4 observations from the Badgers’ first open spring football practice | College Football

With a good spring, Abbott could build momentum for a breakout this fall.

“That’s certainly the hope that he has and the hope do we have,” Chryst said. “For guys like A.J., I think that spring is really big for them. I think he’s done some good things to start with and it needs to continue to do so.”

Rough morning for kickers

Asked to assess the performances from his kickers this spring, Chryst didn’t sugarcoat his answer.

“They’ve got to be better than they were today, and they know that,” he said.

Both senior Collin Larsh and sophomore Jack Van Dyke had multiple misses inside 40 yards and missed kicks from inside 35 after a red-zone drill late in practice.

Chryst said the Badgers have to create game-like situations in future practices to give the kickers chances to respond. This is a position battle that’s likely to be waged deep into fall camp, so reading too much into a subpar day in April isn’t valuable. That said, both kickers’ accuracy was an issue.

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Cornerbacks showing flexibility

With three cornerbacks from last season’s rotation out Saturday, young players at the position showed some range.

Junior Alexander Smith, whose role has primarily been on special teams, played both outside and in the slot Saturday, an ability that could help him carve out a role on the defense. Al Ashford, an early enrollee freshman, was in the second group at cornerback.