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Takeaways from Badgers spring practice No. 11: Offense

The Badgers offense had a sloppy performance on Tuesday on a drop-heavy day.

The Wisconsin Badgers conducted their 11th practice of the spring on Tuesday, including their first practice indoors in a while.

After a scrimmage-heavy day on Saturday, it was a sloppy day for the offense, while the first-team defense continued to shine with several plays.

Offense Rotations

C.J. Williams earned all of the first-team reps on Tuesday after a strong performance Saturday, stepping into his regular spot on the right side, while Chimere Dike took Keontez Lewis’s place on the left side.

Lewis spent the majority of the day with the second-team offense alongside Skyler Bell and Vinny Anthony, who took all of the second-team reps on the outside ahead of Quincy Burroughs, which hadn't been seen yet.

Joe Huber continued to earn all the first-team left guard snaps in place of Trey Wedig for the second-consecutive practice, while splitting reps with Dylan Barrett as the center on the second-team offense.

The offensive line rotations remained the same as Saturday, with Jack Nelson, Huber, Tanor Bortolini, Michael Furtney, and Riley Mahlman starting, while Nolan Rucci, Joe Brunner, Huber, JP Benzchawel, and Wedig operated with the second-team offense.

Riley Nowakowski saw some action with the first-team offense, lining up as an in-line tight end, and figures to see some time after a position change this offseason.

Additionally, at running back, walk-on Grover Bortolotti has been earning a ton of reps as of late, edging into some of Cade Yacamelli’s second-team reps, as the team establishes its depth at the position.

Quarterback play

It wasn't a great day for Tanner Mordecai with his accuracy, especially downfield, although he completed a beautiful pass to Will Pauling between Kamo’i Latu and Hunter Wohler early which was the highlight of the day for the offense.

Mordecai faced some trouble with the first-team defense, as he was nearly picked off three times: once by Kamo’i Latu, Jason Maitre, and Ricardo Hallman, although there were a few drops on that end.

He also was an unfortunate casualty of a drop by Chimere Dike on a catchable pass that bounced off the wideout’s hands.

Once again, Mordecai looked to challenge downfield, but was often off target as a result of firing too deep.

Arm strength isn't the issue with Mordecai’s game, but he needs to have more consistency with his deep ball, which he has the opportunity to do as spring ball winds to a finish.

Braedyn Locke also was the benefactor of a few drops, while having a few passes broken up by the defense on a day where he was without C.J. Williams as his top receiver.

Locke did make a nice play on a 40-yard touchdown to Skyler Bell where he found the wide-open receiver on a cross-body throw, who went 25 yards untouched to the endzone.

With the third-team offense, Marshall Howe got two series, while Myles Burkett and Nick Evers got a series each.

Howe completed most of his passes, finding Angel Toombs twice, while Burkett made a nice touchdown throw to a wide-open Skyler Bell in the endzone.

Evers dealt with a drop, a sack, and a fumble by Cade Yacamelli after the catch on his lone passing attempts.

Drop City

It was an ugly day for the wide receivers, who dropped several passes, which led to a defense-dominant day in scrimmage.

Keontez Lewis, Skyler Bell, Angel Toombs, Chimere Dike, Vinny Anthony, and Quincy Burroughs each dropped passes on a deflated offensive day that resulted in offensive coordinator Phil Longo having the entire unit run four sprints from the endzone to the 20-yard line and back to finish practice.

For the most part, the wideouts have been extremely competitive, with sure hands being a primary reason why. But, on Tuesday, drops were a recurring theme on a non-scrimmage-heavy day, which made the problem stand out even more.

RB room depth shaking out

The running back room was going to be an intriguing competition this offseason following the departure of longtime Badger Isaac Guerendo, who transferred to Louisville.

Running back Cade Yacamelli was an early emerger, showcasing his good athleticism and ability to catch passes out of the backfield, which led him to earn a majority of the snaps behind Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi.

However, walk-ons Grover Bortolotti and Zach Gloudeman have filled their roles well, working behind or with Yacamelli alongside the backups.

Each of the three players has showcased flashes of their hard running style, which sets up for a solid running back room that should include Jackson Acker, who has already piqued the interest of offensive coordinator Phil Longo.

With the potential of two-running back sets, there are many intriguing ways that the different running backs could get on the field under the new offense. And, it seems that the Badgers have enough depth at the position to create those looks.


The skill position players and defensive backs had 1-on-1s Tuesday. Here were the results.

Skill position players