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Scanning the Big Ten practice reports

8/12/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Official practice reports are few and far between in the Big Ten -- I'm definitely jealous of ACC blogger Heather Dinich -- but several teams put together some notes on the early workouts.

Here are a few tidbits from around the league.

WISCONSIN (Tuesday's practice)

  • One notable thing from the position drills was the defensive backs were putting a lot of emphasis on catching whatever was thrown their way from assistants Randall McCray and Kerry Cooks. During one of the interception drills, if a player dropped a ball, they had to do push-ups, much like the wide receivers had to do during spring practice. I only noticed three players doing push-ups during the drill.

  • After the position work, the Badgers broke down onto 7-on-7 drills and punters Brad Nortman and Ryan Wickesberg had the opportunity to punt in special teams work. Aaron Henry and David Gilreath worked as the punt returners and after that, the team did a tempo drill to work on getting substitutions from the sideline and in and out of the huddle at a fast pace.

  • Offensive linemen Bill Nagy and John Moffitt were both kept out of practice today, but they were seen riding on the stationary bikes.

  • Freshman wide receiver Kraig Appleton had a lot of throws coming his way, but the most impressive one came during the freshmen vs. freshmen drill. Jon Budmayr found Appleton, who was heavily defended at the sidelines, but caught the pass and broke the defense before going out of bounds.

MINNESOTA (Tuesday's practice)

  • The passing game is coming along. Junior Hayo Carpenter showed some very sticky hands on a couple of passes that maybe shouldn't have been caught. One day after a dropped pass on what could have been a big gain, sophomore Brandon Green made a great diving catch along the far sideline for a 30-plus yard gain. Last but not least, in seven-on-seven drills, senior Eric Decker got free down a seam in the defense and out-ran the secondary to the end zone.

  • Cornerback Traye Simmons had a big day defensively. Simmons put together quite a nice sequence late in practice, during some team scrimmage work. In the span of four plays, he tallied a pick and a pass break-up. Simmons grabbed the interception on a tipped ball and got the PBU by knocking away a pass that looked like it would surely come down in the hands of Decker.