Led by Paul Chryst, the Wisconsin football team practiced in “half pack” for roughly two hours Monday morning on the grass field just north of Camp Randall Stadium. The practice marked the first full practice that media members were privy to seeing thus far, and the team’s fifth practice of fall camp. Bucky’s 5th Quarter has a breakdown of today’s action below.
On the injury front, the biggest news was that junior tight end Gabe Lloyd will miss the entire upcoming season with a leg injury. His injury is a blow to a tight end room that is in need of players to step up behind Jake Ferguson and Luke Benzschawel.
In terms of starters, junior defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk was out today with an arm injury, although he was seen at practice talking with the players.
Players who also were out: ILB Seth Currens, CB Dean Engram, OL Michael Furtney, WR Cade Green, OLB Spencer Lytle, WR Cam Phillips, RB Brady Schipper, OL Blake Smithback, and FB Quan Easterling.
Players who were limited: RB Julius Davis, OL Logan Brown, CB James Williams
Might as well cut to the chase, and discuss the position battle that everyone wants to know more about: quarterback.
In practice, Coan garnered the lion’s share of the first team reps, and looked solid in all settings of practice. Coan spread the ball around with multiple would be touchdowns to Aron Cruickshank, Danny Davis, Adam Krumholz, A.J. Taylor and Kendric Pryor. Coan looked to be poised and in control of the offense, other than an over throw interception to Rachad Wildgoose.
Jack Coan with the majority of reps with the first team today by a wide margin. Also noticed a lot of shotgun and pistol work today w/ read option concepts— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 5, 2019
While Graham Mertz was first up for second team reps, both he and Chase Wolf alternated heavily in the snaps not given to Coan. The two younger arms of Mertz and Wolf had their ups and downs, making a couple nice throws here and there, but also each throwing interceptions and missing some throws.
After only one day of practice (open to the media), Coan appears to have a leg (Editor’s note: arm?) up in the quarterback race.
Offensive Starters & Standouts
As previously noted, Coan had a great day of practice, and his receiving corps also appeared to stand out as well. Aron Cruickshank had a tremendous one handed catch in skelly drills over Caesar Williams, in addition to a deep touchdown catch in which he got behind the defense.
Aron Cruickshank has a beauty of a one handed catch for a touchdown in skelly work, thought he looked good in practice today, also continued to cover kickoff return duties— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 5, 2019
Danny Davis also had some tremendous catches in traffic, and Jonathan Taylor caught multiple passes both out of the backfield and split out wide in the formation. Additionally John Chenal got the majority of reps at fullback, and had a couple nice catches out of the backfield.
The offensive line seemed to rotate their personnel a good amount, with eight or nine guys getting reps with the first team. From what I saw it appeared that a starting lineup from LT to RT of Cole Van Lanen, Jason Erdmann, Tyler Biadasz, Kayden Lyles or Josh Seltzner, and Logan Bruss. However, Tyler Beach rotated in a good amount at tackle, while David Moorman also got a lot of work with the first team as well. Bottom line, the race for the two interior guard positions seems to be still open for competition, especially at right guard between Lyles, Seltzner and Moorman.
- Senior OLB Zack Baun
- Junior WR Danny Davis at the jugs machine
- Senior LB Chris Orr
- Linebacker Drills
- Sophomore Faion Hicks #1
- Freshman cornerback Semar Melvin #20
- Junior WR Kendric Pryor at the jugs machine
- Tackling technique drills
- Junior LB Mike Maskalunas
- Nose tackles #91 Bryson Williams and #74Gunnar Roberge
- #45 Leo Chenal and Mike Maskalunas #58
Defensive Starters & Standouts
The defense also rotated a lot of players in and out of the starting lineup Monday, but a couple of younger players saw a lot of time with the would be “starters” and played well.
I liked what I saw from redshirt freshman Reggie Pearson, who appeared to play the strong safety position next to Scott Nelson with the starters, with Eric Burrell coming in for three safety sets and rotating with Pearson as well. Junior safety, and Houston transfer, Collin Wilder also had a good hit on Garrett Groshek during team time.
Sophomore Izayah Green-May looked to get the most reps at the outside linebacker position opposite of Zack Baun, and showed great length and quickness for the position. Noah Burks also got some first team reps at the position.
At cornerback, a lot of players got first team reps, but Rachad Wildgoose and Deron Harrell appeared to be out there the most. Wildgoose had a nice interception early in practice off of Coan. Caesar Williams and Faion Hicks also saw time with the first team, with Williams picking off a Graham Mertz pass for what would have been a touchdown going the other way. With the way defensive back coach Jim Leonhard likes to change things up on the back-end, we don’t want to read too much into one practice.
Along the defensive line, in the absence of Loudermilk, Matt Henningsen, Bryson Williams, and a healthy Garrett Rand anchored the line, and appeared to be more stout against the run.
Leo Chenal #45 had a sack and a couple nice big stops at Wisconsin’s practice today, continuing to put on a show pic.twitter.com/KiUKpJr8mK— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 5, 2019
Lastly, the two players I was most impressed with in practice today were sophomore linebacker Jack Sanborn and freshman Leo Chenal. Sanborn consistently lined up with Chris Orr in the first team package, and he made some nice plays stuffing the run. Sanborn also had a couple of sacks, one of which would have been a likely safety. The freshman Chenal was a top performer in the spring, and once again did not disappoint. When he was on the field he always appeared around the ball, laying some of the bigger hits of practice, and also would have had a safety on a blitz scheme. The pair of young inside linebackers seems to have the future of the position looking good.