It was another rough 2-minute drill for the offense during practice Wednesday morning for the University of Wisconsin football team.
For the second straight day, the 2-minute segment at the end of practice began with an interception.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Joel Stave was up firstr, getting the ball at his own 31-yard line, with 1 minute, 58 seconds on the clock. After two short completions, he was intercepted by cornerbak Devin Smith on a pass intended for Jared Abbrederis.
Senior Curt Phillips threw an interception on the first play of a 2-minute drill on Tuesday.
This time, Phillips managed two first downs, but the drive stalled when the offense could not convert a fourth-and-1 at the opponent's 36. Phillips dropped a snap, then got the handoff late to Jeff Lewis, who was stuffed for no gain by safety Michael Caputo.
Junior quarterback Danny O'Brien's chance in the drill ended with a four-and-out. His first-down pass over the middle was dropped by tight end Jacob Pedersen.
O'Brien completed a short crossing route on second down, then threw high on back-to-back incompletions to end the drill.
Borland works as pass rusher
The Badgers got a lot of work on their nickel package earlier in the practice.
The No. 1 nickel featured linebacker Chris Borland lined up as a rush end, along with three defensive linemen -- ends Brendan Kelly and David Gilbert and defensive tackle Beau Allen.
The coverage linebackers were juniors A.J. Fenton and Ethan Armstrong.
The Badgers continued to shuffle their linebackers, especially with backup mike Marcus Trotter out with an injury.
Sophomore Derek Landisch, junior Conor O'Neill and Armstrong all spent time at the mike in different packages.
Junior Nick Hill, who had been at mike behind Trotter, was moved to will on the second defense. Hill also got some reps with the second nickel defense as the outside rusher, in Borland's spot.
Senior Mike Taylor sat out a third straight practice, but UW coach Bret Bielema said Taylor returned in the evening. That workout was closed to the media.
"He's had so many hamstring things, if he has any flare up of that, we just kind of back off and sit him down," Bielema said after the evening practice.
Ball can still find end zone
The Badgers also worked a lengthy red-zone drill in the morning. It will be interesting to see if the offense's lofty red-zone success from the last two years continues under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
The highlight of this red-zone session was a tough catch by running back Montee Ball, against tight coverage. Stave lofted a perfect pass along the side of the end zone and Ball, who scored 39 touchdowns last season to tie an NCAA record, made an outstanding catch.
Watt looks like natural at fullback
So far so good with the move of redshirt freshman Derek Watt from linebacker to fullback.
Bielema has been amazed at how quickly Watt has picked things up on offense and said even hard-to-please running backs coach Thomas Hammock has been impressed.
"He's probably taken to it faster than I could have imagined," Bielema said.
"There's a lot of carryover. I do think a defensive guy moving to offense understands, 'OK, a power, I'm blocking that 'backer.' He knows it, he's been a 'backer. So, his knowledge is good. We know his effort is good, but he's able to move and bend."
Bielema watched a blitz pickup drill in the morning in which Watt was able to quickly do things that often take some time to master.
"They did pass 'pro' this morning," Bielema said. "That takes some time to develop and he was pretty natural, caught the ball in the flat today against our ones, took it for about 30 yards, because he can definitely turn and run after it got in his hands. So, I'm excited where he's at in a short amount of time."