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Wisconsin fall camp practice report, day 5: Corey Clement, Chris Borland, Joe Schobert shine

Friday was the first day players wore full pads. Which stood out during Friday's practice?

Jonathan Daniel

TGIF to all.  The first week of Badgers fall camp concluded today.

"First of all, it's good to be in pads," said head coach Gary Andersen, who stated the defense won the practice based off of their points system.

There was one real scuffle to talk about, but nothing like the Green Bay Packers' day of brawls earlier this week.  No players punching each other, in the head, when they have helmets on... still don't understand that.

Things to note from the beginning:

  • Injured F-side outside linebacker Ethan Armstrong suited up but did not participate today. Joe Schobert took his place with the starting defense again for the third straight day.
  • Defensive linemen Warren Herring was back practicing and participated in contact drills.

Key observations:

-- Through five days, freshman running back Corey Clement has been impressive. He ran the ball especially well on Friday and coaches have taken notice. Andersen on the true freshman from Glassboro, N.J.:

"What I saw was, number one, he's tough," he said. "Number two, he's very smart, he's handled the offense well.  Number three, he has unbelievable ball security for a freshman.  I shouldn't even say that."

Andersen also described Clement as "well-rounded."

BadgerBlitz's John Veldhuis tweeted it best just earlier this afternoon:

-- Another true freshman looking to make an impact, Leon Jacobs, received some playing time during team drills with substitutions, along with Vince Biegel, Nick Hill and Alec James as outside linebackers.

Andersen said Jacobs in particular has been doing well, especially with the mental side. Jacobs hit a bit of a wall, per Andersen, on Thursday but bounced back nicely on Friday.

-- Chris Borland had another productive day, including some short-yardage stops. Andersen called him "unbelievably instinctive" and compared him to current San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle, a former player for Andersen at Utah.

"It's all coaching," Andersen joked.

-- Andersen said the Badgers started off well but went through a "serious low" where there was a three-period stretch where the head coach described it as the worst he's seen since he's been at Wisconsin, but the team did rebound thereafter.

-- Derek Landisch worked again with the first-string defense as the rover inside linebacker. As the Wisconsin State Journal's Tom Mulhern wrote a couple days ago, Landisch and Conor O'Neill will switch off until one stands out as the starter.

-- Zac Matthias and Kyle Costigan, from what I saw, kept alternating between the first- and second-string offense at right guard.

-- Waunakee's own Leo Musso was still the free safety with the 1s in drills and 11-on-11.

-- Quarterbacks: Curt Phillips started with the No. 1 offense in "9-on-7" drills. Joel Stave then came out with the 1s in team 11-on-11 drills; Phillips then started off with the 1s in red zone skelly drills. Stave ended up with the starting offense for the "team mix" drill. Tanner McEvoy went under center with what looked to be the second-team offense during periods.

-- Stave looked good passing, again. During 11-on-11 play, he had a nice 35-yard completion to receiver Jared Abbrederis who, by the way, has looked very good in the first week. Stave was 6-of-7 with a touchdown to Austin Maly in red zone skelly drills, and I believe 1-of-2 in team red zone drills and 0-of-3 in team mix drills.

-- Phillips was 3-of-8 with a touchdown to tight end Brian Wozniak in red zone skelly drills, then hit fullback Derek Watt a couple times, once for a touchdown during team red zone drills.

-- McEvoy was 1-of-2 in team drills and had a nice pass to receiver A.J. Jordan in that period, as well as 2-of-5 in red zone skelly drills with a touchdown to Watt in the right flat. He did also throw an interception to safety Mike Caputo in that same session. McEvoy was also almost picked by Caputo again in team mix drills. He was intercepted on a pass to Chase Hammond to end the practice (or could have been ruled a fumble). Hammond was popped over the middle, causing the ball to fly up into the air. It appeared the ball was picked by linebacker Ben Ruechel.

-- During red zone drills in a battle of more true freshmen looking for playing time, cornerback Sojourn Shelton broke up a would-be touchdown to receiver Rob Wheelwright from Stave.

"Those two guys are contributing," Andersen said.

-- Joe Schobert made some nice plays, including a deflection of a bubble screen during team mix sessions. As Andersen said, he quietly makes plays. Andersen did disclose Schobert is a little banged up, though he didn't specify what injuries he is battling.

-- Andersen gave some details as to what Monday's scrimmage will entail.  There will be:

  • Full kick-off and kick return units
  • Some "Drive-it" sessions: starting drives at the 25-yard lines (first- and second-strings) a couple times; a couple more from the 35- and 40-yard lines
  • Work for third-string players
  • A couple of "backed up" sessions with offenses needing to get two first downs.
  • Live punt, non-live punt return
  • PAT/FG
  • Two red zone series for drive-its

In all, there will be 100-plus reps, including special teams.  They will "buzz" the quarterbacks "pretty tight", but not tackle them during the scrimmage.

Two-a-days also start Saturday.

"We need to grind through [Saturday's] two-a-day, and it'll be a tough day," Andersen said. "It'll be a good work day for them."

Check back with me tomorrow, and follow me on Twitter @KKSE_Kuba for more tidbits from camp. Also, check out @KielbasaKingsWI and my co-host @ScottWisniewsk2 on our live show Sunday night:

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