Danny Davis missed a fourth straight day of practice Monday as he deals with a head injury. The severity of the injury is unknown, but after the senior wide receiver missed the final five games of last season due to a concussion, it would make sense if there was concern on some level about his ability to return to the field soon.
“No, he’s going to be fine,” wide receiver Kendric Pryor said Monday when asked if he had any doubt about Davis being able to play. “I understand everyone else’s concern, but he’s going to be straight.”
Whether that means in time for the season opener Sept. 4 against Penn State remains unclear. Davis has been a visible and vocal presence at practice since he went down. He was seen throwing passes to receivers and riding a stationary bike during his first practice out. Quarterback Graham Mertz said Davis has also spent time coaching up the younger players at the position while he remains sidelined.
Mertz, though, would much rather have Davis running routes and catching passes from him. That would go a long way to helping the offense rebound from what was a pretty rough 2020. When the Ohio native was in the lineup for the first two games, the Badgers averaged 47 points per game. The three games after Davis went out Wisconsin scored less than 10 points in all of them.
“It’s Danny Davis,” Mertz said when asked what they miss without him on the field. “Obviously, he just brings a [different] element to the game.”
Tyler Beach making progress
The left tackle position has seen more different faces taking first-team reps in fall camp than any other spot along the offensive line. Logan Brown, Tanor Bortolini, Riley Mahlman and Cormac Sampson all spent time with the starters in the practices open to the media.
The reason for that was the absence of presumed starter Tyler Beach. The senior suffered a foot injury that required surgery just a short time before camp got going. He has made steady progress in his rehab, going from wearing a boot on the first day of camp to being in pads and taking part in 1-on-1s during Monday’s practice.
“I’m feeling pretty good. Easing back into things as the (season opener) is coming up, so really excited for that,” Beach said. “My big plan is just getting back into team (drills) and get things rolling again.”
Beach is an experienced player, having seen time in 34 games, including eight starts. But most of that work was at right tackle last season. Fall camp was going to be a vital time for him to continue working on the transition to a full-time player at left tackle, something he started during spring practice. He’s lost that time but still feels he’s got enough to be ready for the Penn State game.
“Probably about a week is what I would need,” Beach said. “The mental part, I feel like I’ve got down. I feel like I’m even more wired into it now. It’s just going to come down to how I’m feeling physically getting back into the groove of things. I always feel like I’m a guy that can get back into shape pretty quick. I never really have any problems with that, so just getting a week of going through looks and pressures.”