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August 23, 2010
Two-a-days wrap up under the lights
MADISON - Walking into practice Monday morning, it really didn't take long to notice a shakeup of large proportions (literally) on the offensive line.
John Moffitt was back at his old stomping grounds, Travis Frederick was manning the left guard spot and freshman Ryan Groy was holding down the right guard void.
Though the change sparked interest among the throng of daily reporters, head coach Bret Bielema made the move clear Monday evening.
"Injuries," the fifth year head coach said. "We really wanted to get Ryan (Groy) moved over to right guard. As we went through fall camp I really didn't think John got enough reps as the No. 2 center because he was concentrating so much on left guard. These three days before we jump into full go UNLV prep, we wanted to get John in there."
Both right guard candidates for the starting gig are sidelined with respective injuries at the current moment. Bill Nagy took a Lance Kendricks knee to the head during Saturday's scrimmage and Kevin Zeitler continues to bounce back from a high ankle sprain suffered nearly 10 days ago.
Needless to say, the opportunity for Groy to turn some heads has presented itself.
"Ryan has had a really good camp," Bielema said. "I would say out of that next level of interior linemen-centers and guards and everybody involved-Ryan has probably been the most impressive. I know Gabe Carimi gets frustrated because he's the one guys he can't beat in any of the movement drills.
"We know he's got a lot of athletic potential, he's just got to carry it over to the field."
Other injuries notes:
-David Gilreath and Isaac Anderson both sat out each of Monday's practices. During the nightcap, both players were dressed in pads, but failed to participate in drills.
"Gilreath was a little bit concussed," Bielema said. "It was very mild from last week. He thinks he's getting close to being able to go. Then Isaac has just a turf toe that he aggravated earlier in camp. That's more of just a precaution so it's nothing down the line."
-Culmer St. Jean also missed Monday's night practice as he recovers from a slightly sprained ankle.
"He had a guy kind of land on an ankle," Bielema said. "He went this morning but couldn't really push off in both directions. I don't know if he'll go tomorrow, but my guess is by Wednesday or Thursday."
-Jay Valai, who has been sidelined for a week with a concussion, is getting close to returning to practice. During Monday's morning practice, Valai caught balls from the jugs machine and during the evening practice ran sprints across the field.
"Jay wants to be out here sooner rather than later," Bielema said. "It's just good to see him without the sunglasses on. I don't know if he'll go tomorrow (Tuesday), but if everything goes well with the conditioning and testing, I think we'll have him by Wednesday."
-Jordan Kohout also returned to practice after missing all of last week with a bone bruise. According to Bielema, the redshirt freshman was pumped to be back.
"Jordan was like a little kid in a candy store," Bielema said. "He was real excited. He did a little jump around after his first tackle this morning. The neat thing about Jordan is he wants to be out here so bad. It's apparent when he's out here that he's playing at a different level. (That's) what those fresh legs will do for you."
Freshman return man?
When asked whether James White could be a viable kick or punt returner, Bielema was quick to respond.
"Yeah," Bielema said.
White, a freshman that's taken camp by storm, is one of the more versatile athletes on the entire roster. He's got quick feet and an uncanny ability to make defenders miss. For the majority of camp he's been fielding both punts and kicks and could offer quite a change of pace in the return game with his athleticism.
Bielema even mentioned him alongside Darren Sproles, a standout returner during his Kansas State days.
"In the punt return game he can get vertical in a hurry," Bielema said. "I think David has got a better feel for kick return and I like having Nick Toon back there a little bit for that. But James has got very nice ability. The thing that's nice about him is he's a little smaller in stature. He gets lost and you can't find him.
"I remember when I first got to Kansas State and was watching defensive films, sometimes it was hard to Sproles. Then all of a sudden he would pop out of a hole and you didn't even know he was there."
One of the more curious plays of fall camp occurred late during Monday's evening practice. During the two-minute drill, the No. 1 offense was facing a situation where it was down by five points with less than 90 seconds to play. Facing a first and 10 situation from the opponent's 27 yard line, Scott Tolzien dropped back and delivered a strike to Lance Kendricks.
Kendricks, who was near a first down upon the completion, curiously tried pitching the ball to Montee Ball who was sprinting down the sideline. Looking like a hook and ladder, the play blew up when the pitch sailed over Ball's head and into the hands of Dezmen Southward.
It didn't necessarily look as much like a scripted play as it did a spur of the moment improvisation. It was still very uncharacteristic nonetheless.
The media is allowed into Tuesday's practice. The 2:30 start will be the final time media are allowed to take in practice until spring camp. As usual, BadgerBlitz.com will be there to break down the action.
The following is the audio file from Bielema's presser.