Defense outshines offense again in Saturday scrimmage

first_imgComing off a disappointing effort in Wednesday morning’s early-a.m. practice, the University of Wisconsin football team bounced back with a solid weekend of practice.Wednesday’s full-pads practice included several scuffles between players and the general enthusiasm seemed lacking. But the Badgers came back with a cleaner, more physical session on Friday, despite donning just helmets and shorts.On Saturday afternoon, the team was rewarded with its second outdoor practice of the spring session, donning full gear and getting to scrimmage for the last hour or so of the workout.The weekend was not quarterback John Stocco’s best, as the senior was up and down, still trying to get in sync with his new receiving corps. In Friday’s workout, Stocco seemed to be especially out of rhythm, throwing interceptions to defensive back Shane Carter, who continues to have an outstanding spring, and linebacker Jonathan Casillas. Stocco also badly overthrew a fade route before taking five to re-tape his right ankle, after which he improved. Saturday was more of the same, as Stocco threw three more interceptions. Safety Roderick Rogers was the recipient of two of the INTs, while sophomore cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu picked up a horrendous prayer that Stocco threw up in the direction of wide receiver Paul Hubbard.”I think as we look on the film … there’s also a little bit to do with [Stocco] getting used to where those routes are actually being run and getting used to the receivers so they’re consistent,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “That was one of the things that really jumped out early on when [offensive coordinator] Paul [Chryst] came here was to get the No. 1 receivers working with the No. 1 quarterback as much as they can so that they can get the timing.”Stocco did have some shining moments, connecting on a 30-yard bomb with a diving Marcus Randle El.The defense again dominated the scrimmage, with the defensive backs looking particularly impressive, knocking down many passes and grabbing four interceptions.”I saw that today especially out of [sophomore Allen] Langford,” Bielema said of the defense’s level of anticipation in practice. “I like the way those guys react to the football.”Mark Zalewski had an outstanding practice, prompting one reporter to remark that he already looks like the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Bielema also praised Zalewski’s play, while adding that it is likely that linebacker Elijah Hodge will begin seeing more and more time at middle linebacker, as he is groomed to be the backup at that position.”Zalewski’s a pretty good football player. I don’t know how much we’ll need to scrimmage him all the time, so that will give Hodge more and more reps,” Bielema said. “[Hodge] is a guy that instinctively is a guy that you want at the ‘mike’ position. I feel better at that position because now you feel like you have a quality two-deep.”Running back Dywon Rowan also had another solid day, breaking several runs for 10-plus yards and exhibiting a nasty stiff-arm, as the senior continued to build upon a good spring.last_img

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