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Takeaways from Badgers spring practice No. 11: Defense

The Badgers continue to display strong defensive performances as the rotations switched up again.

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.

Defense Rotations

After catching my eye several times during his first practice back on Saturday, outside linebacker Jeff Pietrowski saw reps with the first-team offense opposite Darryl Peterson on a day of heavy rotation.

Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel involved several different outside linebackers with his top unit, as Pietrowski, C.J. Goetz, Darryl Peterson, and even T.J. Bollers got work with the first-team defense on Tuesday.

There was some three-linebacker action, but Tressel went back to his signature 3-2-6 look as safety Travian Blaylock returned to practice, working with the first and second-team defense.

Standout cornerbacks

Wisconsin’s starting defensive backs, which were a weakness in 2022, continue to shine against the team’s top offensive unit, as Jason Maitre had a good all-around day from the slot.

Maitre began with a nice rep in 1-on-1s against C.J. Williams, recording a pass-breakup before nearly intercepting a pass from Tanner Mordecai in 11-on-11s.

The Boston College transfer then had a nice set of plays on a later drive, filling in the lane off a play-action to get to tight end Jack Pugh near the line of scrimmage before breaking up a pass intended for the tight end, ripping the ball away and letting out a celebration.

Ricardo Hallman also had a near interception, dropping the pass from Mordecai that was right to him, but had a nice cover against Chimere Dike on a go-route that fell incomplete.

Additionally, true freshman Jonas Duclona, who earned all the second-team snaps alongside Jace Arnold for the second consecutive practice, had himself a nice day, breaking up a pass intended for Keontez Lewis on a deep pass, while recording another pass breakup in the short area.

Standout linebackers

Other standouts included Pietrowski, who beat Riley Mahlman for a sack early on, and Tatum Grass, who got an early pass breakup off Braedyn Locke, while earning a pressure of a blitz later on. The latter also earned some time with the first-team defense opposite Maema Njongmeta.

Two other linebackers that enjoyed nice days were Kaden Johnson, who had a sack on Braedyn Locke, as well as a tackle for loss in the run game, and Marty Strey, who compiled a sack of his own, while forcing a fumble on Cade Yacamelli after the catch.


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

Skill position players