Roll Out the Quevedo!

Wisconsin Sport and Culture

BeerPod

A new feature at ROTQ: BeerPod.  A close look at what is in the fridge and iPod of our editors and friends.

August 2010:

iPod: Assembly of Dust: Some Assembly Required.  If this isn’t in your iPod…it probably should be.  AOD is not your typical “Jam Band”, not in the mold of Phish but more akin to Widespread Panic.  Jam Bands are known for long elaborate  musical improvisation with sophisticated musical arrangements.  AOD doesn’t often go for the long,  but plenty of the latter.  This Vermont based outfit (like Phish before them) has borrowed on this album from some of the music worlds most gifted artists for collaboration.  Appearing on this album are Richie Havens (Woodstock), acoustic savants Tony Rice and Keller Williams, as well as Phish’s Mike Gordon.  But the best collaborative moments are offered by Moe’s guitarist Al Scheiner and banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck.  This album has a little bit of everything and will definitely enhance your library!  Listen to the album free at this link!

Assembly of Dust latest album is outstanding.

Pairing beer with music is not easy and in many cases unnecessary, but we’ll give it a shot.  The AOD album mentioned above is electic, diverse, and sophisticated.  A beer that is new to the Wisconsin beer scene that is all the above is the latest work of genius from Dan Carey and the New Glarus crew.  To the dismay of many earlier this year the standard “Hop Hearty IPA” began to disappear from store shelves.  It was replaced by a marvelous new addition Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale.  Not as hoppy as the former, but a smooth substitute.  Hop Hearty has been downgraded to a a Beer we’ve known and loved (past tense) at the New Glarus site, intimating this might be permanent.  The Hop Hearty was better, but if Moon Man isn’t in your fridge, it probably shoud be!

New Glarus Moon Man

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August 12, 2010 Posted by | Culture | , | Leave a comment

Brewer update

Our Brewer editor has been awol since, well…a long time.  So we’ll add a few tidbits.

While it is unlikely to happen, should Mark Attanasio fire Doug Melvin, he won’t have to worry about writing a speech at the press conference.  He can just borrow the one Tom Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers used after he fired Melvin after seven years.  I quote:

Doug Melvin built three division championship teams as general manager of the Texas Rangers, but he was unable to develop enough good young pitching for owner Tom Hicks. That cost Melvin his job when Hicks fired him Sunday after seven years.

One only need look at the recent draft selection of Eric Arnett (and Evan Frederickson and Seth Lintz, etc…) as cases in point.

On a side note: when you consider the qualities of effective leaders…does Ken Macha have any of them?




August 12, 2010 Posted by | Brewers | | Leave a comment

Big Ten Crystal Ball

I think the big ten this year is really quite simple…

THE CONTENDERS

Ohio State has the leagues best defense and most exciting player.  Yet they seem to be what they are year in and year out, and that is the favorite to win this league and the #2 ranked team in the country.  They will likely win the league and go get pummelled by an SEC school.  They are a team with few holes, but they won’t win the league.  What!?!  This has happened seven straight years!  Yeah, and even worse, they may not go to a BCS game!  Why?  The Big Ten should be more predictable than ever this year.  OSU has to travel to Wisconsin and Iowa.  I don’t believe they will win either game.  Should they split, we may have a serious logjam at the top.  Normally, I’m not superstitious but they were on the cover of SI, so let the jinx begin.

Iowa: I have written in these pages before, this is the nations finest coaching staff.  Norm Parker seems to always have an elite defense regardless of who is replaced.  Kirk Ferentz is elite, their OL coach puts out elite units year in and year out, etc… They have a favorable schedule hosting the other “big two” and they are my pick to win the league.

Norm Parker...genius.

Wisconsin: this offensive line is the leagues best, they will likely try to pound and pound and pound.  They have a favorable schedule and should they beat OSU in Madison will likely finish at worst second.  Their defense has questions, but what better way to deal with defensive questions than roll out an experienced talented OL with an average weight of 325 and a reigning big ten player of the year at RB who just happens to be 255 lbs himself…toss in an experienced senior QB and explosive wing players and you have an offense that will: a) eat clock b) score points.  Inexperienced defense  may not matter that much, except in Iowa City.

ROTQ is a big fan of Chris Borland

Penn State: traveling to both Iowa and Ohio State leaves the Nittany Lions in trouble right out of the gate.  There are talented players on both sides of the ball and they figure to make it through the league with 2 losses.

Michigan State: talented players, a strong non conference tilt, and no OSU on the schedule make this team formidable.  However, this coaching staff quite frankly is the opposite of Iowa’s, I have little confidence that they will get the job done.

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH

1.  Iowa (7-1) will likely falter at OSU, their away schedule is amazing…

2.  Wisconsin (7-1) that early showdown with Wisconsin could decide the league.  The other trap game is at MSU, where they have had mixed success.

