Thursday, September 20, 2007

Badger Football:Update After 3 Games

Well, college football kicks into top gear this weekend as most major college conferences begin conference play. As Wisconsin heads in to Big Ten play, the Badgers sit at 3-0 and ranked 7th or 9th, depending on which poll you look at. Most people would say the Badgers look pretty shaky so far with less than impressive wins over perennial Mountain West bottom feeder UNLV and FCS foe The Citadel. Heck, even in the Wazzu game, the Cougars had the ball late in the 3rd Quarter only down a TD.

Before the season started, I looked at what I thought may be some trouble spots with this year's Badger team. Lets see what is up with those areas of the team.

  • QB: I stated that Donovan was not the caliber of QB to lead a team to a national title and more of a 9-3 or 10-2 type of QB. After 3 games, I am still in complete agreement with this thought. Yes he was co-Big Ten Offensive player of the week following the Washington State game. Yes, he ran for the game winning TD against UNLV. But honestly, I am less than impressed. In the Wazzu game, any pass towards the sidelines sailed over the receivers head and even many of the passes he completed could have gone for longer gains if he throws the ball in a better location. The long TD pass to Swan was perfect, but Donovan himself even admitted after the game that he wasn't exceptionally sharp and had much room for improvement. And if nobody noticed, the Cougars' secondary sucks balls and they had no pass rush. The TD run against UNLV was nice, but should the Badgers really have been in that position? Missed many open receivers again in this game. I also think that Tyler should use his legs a little more when nobody is open. So, I would like to repeat that I think Donovan is a decent QB but I think he needs to step it up or the Badgers will end up 5-3 in the Big Ten. By the way, Evridge is 2 for 2 on the season!

  • RB Depth: I stated this could be an issue if there is an injury, especially to P.J. Well, Hill has made it trough the first 3 games in good shape, but now there is the whole Lance Smith issue. This will be huge if something happens to Hill. On the road, everything would fall to Zach Brown and at this point, I would think Rentmeester would be the back-up. Clay is destin for a red-shirt and Quincy Landingham is back practicing, but still coming off a knee injury and a position switch. I like Smith and think he has a lot to offer as a shiftier back than P.J. I also like Brown in his limited work so far. I don't think the fumble last week was completely his fault. Just a terrible exchange between him and Evridge. So, as long as P.J. stays healthy, the Badgers are fine. If he gets hurt, it could be Packer-esq on the ground.

  • D-Line Depth: Well, no new players have gotten hurt, but the unit is not off to the best start. Ware still seems slowed by the knee issue and is not at 100%. Shaughnessy had a severe illness in his family and his play has suffered a bit as a result. Hayden has looked alright. DeCremer has shown some flashes, but this unit needs to pick it up during Big Ten play.

  • 2 new safeties: I mentioned that Carter and Pleasant were both coming off injuries and starting for the first time. I would say their play has been inconsistent so far. Carter has the two picks, but has also blown some coverage that led to guys being wide open. It is also thought that the corners are giving the WRs such a big cushion at the line to help out the safeties. This could be why Langford gives man a 15-yard cushion on every play. I know he isn't the fastest corner in the world, but that is ridiculous. Even Ike is giving a big cushion. Hopefully with 3 games experience under their belt, these guys will play more solid.

  • O-line overrated: The run blocking has been OK, but I am not sold on the pass blocking. Looked great against Washington State, but pretty bad inthe next two games. They need to give Donovan time to throw and wear down opponents to provide for running lanes in the second half is this is to be a successful season.

I also mentioned that I thought they had a dominate linebacking corps, would only give up more than 20 points once, had a good kicking and punting game, poor return units last season, Hubbard would play well and Pressley's return would help out a bunch.

Well, the LBs are of to a shaky start. At this point I would say that Hodge is a tremendous downgrade from Zalewski. Zalewski wa far more athletic and more instinctive and you need that at MLB. The D has given up over 20 twice already, so that prediction is down the drain. Don't know what has happened to DeBauche over the past 2 seasons, but he has regressed a bit. Mehlhaff looks very good. Gilreath has done excellent on kick returns. After the muffs in the first game, the punt return unit looks better. I think Hubbard's injury is really going to hurt this team. He was the speed guy. Pressley has looked good in his return as well.

I think a lot of people are expecting the Badgers to flip the switch now that Big Ten season is here, however, that is easier said than done. I don't think this team is as good as many of us thought and even though the Big Ten is crap this season, a 4-4 Big Ten record would not shock me. I am not saying that is what they are going to end up with, i just don't think it is as far fetched as some people would envision. I am going to say 6-2 in the Big Ten.

Iowa comes in angry after losing to Iowa State. That game makes Iowa State's year every season and they get up for it way more than the Hawkeyes do. Iowa hasn't allowed a TD yet this season, but they have played 3 of the worst teams in D-1. I expect a tough game, but i don't think Iowa has the offense to win this game. 24-13 Badgers.


Train said...

The Iowa game will tell alot about this team- I don't think they have a nasty streak in them (yet). They've played soft on D- The O-line has been untested. They all read the pre-season press clippings and now it's time to play some Big10 ball. They need to shut their mouths and friggin hit somebody.

Is it too early to start tailgating?

Anonymous said...

That's good stuff Goldy!

Phil said...

Do you have a job or life Goldy?

Brad said...

Hodge has been a big time disapointment. He's got the tools, no doubt. However, his football instincts are terrible. Looks lost in pass coverage.

Goldy said...

I pretty much sit around in a bath robe all day and drink white russians and go bowling. I am also looking for a new rug to tie the room together.