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Injury bug hits Badgers offensive line and more observations from Wisconsin's 8th training camp practice
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Injury bug hits Badgers offensive line and more observations from Wisconsin's 8th training camp practice

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The Badgers offense line took some body blows Saturday, the first day of the University of Wisconsin football team practiced in full pads this fall.

With both tackles expected to start this season on the sidelines already, UW lost each of their replacements to injuries during practice on the grass field just north of Camp Randall Stadium. Redshirt sophomore Logan Brown, who had been the first-team left tackle, left practice due to a head injury and redshirt freshman Tanor Bortolini, who was the first-team right tackle Saturday, suffered a right-leg injury about midway through practice.

Seniors Tyler Beach (left leg) and Logan Bruss (left leg) didn’t practice — Beach hasn’t yet suited up this fall while Bruss missed his first practice of camp.

“I don't worry so much about the (individual) practice, I worry about getting better each practice so we’re better during the year,” UW offensive line coach Joe Rudolph said.

“I don't know with the injuries sustained that I could say we're better going into tomorrow. I’ve got to find out what's going on and what happened. We’ve got to find a way to play, practice safer, so that guys can stay healthy. And if we don't, then we won't have a group that's as good as it could be.”

The severity of Brown or Bortolini’s injuries wasn’t known after practice. UW’s offensive line was also without redshirt freshman Dylan Barrett, who was out with a right-leg injury.

Beach has appeared close to a return and he worked out with trainers on Friday. He wore a helmet and jersey Saturday. Bruss didn’t appear to have any extra taping or braces on his leg and was moving around well as he actively coached other linemen, so he may not miss much time.

The offense wasn’t as sharp as it had been earlier this week, and protection was an issue during 11-on-11 portions of the day.

Here are some other observations from Saturday’s practice:

Some skirmishes

After eight days of practicing against one another, some tension between the offense and defense boiled over.

Three small scuffles broke out during team sessions. The first, which occurred during the second 11-on-11 period of the day, was a shoving match between a number of linemen that was surrounded by teammates so quickly it was hard to identify what started it.

The second and largest donnybrook of the morning came later in that period. Redshirt freshman Preston Zachman popped tight end Jack Eschenbach after Eschenbach caught a pass over the middle. It was a clean hit into Eschenbach’s chest and stomach, and neither player went to the ground, but Eschenbach was wearing a non-contact yellow jersey.

That brought a wave of offensive and defensive players together for more shoving and yelling, which took about 30 seconds to calm down. The last bit of fireworks came when junior inside linebacker Leo Chenal mixed it up on the ground with an offensive lineman, which resulted in a small pile of bodies to break it up.

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The Badgers haven’t yet tipped their hand regarding which running back on the roster will be the lead back, or better yet, if there will be one.

What’s clear to see is the belief UW has in redshirt freshman Jalen Berger and junior Chez Mellusi. The pair has split first-team reps at tailback throughout camp and been active in running routes out of the backfield. They’ve gotten the bulk of the snaps with the first and second teams.

The two are also the only running backs in the group that don’t participate in special teams drills, signifying the team’s belief that they’ll have enough on their plate offensively to not want to risk them in the third phase.

Another standout Williams?

UW fans have gotten used to senior Caesar Williams in the Badgers’ defensive backfield, but another player who shares his surname just wrapped up a good first week of training camp.

Amaun Williams, a redshirt freshman from Milwaukee Vincent, has been easy to spot — he enters the field yelling to hype up his teammates and he’s back up that boisterousness with his play.

Williams had two pass breakups on Saturday to go along with the tackle for loss and interception he posted on Wednesday.

For all the promise he’s shown, Amaun Williams was also on the receiving end of multiple stiff-arms on the same play from freshman tailback Braelon Allen on Wednesday. Those shoves sent him to the ground as Allen ran down the sideline.

From the infirmary

Here’s a look at who didn’t practice Saturday. If a reason isn’t listed for a player, it wasn’t provided by UW’s status report.

OUT

  • OLB Ayo Adebogyn (Illness)
  • CB Al Ashford (left arm)
  • OL Tyler Beach (left leg)
  • NT Keeanu Benton (family engagement)
  • WR Stephan Bracey (right leg)
  • ILB Jake Chaney (right arm)
  • RB Loyal Crawford (head)
  • ILB Tatum Grass (head)
  • CB Deron Harrell (right leg)
  • OLB Riley Nowakowski
  • WR Isaac Smith
  • OLB Aaron Witt (right leg)

LIMITED

  • K Jack Van Dyke (right leg)

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