Fresh faces, defense shine in annual spring football game

Running back Bradrick Shaw will have an increased role on UW's offense this season. 

Image By: Gage Meyer

Youth and defense were on display as the Wisconsin football team wrapped up spring practice with its annual Cardinal-White game Friday night at Camp Randall Stadium.

The White (defense) defeated the Cardinal (offense) 20-17.

“I thought it was a really good spring for this team,” head coach Paul Chryst said. “I think it's if each individual can get better, and I thought we had a lot of guys do that, and certainly there's some schematic things that you look at, I think, in spring football, and we were able to do that and introduce it to the players, and for them to understand it, it takes reps.”

Chryst rested many of his veteran players, opting to give more young and inexperienced players some playing time.

Offensively, redshirt sophomore running back Bradrick Shaw had four carries for a team-high 34 yards on the ground. Starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook didn’t participate in the scrimmage, leaving freshmen Jack Coan (10-of-14, 121 yards, one touchdown and one interception) and Karé Lyles (2-of-6, 16 yards) to run the offense. Sophomore tight end Kyle Penniston led the receivers with three receptions for 33 yards.

Shaw showed off his speed early, breaking off a 20-yard run just seconds into the scrimmage. After Shaw left the game to join the other veterans on the sideline, the offense struggled to move the ball, with the only scoring coming from two Rafael Gaglianone field goals.

A combination of good defense and inexperience on the offensive side of the ball helped the White squad record two turnovers and build a 20-9 lead. Sophomores Griffin Grady (nine tackles) and Garrett Rand (four tackles, one sack), along with freshman defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk (three tackles, one sack), led the defensive effort. However, the Cardinal squad was able to finally break into the end zone as Coan hit Zander Neuville in the corner as time expired.

With so many young players seeing the field, many of the veteran players were utilizing their time off by helping coach.

“It’s kinda fun getting to wear the headset, get to help my teammates out, you know, when it comes down to it, that’s what I’m really all about—I’m all about the team,” senior cornerback Derrick Tindal said. “Whatever I have to do to help the team, if it’s me playing on the field or just sitting and observing and helping them out in any way that I can, but it’s definitely fun.”

“I wouldn’t call myself coach Tindal, I’d be called coach Boogie. Boogie with the hoodie.”

Senior tight end Troy Fumagalli enjoyed seeing some new faces succeed out on the field.

“It’s a different kind of fun,” Fumagalli said. “Watching some of those guys who work very hard in the spring and who haven’t necessarily been in that moment before, it’s fun watching those guys succeed out there.”

Although Hornibrook didn’t get to make an impact on the field, off the field, he played a factor in helping the young quarterbacks.

“It was fun to be out there with [Coan and Lyles] and kinda talk to them, talk through some reads and stuff that they were seeing on the field,” Hornibrook said. “A lot of it was just the plays that we were doing and signals because they haven’t had the opportunity to get those signals.”

Chryst was pleased with the progress his team has made and is looking forward to continued growth as fall camp approaches.

“I thought we got a lot done in the winter workout part of it, and that's the first phase, and spring ball is the second,” he said. “Now the kids need to focus in on finishing up this semester the right way and finals, and then get a chance to go home, and we'll come back right after Memorial Day and we'll start our summer workout and then get ready for camp.”

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