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Takeaways from Badgers spring practice No. 12: Defense

The Badgers defense shined once again in their final practice before “The Launch”.

The Wisconsin Badgers conducted their 12th practice of the spring on a short day in their final practice ahead of “The Launch” on Saturday.

Once again, the defense prevailed, although the receivers had a better day on Thursday.

Defense Rotations

Jeff Pietrowski continues to mix in with the first-team defense at outside linebacker alongside Darryl Peterson and C.J. Goetz as he integrates himself within Mike Tressel’s system.

The Badgers operated out of a 2-4-5 look for the majority of practice, utilizing two outside linebackers to complement Rodas Johnson, James Thompson, and Isaiah Mullens on the inside, displaying a few looks with three safeties as Austin Brown joined Kamo’i Latu and Hunter Wohler with the first-team defense.

Turnover frenzy

Ricardo Hallman had himself a field day, securing three interceptions off Tanner Mordecai, including a pick-six on the first play of scrimmage.

Hallman’s been very consistent through spring ball, cementing himself as a top corner on the Badgers, working against the top receivers on the team.

The other two interceptions came off poor decisions from the quarterback, looking to make a play when nothing was there, leading to turnovers for Hallman.

Preston Zachman secured the fourth interception of the day on a late read by Braedyn Locke, which he returned for a pick-six.

Additionally, the Badgers forced two fumbles on the ground, as Marty Strey recovered a Cade Yacamelli fumble, while Austin Brown forced one off walk-on Zach Gloudeman after a big hit.

Maema Njongmeta

The Badgers starting linebacker had a good day of practice again on Thursday, filling in well in the running game, while making plays as a blitzer.

Njongmeta was a difference maker last year on blitz packages, and should be utilized in a similar role with Wisconsin’s unique formations under Mike Tressel that keep their inside linebackers consistently moving.

The senior had a good practice, securing a tackle-for-loss on a blitz, while tracking well in pursuit on back-to-back plays.

Last season, an issue with the defense was the angles and discipline, but it appears the new system has made roles more clear, which has provided better run fits and more moving parts.


The offensive line and defensive line had 1-on-1s Tuesday. Here were the results.