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Badgers football holds first open spring practice

Published: Apr. 10, 2021 at 11:30 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Six practices into spring football and the Badgers biggest hurdle right now is health and experience.

10 players were out, including three that are likely starters come the fall.

- DL Keeanu Benton (left leg)

- RB Julius Davis (leg)

- CB Deron Harrell (right leg)

- CB Faion Hicks (both legs)

- ILB Mike Masklanas (core)

- CB Semar Melvin (right arm)

- OLB Riley Nowakowski (right leg)

- WR Kendric Pryor (left leg)

- DL James Thompson Jr. (right leg)

- DL Bryson Williams (right leg)

Chimere Dike was also limited at practice with a leg injury while Jalen Berger and Aaron Witt had to leave early with leg injuries as well.

Experience has been something Paul Chryst has harped on from the beginning with nearly half his roster experiencing spring football for the first time in their careers.

This spring is the first with Graham Mertz as the Badgers starting quarterback throughout this portion of the offseason. With Paul Chryst as the Badgers new quarterback coach, added to his head coaching responsibilities, Chryst has been impressed with Mertz’s student-like approach to the game.

“You know I’ve loved the way he’s approached everything. And it’s been coming from a great spot. He will work and it’s important to him. He understands properly the whole role. And very coachable. He sees it and gets that and it’s just holding him to it. Really enjoy working with him and there’s a lot of work to be done.”

In the first open practice for the media, right away the outside linebackers being the most vocal and having the most energy at practice was apparent. Chryst also recognized how important the outside linebackers success is for not just the defense, but the team as well.

“That group has energy. It’s not manufactured. It’s authentic. It’s got a good mix of different personalities but I think they have a commonality that they love the game and that they will work. When we’re playing really well at that position, it not only helps our defense it helps our whole team.”

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