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Chase Wolf's strong day and more observations from Wisconsin football practice
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UW FOOTBALL | FALL CAMP

Chase Wolf's strong day and more observations from Wisconsin football practice

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Barring an injury, there’s not going to be a quarterback competition this season for the University of Wisconsin football team.

Graham Mertz is the starter, and UW coaches and players have been asked an array of questions regarding Mertz’s improvement. Those queries will continue to be answered throughout training camp, but if Tuesday’s practice — the first open to reporters from beginning to end — is any indication, the program’s backup quarterback made a big jump this offseason.

Badgers head coach Paul Chryst details how junior QB Chase Wolf has taken stock of the areas he needs to get better

Redshirt junior Chase Wolf had a number of throws that turned heads at Camp Randall Stadium, including a pair of tosses toward the sideline where only his receiver had a chance on the ball. He was particularly sharp during a seven-on-seven red-zone drill, completing four passes into tight windows in the end zone.

“Chase has been every bit as hungry and putting in the time. It’s been kind of fun for me to see,” Chryst said. “I think he knows where everything, how everything, why everything kind of fits and comes together. I think that’s a strength of his, I think he’s got a natural good feel for the game.”

Wolf appeared in three games last season, with his highlight play being a throw to Jack Dunn against Minnesota for a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. He’s also more mobile than the other quarterbacks, though he hasn’t been able to show that skill much in games.

With the good things he does, there were some head-scratching mistakes. His ill-advised deep throw down the left sideline late in the Minnesota game was intercepted and gave the Gophers the ball back with 1 minute, 19 seconds left in a tie game. UW went on to win 20-17 in overtime.

Wolf also threw an interception in the final minute of the first half of the win over Wake Forest in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Chryst said Wolf has done well this offseason recognizing when to be aggressive in trying to make plays.

“I think the guys did a nice job in the summer preparing for the season when you’re not doing skelly and team situations,” Chryst said. “So there’s still some getting back to playing that we’ve got to do, that Chase’s got to do, but hopefully we can shorten those that curve for him so we can progress.”

Other observations from UW’s fifth training camp practice:

‘DP’ flashes raw power

At 6-foot-1 and 247 pounds, Darryl Peterson is one of the bigger outside linebackers on the roster. He showed he knew how to use that size during 11-on-11 portions of practice, firing into linemen and knocking them off balance.

Peterson got some extra reps with his position group missing a handful of players, and the three-star recruit from Akron, Ohio, showed good quickness off the snap.

Chryst said Peterson’s a talented player and he’s come with an attitude of wanting to make an impact early.

“He looks to me like there’s a number of snaps where he’s playing,” Chryst said. “There’s a lot of times with young guys where they’re still ... you can see him kind of thinking through it, you can almost hear their wheels grinding a little bit. And that’s natural, that’s not a negative. But I think that he seems early that he’s shown ability to — Nick Herbig went through this last year — whether he was right or wrong, he didn’t worry about overthinking, he went.”

Outside linebackers coach Bobby April said last week no outside linebacker can feel comfortable in their role with the amount of talent the group has and the competition there will be at practice. If Peterson keeps it up, he’ll be in the mix for snaps earlier than expected.

Early kicking leader

Sophomore Jack Van Dyke took first-team reps with the field goal/PAT unit and took four kicks to senior Collin Larsh’s two during full-team sessions.

Van Dyke went 3-for-4, making a PAT, a 41-yard try from the left half and a 51-yarder from between the hashes. Larsh made both of his attempts, from 34 and 40 yards.

In the portion of Friday’s practice open to reporters, Van Dyke also was 3-for-4, with a long of 44 yards.

Special teams coordinator Chris Haering said during spring practices and again at media day last week that the placekicking spot was an open competition, but it appears Van Dyke, a Neenah product, is starting to edge his way to the top of the depth chart.

Tickets still available to fan event, opener

Schools officials say they’re still accepting reservations for the open football and volleyball practices on Saturday, Aug. 21. Fans will be able to watch the Badgers practice at 9 a.m. at Camp Randall, and then hear from athletic director Chris McIntosh and Chryst. Fans also are welcome at the volleyball team’s practice at noon.

Tickets, which are free, can be reserved on uwbadgers.com.

There are about 5,000 tickets still available for the season opener against Penn State on Sept. 4, the first UW game with fans in attendance since Nov. 23, 2019. Lower-bowl tickets are available for $130 each.

From the infirmary

Here’s a look at who didn’t practice for the Badgers. If no body part is listed, the player wasn’t included on the status report.

Limited

RB Braelon Allen (left leg)

S Travian Blaylock (left leg)

TE Jack Eschenbach (left arm)

OLB CJ Goetz

Out

OL Tyler Beach (left leg)

OLB TJ Bollers

RB Loyal Crawford (head)

CB Deron Harrell (right leg)

TE Jack Pugh

OLB Aaron Witt (right leg)


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