August 25, 2009

Tuesday features relatively quiet practice

MADISON, Wis. - Tuesday's afternoon practice represented the final time the media would be allowed in to watch first hand. And, much like Monday's double bill workouts, Tuesday's practice went by rather quietly.

Half-line skele:

As the drill that showcases the quarterback's decision-making skills without any defensive linemen or linebackers bearing down on them, two quarterbacks performed well while the other kind of struggled.

Dustin Sherer completed the drill going 3-for-3 including a perfectly thrown ball to Kraig Appleton on the sideline. He also found a couple of his tight ends open for relatively big plays.

Scott Tolzien, who has definitely become a dark horse favorite to win the starting job, went 4-for-4 with deep completions to both Appleton and Nick Toon. Like Sherer, Tolzien also felt comfortable with the tight ends as he completed passes to Lance Kendricks and Mickey Turner during the drill.

Finally, Curt Phillips, who many believe is winning the competition, struggled a bit. He completed only three of seven passes while three of his four incomplete passes were simply because he overthrew his intended target.

The good news is that no quarterbacks threw an interception during the drill, which has not necessarily been the case in recent practices.

Move-the-chain drill:

At the end of practice, both Phillips and Tolzien had a shot to lead the team downfield in a move-the-chain drill. Tolzien had the first crack as he played with the No. 1 offense.

After starting the drive with an 18-yard pass to Kendricks, he threw incomplete to Toon who was blanketed by Antonio Fenelus. On the ensuing play, Zach Brown fumbled after his five-yard gain and turned the ball over to the defense.

Phillips, did not fare much better. He started by hitting Appleton for a five-yard gain across the middle. But after two runs by Montee Ball for no gain, Phillips threw a ball a bit high in the direction of Kendricks that was eventually tipped and almost intercepted by Chris Maragos.

On his second try, Tolzien led a 10-play drive that was capped by a touchdown pass to Toon. Running back John Clay set up the pass well on the drive with his six carries for 21 yards.

Phillips was given an opportunity in the opponent's red zone, but overthrew Brian Wozniak to end the practice.

Bits and pieces:

-Safety Jay Valai made his presence felt during inside drills of Tuesday's practice. Coming hard on a blitz, Valai lowered his shoulder and took out the offensive lineman attempting to slow him down and also tripped up the runner for no gain. Though the team wasn't tackling, Valai still managed to make it a very physical play.

-The players are voting for team captains tonight. Freshman will be allowed to vote this year after not being able to in years past.

-Sophomore defensive back Aaron Henry returned to practice after sitting out Monday.

-Head coach Bret Bielema is expected to release his depth chart for the season opener Thursday morning. Originally, Bielema said Wednesday would be the cutoff to name a starting quarterback, but instead he will wait for Thursday morning after the coaches go through a personnel meeting following Wednesday's practice.

-Bielema will also hand out Northern Illinois scouting reports to the team Thursday morning.

The team returns to practice Wednesday afternoon.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!