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Post-Practice Roundup, Day 3: Wisconsin throws on the shells

Garret Dooley left in an ambulance, Ethan Armstrong wasn't in attendance and the defense impressed in the first practice with shoulder pads.

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Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Day three of Wisconsin's fall camp concluded late Wednesday afternoon. Key notables right off the bat:

  • Freshmen linebacker Garret Dooley was taken off in an ambulance in the first part of practice. It's the first significant injury the Badgers have suffered in fall camp. Dooley tweeted, however, that he expects to be back in a few weeks:

Dooley later disclosed the injury, a dislocated knee cap:

  • Senior F-side linebacker Ethan Armstrong was not in attendance today due to a follow-up doctor's appointment. Sophomore Joe Schobert took his place with the first-team defense.
  • Senior inside linebacker Chris Borland left practice early due to a test (confirmed by the Wisconsin State Journal's Jim Polzin)
  • Junior defensive linemen Warren Herring and junior linebacker Marcus Trotter were on the sidelines stretching for most of the first half of practice and were not seen much for the rest of practice.

Key observations:

On their first day wearing shoulder pads, players enjoyed a little more contact, though they were still not in full pads. Remember, this is the just first week. Lots of questions, lots of practices left before the season kicks off Aug. 31 vs. UMass.

  • Chris Borland, during one-on-one drills designed to simulate running back blitz pick-ups, enjoyed using his spin move a few times.
  • Junior linebacker Derek Landisch played with the first-team defense alongside Borland at the rover inside linebacker position, with Schobert taking over for the absent Armstrong at the field-side (F-side) linebacker spot.
  • Junior Kyle Costigan and senior Zac Matthias interchanged with the first- and second-team offenses at right guard, though Costigan saw more time with the ones.
  • "SAAAAAAAAACK!" That's all you heard from the sidelines with the defense not allowing the offense any luxury of comfort in the "controlled downs" period. The first-team offense was left staggered with the pressure Aranda's group put on both sophomore Joel Stave and senior Curt Phillips. If you want more in-depth analysis, check out JSOnline's Jeff Potrykus' blog that's now up.
  • During skelly drills -- drills not including the offensive and defensive linemen -- and the controlled downs periods, the defense employed looks of three safeties and three cornerbacks on the field together. We mostly saw sophomore Darius Hillary, junior Peniel Jean and freshman Sojourn Shelton as the corners. I spoke with junior Michael Trotter after practice, and he said the Badgers could have up to four safeties on the field in certain packages. Senior safety Dezmen Southward also said the 3-4 allows them to run all different types of packages like these.
  • The safeties had a couple of interceptions. Redshirt freshmen Leo Musso picked off an underthrown Bart Houston pass in skelly drills, while sophomore Mike Caputo grabbed one over the middle off a Tanner McEvoy pass during controlled downs.
  • McEvoy, after throwing the interception, came back the next play and delivered a nice strike to junior Connor Cummins for a significant gain. A nice job of bouncing back by the sophomore signal caller.
  • Phillips and Stave did have a couple of nice throws. Stave aired out a long pass to junior Kenzel Doe, who reeled it in during the skelly session. Phillips, I thought, had a nice arm when not being barraged by defenders, throwing some nice over the shoulder passes to senior receiver Jared Abbrederis and Doe in different team periods.
  • Melvin Gordon took a handoff and, in what looked like the defense being caught up in their own blitz, gained big yards in the controlled downs period.
  • I spoke with four safeties -- Southward, Musso, Trotter and Caputo -- after practice. hey all gushed about new safeties coach Bill Busch. We're hoping to have an article about the safety competition, their relationship with Busch and those intriguing packages later this week.
  • Speaking of Busch, he clearly brings a lot of fire and enthusiasm. He lets his safeties know when they're not doing something 100 percent right, as Southward told me.
  • The music played in Camp Randall during practice is definitely a variety. I walked in to Phil Collins, then heard quite the assortment from Psy's "Gangnam Style" and Bob Marley to Michael Jackson and Mumford and Sons. Plus, a little country and Aerosmith to complete the musical palette. I was surprised they didn't bust out any Queen or Mozart.

Other than that, it's just the third day of practice. Mistakes are still being made, and chemistry for all needs to be worked on. All players have room for improvement, and there are plenty more practices forthcoming. I'm looking forward to being back out there tomorrow, and hopefully the rest of the week.

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