Badgers stepping up at the halfway point of spring football

Wisconsin football head coach Paul Chryst has always expressed the importance of spring ball to his players. It is a time for both returning and new players to show their worth, impress the coaches, and refine the skills needed to win in the regular season. With the halfway point of spring football, players prove their skills and fight for the first team position in practice.

The most watched competition going into the regular season is that of starting quarterback, between red shirt freshman Alex Hornibrook and fifth year senior Bart Houston. The two quarterbacks currently have been splitting first team reps.

After a less than satisfactory performance at practice on Thursday, Hornibrook showed success at the indoor practice on Saturday at the McClain Center. Hornibrook passed for 242 yards on 15 out of 21 passes, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Houston had a less stellar day, completing 10 of 24 passes for 134 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Chryst, however, gave little criticism of his two quarterbacks after Saturday’s practices. The mistake, he said, are normal in spring football.

“If you make a mistake, and it stinks, if you internalize it, and you don’t feel good about it, then you’re going to learn from it,” Chryst told the media. “You don’t grow until you put yourself out of your comfort zone.”

Running back Bradrick Shaw, a redshirt freshman, played well on Saturday as well, as his first string teammates Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale focusing on position and team drills.

Jason Galloway of the Wisconsin State Journal shared the unofficial stats from Saturday’s practice on Twitter. According to Galloway, Shaw had 10 carries for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns. Behind Shaw was redshirt sophomore from Maryland, Taiwan Deal. Deal had 15 carries for 34 yards on Saturday.

Also in the spotlight are two recently appointed fullbacks as of this incoming season, Alec Ingold and Leon Jacobs. Ingold and Jacobs moved from defense to offense, both players having previously played linebacker. On Saturday, Ingold had 2 carries for 6 yards, and Jacobs had 4 carries for 13 yards.

“It was hard to watch a guy [Jacobs] like that not be on the field as much,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said. “I’ve really liked what he [Jacobs] and Alec Ingold have been doing at fullback.”

Starting left tackle Ryan Ramczyk received significant media attention following Saturday’s practice. Though Ramczyk has had a highly successful spring football season, he has never played a snap as a Badger. Ramczyk transferred to UW after two successful years with UW-Stevens Point. By collegiate football rules, he had to sit out the 2015 season, but this year comes ready to play and be productive.

“I just wanted to come here and work as hard as I could and see where that got me,” Ramczyk explained. “Last year was tough, not even having the opportunity to be able to play, but I think I picked up a lot of techniques, fundamentals as well as the playbook.”

Spring practice has proven successful for many returning and new players. The Badgers have five more regular practices before the spring football game on April 23rd where coaches and fans alike will be able to get a better idea of who will be in the starting lineup against LSU on September 3rd at Lambeau Field.

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