April 17, 2010

Defensive line impresses during spring game

MADISON - J.J. Watt only recorded two tackles during Saturday's spring game inside Camp Randall Stadium. Granted, one was for a sack and a loss of four yards, but the number was a little low for Watt's standards.

Still, even with the low number of tackles, Watt made his presence felt in the Cardinal's 33-11 win over the White team.

"One thing that's happened repeatedly during camp and spring practice," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "Is J.J. Watt knocking down balls. He's got a long, long wingspan. If he just gets a couple yards of movement off the line of scrimmage, he's going to be able to bat balls down."

During the spring game, Watt was able to knock one of Jon Budmayr's passes down, something that is becoming more routine than anything else over the past five weeks of practice.

"I'm trying to get my pass game as dominant as possible," Watt said after the game. "I want it to kind of match my run game a little bit. Then I want to continue running my skills on the run game. I'm making a lot of defensive strides and our defensive line as a whole made a lot of big, big strides."

As can be evidenced by Louis Nzegwu's three sacks, Jordan Kohout's three tackles and a sack and Patrick Butrym's sack, pass break up and quarterback hit.

"I thought Patrick is playing as good as he's played," Bielema said. "I wish he will continue to make progress in the pass rush game. Jordan Kohout is very powerful and very explosive. He's gotten a lot of reps and he's very hungry. Ethan Hemer has made steady progress. The rest of the guys are kind of just some other bodies that are out of position.

"I'm very excited to get a couple of defensive tackles that we recruited on campus. We'll be excited to see what they can bring us in the fall."

Quotes from inside the locker room:

Culmer St. Jean on his interception:

"It was definitely fun. You never know what you're going to get in spring ball playing with the two's and we're hoping for a few more runs, but we got a pass. Being a senior and being able to get a pick, this was my first pick in the spring game. I was definitely excited."

Jon Budmayr on his spring camp:

"It was definitely good. I got a lot of reps and a lot of experience. Like I said, I'm just taking everything I've learned from this spring and grow over the summer and take it with me into fall camp."

John Moffitt on the offensive flow this spring:

"I thought all spring the offense had some good practices. I thought the line was moving forward, as forward as it could. Obviously today it didn't help not having John Clay or Nick Toon, that's our two big weapons on offense. You could say that potentially in a game you're not going to have them so you will need to be able to move forward without people. Move forward without me and move forward without Gabe Carimi. Our offense is more than just one or two guys."

Carimi on the offensive line's progression this spring:

"We definitely improved, but there's still so much improvement that we can do. That's a good thing. We'd rather get better than worse so we've just got to keep working on getting better."

Warren Herring on coming in early:

"Comparing now to how I would be when I came in during the summer, I think I'm a lot better now. I would have had to go through all the fundamentals again, learn the program and learn what's going on. You get a shorter time before the time, too, than if you came into the spring. It's been a real big help.

Montee Ball on his spring camp:

"To be honest, I'm really disappointed in my growth. Like I said, I still have the summer to improve and I'm really going to take it to heart. I'm going to come out next fall and show people what I have."

-Ball on what areas he's disappointed in:

"I'd say my reads and stuff like that. I'm still struggling quite a bit on that. But I'm going to take this summer seriously and come back this fall ready to take the load."

Nzegwu on developing a drive while being injured over his career:

"I'm watching other people do good and I feel like if I don't get out there my job could be taken and I could get lower on the depth chart. That's the last thing I want to have happen for anybody. When I was hurt, I just kept working hard doing upper body and watching film. It was hard to watch film because I had nobody to watch with and I couldn't do anything so it was difficult to watch everybody do good."

Tolzien on the offensive disappointment following Saturday's scrimmage:

"Maybe that's a good thing. In years past, maybe that's good because it means something to guys. I hope it does because we'll never get this day back. As a senior, you kind of realize how much each day really does matter.

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