With overcast skies clearing way for a cool morning of practice the Badgers had their last practice of fall camp that was open to the media. In full pads inside Camp Randall the Badgers practiced for a little over two hours with a heavy focus on individual position groupings for the first 60 minutes leading into extensive red zone work.
- Danny Davis was out today with a walking boot on his foot. The injury is not thought to be serious, but it is still noteworthy with A.J. Taylor also sitting out practice today.
- Jake Ferguson was a welcomed addition back for the tight end group. He went through the full practice while dealing with a thumb injury.
Sophomore TE Jake Ferguson was back at practice today with a yellow no contact jersey on. He was still sporting a splint and wrap on his injured thumb. That didn’t stop him from snagging a pretty one handed catch at the back of the end zone. pic.twitter.com/Fc8P4ItSZd— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 16, 2019
Red zone work
Paul Chryst told the media at the beginning of camp that he wanted to specifically target situations more this fall in practice. A large portion of practice was dedicated to offensive and defensive red zone work. Both the offense and defense each shared their own victories seesawing back and forth in that regard. Here are some noteworthy plays during this time.
- After Deron Harrell intercepted a pass off of Jack Coan, Coan responded with a nice fade route touchdown to Kendric Pryor the following play.
- Tyler Johnson had a would be sack, as did Keeanu Benton on a play he blew up in the backfield.
- Chase Wolf threw a pretty touchdown to Taj Mustapha on a short route concept.
- Graham Mertz threw a laser touchdown to Aron Cruickshank in traffic up the seam.
After dropping an interception off Coan, Scott Nelson got redemption toward the end of practice on a tipped pass that he somehow came up with in traffic off Coan near the line of scrimmage.— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 16, 2019
- Coan threw red zone touchdowns to Jack Eschenbach, Ferguson and Jack Dunn. He also threw a gem to Dunn along the sideline on a deep out that was almost a touchdown as well from around the 20 yard line.
- The defense was very stout against the run in the red zone, and had a couple of would be sacks as well, and were able to bring some heavy pressure up the middle of the defense a few times.
- Matt Henningsen did a nice job along the defensive line. Today he had a couple of solid run stuffs and was also able to knock down a pass against the number one offense early in practice.
- Nakia Watson had back to back really strong runs during a move the ball team session at the end of practice. He exploded for a long 20+ yard gain and then backed it up with another solid first down carry.
Here is a video of the type of running ability Watson, who recently switched to number 14 can bring pic.twitter.com/dWYmHbl2FE— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 16, 2019
- Jack Eschenbach hauled in some solid catches during the red zone portion of practice, including a touchdown from Coan. He later caught a long 20+ yard pass from Mertz on probably the connection of the day between a couple defenders.
- Keeanu Benton continues to get significant snaps as the second nose tackle, and in addition to a sack he was able to hold his ground well in the run game along the line. The true freshman appears to be in the mix for snaps in games this fall.
After practice the media had a chance to speak with Paul Chryst. The head coach believes that Danny Davis, A.J. Taylor, Kendric Pryor, Adam Krumholz and Jack Dunn have had the best camp of the receivers. This will likely be the top pass catching group, with Aron Cruickshank also possibly factoring into the equation. Chryst continued by saying that some of the young receivers “flash” but that they haven’t been doing it consistently enough yet.
The head coach was reluctant to give up too much about the quarterback competition, but acknowledged that there is another scrimmage on Monday which could help the staff get a better idea of the pecking order. Chryst went on to say that he wasn’t ready to name a starter, and that there might not be an official announcement before South Florida.
Lastly, Chryst brought up that he has liked the effort level of David Moorman, and his ability to be a utility player of sort for the team. Moorman has spent time in camp all along the offensive line as a reserve at center, guard, and tackle. However, his biggest task to come may be as a jumbo blocking tight end with a shortage of bodies available at the position. He has done a nice job there so far in camp, and has worked with tight end coach Mickey Turner on that role in addition to his time with the offensive line.