Monday, April 25, 2016

Five takeaways from the Wisconsin spring game

                                            Photo Credit: Geno Green

On a warm, spring Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers held their annual spring game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI.

Because of injuries affecting depth at certain positions, the game was limited to the two 15-minutes halves between Team Joe Schobert (defense) and Team Jared Abbrederis (offense). 

Here are my five things to take away from the Wisconsin spring game:

1) The quarterback battle:

The biggest storyline coming into the spring game would be how fifth-year senior Bart Houston and redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook stood in the pecking order in the quarterback depth chart.

Hornibrook's arm proved to be lethal with two touchdown passes downfield to George Rushing from 46 and 43 yards.

On the other end, Houston took a more methodical method by mixing in hand-offs to Corey Clement and short passes.

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst liked some of things Hornibrook brought to the table, but knows it will be neck and neck with Houston for the starting job.

"Alex has done great things in practice, but hasn't played a game yet.  I thought he had poise and the one thing he does is he an accurate deep-ball passer," Chryst said after Saturday's spring game. "It is just one out of 15 practices."

"I don't think they're behind schedule. As a team, we have to have a great summer and take advantage of those 29 practices. They are in a good spot, but there is along way to go."

2) Corey Clement:

Despite battling injuries over the previous season, Clement played on the first drive for the Wisconsin offense and impressed with a 9-yard touchdown run, to cap off a drive with 5 carries for 36 yards.

Clement showed some cuts and moves which gave a good indication he could be 100 percent as fall camp approaches in August sans any setbacks.

"I still have to get through summer conditioning and it will be another test for me to see if I can make it through a fall season," Clement said.

"Last spring when the [coaching] staff didn't give me any reps, I was upset. Me and coach [Chryst] sat and worked out a deal if I could make it through 15 practices, then I would get a chance to play in the first drive of the spring game."

3) Rushing's downfield effort:

One of the storylines going into the spring game would be whether or not any of the Wisconsin receivers could emerge as the No. 3 option.

Wide receiver George Rushing looked to answer the question for the time being.

Rushing stood out amongst the pack with a two touchdown receptions (46 and 43) from Hornibrook.

"I showed that I have grown throughout the spring to try to become better and work on something different each day like coach Chryst said," Rushing said.

4) Rock, paper, scissors:

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis and current National Football League Draft prospect Joe Schobert returned as team captains for the offense and defense, respectively.

Abbrederis and Schobert decided to have fun with the opening coin toss, or so we thought. Instead of a coin flip, a game of rock, paper, scissors broke out to decide which side the offense would play on first.

5) Only one practice out of 15:

Chryst kept things even keeled when it came to the spring game being another session and looks toward summer for improvements across the board in every position.

"Summer is a really good time for our kids because they are going to class and don't have the full load," Chryst said.

It is also a chance to focus on the weight room and having time to come together as a team and for leaders to emerge."

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.