  • During practice, I saw defensive end Garrett Rand doing what appeared to be conditioning on the sideline while wide receiver Danny Davis ran across the north end zone.

Observations

  • For what it’s worth, Jack Coan continues to receive first-team reps at quarterback.
  • The team suited up in “half-pack,” meaning just helmets and shoulder pads. However, some players performed a drill at the north end zone line where an offensive and defensive player would lock horns in trying to push each other around. Brothers John and Leo Chenal faced off near the end, with Leo—the mid-year enrollee who has shined at inside linebacker—appeared to win the battle.
  • The wide receivers and defensive backs battled in some one-on-one drills. With the quarterbacks throwing to the wide outs, the offense appeared to earn a lot of “wins” (see: receptions) against the cornerbacks and safeties, especially a decent amount of deep balls hauled in by Ted Gilmore’s group. I thought redshirt junior Adam Krumholz showed up well in this session, beating cornerback Caesar Williams a couple of times both on short and long routes. I do feel it’s hard to really get a feel for this sometimes though, especially when a safety may be paired against a wide receiver in what some could feel is a mismatch.
  • The defense pulled down some interceptions, however. Faion Hicks picked off a Danny Vanden Boom pass in red zone 1-on-1s against the wide receivers. Later in modified team drills—think 7-on-7/skeleton period but with a couple of extra linemen thrown in to one side—Deron Harrell picked off a Graham Mertz pass, while outside linebacker Spencer Lytle intercepted what appeared to be a Coan pass.
  • I liked how redshirt freshman Chase Wolf threw the ball in some 7-on-7/skeleton drills. He hit A.J. Taylor in stride for a deep completion against a reserve cornerback, then hit another receiver on a long route over the middle.
  • Despite the aforementioned interception, you can see they physical toolset Mertz brings. A couple of times he threw strong, accurate out patterns to wide receiver A.J. Abbott.
  • Cornerbacks will be something to continue to monitor in terms of rotation, though it looked like Williams and Hicks were the first duo up once again. Redshirt freshman Alexander Smith may be someone to watch as well, as it looked like he worked in as the third cornerback in some nickel situations. Again, very early on, and we still have five more practices open to the media to view in the next two-plus weeks.
  • Another disclaimer as well, it looks like there is a lot of mixing and matching of players during these sessions. What could be designated as “first-team” and “second-team” or “reserves” snaps towards the end of practice, I feel, is murky. Case in point, at one part of practice, it looked like the presumed first-team defense was in—except for the defensive backs, who were showing some reserves.

What’s next?

Wisconsin practices on Thursday in a session closed to the media. On Saturday, the media and the public will be able to watch the team practice.