Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Wisconsin practice notes: Carimi hurts knee
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
MADISON, Wis. -- Just got back from watching Wisconsin's practice inside Camp Randall Stadium.
The big news today wasn't good for the Badgers, as starting left tackle Gabe Carimi suffered a right knee injury toward the end of the workout during the two-minute drill. Carimi had to be helped off the field and had his knee heavily wrapped as he was carted to the training room.
Fortunately, the injury doesn't appear to be as serious as originally thought, head coach Bret Bielema said after practice. Bielema expects to have more information Wednesday.
Carimi missed three games last season with a knee injury.
"Gabe's a fast healer," center John Moffitt said. "You look at last year, he had an MCL situation and he was back pretty quick."
Wisconsin can ill afford to lose Carimi, especially with not much depth at tackle. The Badgers are already down two starting linemen, Moffitt and guard Bill Nagy, both of whom are expected back fairly soon.
If Carimi misses any extended period of time, Wisconsin could turn to redshirt freshman Ricky Wagner or move junior left guard Jake Bscherer or right tackle Josh Oglesby to the left side.
Other notes from the workout:
- It was really tough to evaluate the quarterbacks because they didn't wear numbers, just green shells. The Wisconsin beat writers are a little more adept at identifying the quarterbacks without their numbers, but I was struggling. Curt Phillips definitely has above-average speed and showed nice zip on his throws, but during team drills he threw off his back foot and got intercepted by Kevin Claxton, who looked impressive at safety.
- All of the quarterbacks had their good and bad moments, but there's a noticeable upgrade in the wide receivers this year. I'm continually impressed with Nick Toon, whose length really helps out, and junior Isaac Anderson made several nice catches, including one that beat Niles Brinkley for a touchdown. Toon made arguably the play of the day, a diving catch near the sideline. Unfortunately, he likely would have been whistled for offensive pass interference for pushing down Aaron Henry. David Gilreath also showed nice extension on a few catches.
- John Clay still looks like the projected starter at running back, but junior Zach Brown is pushing him hard. Brown got a lot of reps with the first-team offense in practice. The run game will be fine as long as the O-line holds up. Clay told me afterward that the backs are being used more as pass receivers this camp.
- Defensive standouts included Claxton, Henry, defensive ends J.J. Watt and Louis Nzegwu and linebacker Chris Borland, who is really making a name for himself during camp. Borland rocked tight end Zach Davison during team drills and also recovered a fumble. The defensive line seemed to have its way at times with the undermanned O-line.
- It's fun to watch Jay Valai try not to crush people in practice. You can tell it's killing him. Valai had a pretty good hit on Anderson and pulled up just before contact several times.