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Takeaways from Badgers spring practice No. 7: Offense

The Badgers practiced inside Camp Randall Stadium for the first time this spring.

The Wisconsin Badgers conducted their seventh practice of the spring on Saturday, which marked the first day that players practiced inside Camp Randall Stadium.

Overall, it was a fairly balanced day for the offense and defense, with several standouts on each side.

Offense Rotations

The first-team offense remained the same for the Badgers, although guard Michael Furtney was momentarily removed after a fight with Rodas Johnson broke out.

There were more rotations for the skill-position players, as Skyler Bell and C.J. Williams each saw some action with the first-team offense.

The second-team offense changed a little bit, as Joe Huber moved to right guard, with Dylan Barrett coming back to be the second-team center after snapping woes were the headline of Thursday’s practice.


Tanner Mordecai continues to compile strong practices for the Badgers, executing the offense well and having minimal to zero mistakes on the day.

While he may not be pushing the ball downfield heavily, the quarterback continues to move the ball well downfield and operate with poise in the quicker portions of practice, showcasing his experience as a multi-year starter.

Keontez Lewis was the top receiver for the Badgers on Saturday, earning a significant amount of targets from Mordecai, including the play of the day on a deep jump ball from the top quarterback where the wideout corraled the ball in on a tough catch.

Lewis, who did have one drop on the day, has primarily showcased surefire hands and has been a strong competitor with the first-team offense, proving his value, not only as a burner, but as a route-runner with his catching ability.

Quarterback play

As mentioned above, Mordecai continues to compile consecutive strong practices, most importantly showcasing the ability to execute Phil Longo’s offense with his processing to quickly get rid of the football.

While it wasn't his strongest practice of the spring, it was still a solid day for backup Braedyn Locke, whose processing ability seems to have made him an early favorite for the No. 2 role behind Mordecai.

An intriguing trait of Locke’s has been his pocket mobility, as he made several throws moving outside of the pocket on Saturday, which has been important given the pressure he’s been given by the second-team defensive line.

Locke had a few mistakes, which included two near interceptions and one to Jake Chaney to cap off practice on a play he was immediately pressured on, but continues to display solid accuracy and a tendency to get the ball out quickly.

Locke had a couple of really solid throws, completing a downfield pass outside of the pocket to Skyler Bell, and showcasing patience to allow the second window to open up before firing.

Then, he found Tommy McIntosh for a 15-yard touchdown on a well-placed ball.

The backup quarterback dealt with pressure, bad snaps that botched plays, and some very good pass-breakups on accurate passes, but overall compiled another solid day of work.

Nick Evers saw limited action, missing a throw high on one of his lone dropbacks and fumbling on a handoff miscommunication that resulted in him being pulled.

Meanwhile, Marshall Howe seems to be impressing coaches, as he was, once again, the first quarterback to earn reps with the third-team offense.

Howe did have his inaccuracies on Saturday on a down day, but his rep count appears on par with those of Myles Burkett and Evers.

Burkett saw limited action as well, and had inaccuracies of his own on Saturday with a deep ball hanging in the air too long and a lowly-placed checkdown.

Wideout play

It was a strong day for the wideout group overall, as each of Wisconsin’s top players were featured on a day of heavy action.

Lewis was the standout, but Skyler Bell compiled another strong day of work with the second-team offense in the slot, catching several passes in a variety of ways, be it downfield crossers, over the middle, or on bubble screens.

Bell isn't the fastest receiver, but possesses solid hands and good route-running capabilities, which provide him a strong case to be featured in the rotation of a loaded wideout room.

Chimere Dike continues to be consistent, having one of the top plays on Saturday with a 50-yard touchdown from Tanner Mordecai where he flat-out beat Alexander Smith on a go-route for the score.

There were rotations with the wideouts, as C.J. Williams, who had himself a nice couple of catches, and Bell replaced Dike and Will Pauling with the first-team offense for a few reps.

The Badgers did briefly display a four-receiver look on Saturday, which could be a potential feature with the talent in the room, as Pauling and Bell served in the slot together on opposite sides of the field.

Snapping concerns

The Badgers have a snapping issue.

It was significantly demonstrated on Thursday, but re-iterated on Saturday as centers Tanor Bortolini, Joe Huber, and Dylan Barrett each had their own issues with ball placement on their snaps.

Bortolini consistently was missing low, while Barrett had a couple of high snaps.

Huber, who had been at center for the past few practices, was relegated to right guard, his original position, for Barrett with the second-team offense.

The Badgers’ initial starter, Jake Renfro, could miss the entirety of spring ball with a foot injury and there’s been a clear dropoff with snapping in his replacement.

Bortolini and Huber have played well as blockers, hence their regular positions of guard, but have struggled with snaps, which needs to be fixed as spring ball continues, specifically for depth purposes at the position.


It was a pretty good day for the offensive line in the 1-on-1 reps, a drill normally at their disadvantage.

Standouts of the drill were Tanor Bortolini, who won multiple reps against nose guards, Nolan Rucci, who faced outside linebackers at left tackle, and Max Rader, who has been a quiet standout of spring as a third-string.