April 6, 2009

Spring camp report: Day 8

MADISON, Wis. - Though the spring ball injury bug has not been anywhere near as fierce as it was a season ago for the Wisconsin football team, the second major to occur injury will likely sideline Erik Prather for the remainder of his career.

In attendance:

-Kevin Henry: Defensive end prospect from Morris (IL) high school.
-Tom Brees: Lake Forest (IL) high school.
-Former Badgers Kraig Urbik and Anthony Davis took in some of the action.

Injury report:

During UW's 94-play scrimmage Saturday afternoon, Prather sprinted out to his left in an effort to get in on the tackle. When he got to the pileup, one of his teammates fell awkwardly on his knee. Prather, who was seen at Monday's practice in a full knee brace and crutches, was in immediate pain and was eventually carted off the field.

"Erik Prather unfortunately hurt his knee on Saturday," UW head coach Bret Bielema said following Monday's practice. "(He) had a pretty significant knee injury. They probably won't be able to operate on it for about a month.

"The likelihood of him being able to play here anymore is probably not very good going into his final year. So, tough stretch for him."

Up to that point, Prather was putting together a solid spring campaign. He seemed to be in a rotation where he would play at the will linebacker spot behind Jaevery McFadden with the second string unit.

"I know it will be crushing for him," Bielema said. "I already talked to coach Dave Doeren, anyway we can keep him involved for his senior year because he's very, very popular with the guys."

-Wide receiver Kyle Jefferson did not participate in practice as he tries to recover from a minor illness.

"He just had really been sick," Bielema said. "They did some different tests on him, but we expect him to be able to go tomorrow."

Team not listening well?

With the new spring format that includes four practices in a given week, it can only be expected that the team would eventually begin to show signs of fatigue and wear. At the end of Monday's practice, Bielema voiced his concern to his team in regards to attention to detail and mental mistakes.

"I talked about finishing things," Bielema said. "One of the things that we talked about out of season was finishing what we start. Today was the finish of practice. I thought today would be one of the more difficult days, it's practice No. 8, we're in full pads, we just got done with over 90 plays of scrimmage on Saturday, so I really thought they would come in with a little bit of a drag today.

"But they did good early on and did some things. I wanted to really finish strong there at the end. There were just a couple guys that weren't finishing and that's what we asked them to do."

Notes and impressions:

-All four quarterbacks threw the ball particularly well in skele drills. Scott Tolzien connected on all four of his attempts, Dustin Sherer went 4-for-5, Jon Budmayr was perfect on all four throws and Curt Phillips went 3-for-5.

-Erik Smith continued to build on his momentum from Saturday as he was able to find the end zone twice during red zone drills without being touched.

-Defensive tackle Jeff Stehle nearly recorded an interception near the end of practice. Senior Jaevery McFadden sprinted in on a blitz and hit the ball out of Sherer's hand as he was preparing to throw. The ball popped into the air where Stehle had a chance to haul it in. But, that among other things, is why he is a lineman and not a tight end.

Play of the day:

-Sherer fired a bullet to Gilreath on the near sideline, but Marcus Cromartie was all over the route. He seemed to have broken up the pass, but instead of batting the ball down, the ball part into the air. Gilreath was able to gather himself along the sideline, catch the tipped ball and take off for a touchdown.

Up next:

-UW will return to the field Tuesday night for practice No. 9 of 15.

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