Wisconsin's first practice of Friday was open to the media for just a tiny sliver at the end, though that didn't limit the availability of some interesting news and observations.
With Monday's scrimmage -- the last of two this fall -- just around the corner, the time for making depth chart announcements is nearing. While many indications have the most pressing position battle, quarterback, down to a two-man race between Joel Stave and Curt Phillips, Gary Andersen and Dave Aranda continue to give Tanner McEvoy opportunities to impress. That was the case Friday, as McEvoy worked heavily with the first-team offense.
QB Tanner McEvoy worked with #Badgers No. 1 unit for a 10-play series Friday. Threw several nice balls. (contd)— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) August 16, 2013
#Badgers OC Andy Ludwig said McEvoy is still learning/coming on. McEvoy picked by Peniel Jean but (contd)— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) August 16, 2013
...It appeared #Badgers WR Robert Wheelwright didn't run a good route on the play.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) August 16, 2013
Coaches seem to be trying to bolster confidence of McEvoy,giving him 10-play series, with some read option and rollouts.— Tom Mulhern (@TomMulhernWSJ) August 16, 2013
Overall, the offense had a better day than Thursday, when poor performance forced the unit into running sprints while the defense hit the showers. The Badgers will practice once more Friday evening and then Saturday morning, giving McEvoy two more practices to improve before Monday's scrimmage. The coaching staff is expected to narrow some position battles afterward, especially at quarterback. A starter might not necessarily be named, but some indication could be given that McEvoy won't be fighting for the starting job any longer.
The other big news of Friday's morning session was the continued reshuffling of the offensive line. This time, right guard Kyle Costigan was given the morning off with a sore knee that reportedly isn't necessarily an "injury." Hopefully that's true -- offensive line coach T.J. Woods can't be faulted for being cautious considering center Dan Voltz is already nursing a hamstring injury and the unit is already considerably thin.
With Costigan out, Ryan Groy shifted to left guard from left tackle. Tyler Marz lined up at left tackle and Rob Havenstein also got a few reps there. Dallas Lewallen, who's been filling in at center for Voltz, also worked as the No. 2 left tackle.
News, notes and observations
- The other big news for McEvoy Friday was him finally earning his helmet stripe. Other newcomers to do the same were tight end Troy Fumagalli, safety Matt Hubley, fullback D.J. Spurling and wide receiver Jazz Peavy.
- Freshman outside linebackers Alec James and Leon Jacobs have both been among the most impressive newcomers in camp, but roster limitations might force one or both to be redshirted. That's another roster decision that could become clearer after Monday. At OLB, the Badgers already have Brendan Kelly, Ethan Armstrong, Jesse Hayes, Joe Schobert, Vince Biegel and Nick Hill.
- Peavy made his first impression of camp after missing the early portion due to a hamstring injury, hauling in a deep pass from Bart Houston at the end of practice.
- Secondary coach Ben Strickland says freshman defensive backs Jakarrie Washington and Sojourn Shelton are both expected to contribute on defense this year, according to ESPN Wisconsin's Zach Heilprin.