Redshirt sophomore Brett Connors took first-team reps at right tackle during the University of Wisconsin’s practice Thursday while Jacob Maxwell was out with a left leg injury.
Connors has earned consistent second-team reps throughout spring practice and senior Dan Voltz said Tuesday that Connors has the ability to play every position on the offensive line.
Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph said last week that Beau Benzschawel, the Badgers’ current first-team right guard, would likely serve as the team’s third tackle if Maxwell or left tackle Ryan Ramczyk suffered an injury.
With Maxwell out Thursday, however, UW wanted to give Connors an opportunity.
“I’ve appreciated Brett, the way that he works, he does a number of different things for us,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. "He’s a young offensive lineman, and he’s continuing to improve because it’s important to him. He takes coaching. Certainly, he’s going to be able to and needs to provide us with depth, which we all know is huge."
SPRING GAME FORMAT
Thursday was the Badgers’ final practice of the spring before finishing it off with their spring game Saturday.
Based on Chryst’s description of Saturday’s events, however, it appears the game will look like every other practice the Badgers’ have conducted this spring — only with more people watching.
Chryst said UW will begin the game, which begins at noon at Camp Randall Stadium and will be televised by BTN, with positional drills before scrimmaging for about an hour and 15 minutes.
The coaching staff will not divide the roster into two separate teams. Rather, the first-team offense will begin playing against the first-team defense, with the second-team units also getting series against each other.
There will be no live kicking and punting, although Chryst said there could be some PAT and field goal attempts.
What has to happen for Chryst to consider Saturday a successful spring game?
“Nobody gets hurt and it looks like football,” he said.
Redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook had another solid day through the air Thursday, as he completed 12-of-15 passes during team drills with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
He threw an impressive deep ball to wide receiver George Rushing that went for a 53-yard score and connected with Rushing again on an 18-yard touchdown. Tight end Troy Fumagalli also caught a 4-yard touchdown from Hornibrook.
Hornibrook continues to split first-team reps with fifth-year senior Bart Houston, who completed 8-of-17 passes during team drills. He had one touchdown on the day — a 12-yard pass to Fumagalli during the 7-on-7 period — and threw two interceptions to cornerback Sojourn Shelton and another to safety Arrington Farrar.
Neither performed well during 7-on-7 drills, as they combined to complete just 2-of-10 passes.
FROM THE INFIRMARY
Cornerback Titus Booker (right thigh) and outside linebacker Jake Whalen (right thigh) were both a full-go during Thursday’s practice after being limited in recent practices.
Running back Troy Laufenberg and offensive lineman George Panos were both limited with left shoulder injuries.
Wide receiver Reggie Love appeared to suffer an injury late in Thursday’s practice but the nature of the injury remains unknown.
Safety D’Cota Dixon (left groin), offensive linemen Ben Hemer (head) and Logan Schmidt (left knee), wide receiver Henry Houden (right thigh), running back Mark Saari (right hand) and tight end Eric Steffes (right groin) remained out Thursday, while wide receivers Krenwick Sanders (left thigh) and Robert Wheelwright (right leg) remained limited.
Rushing led UW with five receptions during team drills, including the two touchdowns, although he did drop two passes during 7-on-7 drills. … T.J. Watt, Chikwe Obasih and Kraig Howe each recorded a sack Thursday.