3.  OSU: (6-2) they will dominate all games but two.  They were beat up in Columbus by Wisconsin but won on three big plays, they figure to get beat up in Madison and lose.

4.  PSU: (6-2) favorable schedule helps JoePa in his 93rd season.

5.  MSU: (5-3) a talented team, who is in charge over there?

6.  Northwestern: (4-4) schedule is tough, solid returning players and a fine coaching staff.

7.  Minnesota: (3-5) Brewster is on the hot seat and they have a lot of holes.

8.  Michigan: (3-5) RichRod has been exposed as a poor coach in a conference of high quality coaches.  He will be fired at years end.  Here is one of the many fire RRod sites.

Fire RRod actually has merchandise!

9.  Purdue: (2-6) Program in decline, not a whole lot coming back, poor homefield…blah.

10.  Illinois: (2-6) They’ll beat Purdue and Indiana at home.  Ron Zook is a joke, fired at years end.

Is Ron Zook the countries worst coach?

11.  Indiana: (0-8) wow.

LEAGUE AWARDS

Coach of the year: Kirk Ferentz.  Dear Kirk, do the Big Ten a favor and go to the NFL.

Offensive Player of the Year: John Clay/Terrelle Pryor again…

Terrelle Pryor, matchup nightmare

Defensive Player of the Year: Adrian Clayborn Iowa, a lot of people will argue Brian Rolle…nah, Clayborn is a man amongst boys on the leagues best team.

Adrian Clayborn will be the first Big Ten player drafted and is the leagues best defender.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Badgers | , | Leave a comment

Welcome to Bushwood

#17 at Whistling Straits

This blog is all about Wisconsin sport and culture.  Well, the PGA Championship is in our great state again this week, so let’s talk a little golf.  What has gotten into this state when it comes to golf?  We are so lucky to have so much amazing golf that is ACCESSIBLE to the public.  More often than not, majors are held at private courses, but over the next 10 years, Wisconsin will host 3 majors and a Ryder Cup at public courses.  In addition, there have been, and will continue to be Senior and LPGA majors at public courses in WI. 

The 18th at the soon to be famous Erin Hills

I’ve played all four courses owned by Kohler as well as Erin Hills, site of the 2011 US Amateur and 2017 US Open.  All of them…AMAZING.  Add The Bull in Sheboygan Falls to the list and you have 6 championship, 4-5 star courses in a 75 mile radius.  Name me a state that can say the same thing?

After going all seven days in 2004, I cut it down to five days this year.  Look for a PGA preview this week.  Who knows, maybe I can get a press pass and get some good info for ROTQ!

August 9, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Earlier in this blog I wrote about UW’s inability to land elite guards, despite the succcess that UW’s guards have had.   At the time, several criticized my knee jerk reaction.  Well, let’s pause and review where we are at.  UW has moved forward from the Vander Blue experience and has completed its 2010 class by adding a pair of elite shooters from Illinois in Ben Brust (formally of Iowa commit status) and Duje Dukan.  Brust and Dukan were late risers.  Dukan rose as much as anyone in the 2010 class, he is an elite shooter and offensive performer.  I am personally very excited about the prospects of both athletes.

Moving forward: UW has tried repeatedly to land that elusive athletic wing to their fold.  They have completed a really good 2011 class which consists of a point guard in George Marshall, a combo guard in Traevon Jackson, a late rising power forward in Frank Kaminsky, and the highest rated player in the class forward Jarrod Uthoff.  All of these young men are clearly “Wisconsin People”, they each bring some very exciting things to the program, and as a badger fan, I’m looking forward to them carrying on the Bo Ryan tradition of winning.
Missing anything?  Yeah, wing athlete, shooting guard.  Where are they?  Well, UW certainly tried to land such players.  They were in on one of the best in Mychael Henry who eventually decided on Illinois despite UW being in on him the earliest.  What has become clear in UW recruiting is that they have a very clear ideal.  The people they recruit must be:

  • good students
  • quality people
  • selfless
  • hard working
  • skilled

These are great traits!  But unfortunately what has become obvious is that UW will not play the AAU game that so many coaches do.  This has probably limited to a degree their ability to land a certain type of player.  They will not work with “handlers”, they prefer a certain style of recruitment that doesn’t involve schmoozing on the AAU circuit.  What has me perplexed is why they are able to land fine forward and point guard prospects…but that 6-6 wing athlete is absent?

This brings us to JP Tokoto of Menominee Falls.  JP is a top 15 player in the class, arguably the best athlete in the class and a player with a world of upside.  How will his recruitment go?  Where will this wing land?  Will he follow Vander Blue, Jerry Smith, Wesley Matthews and others out of UW’s grasp?  We shall see.  One thing seems obvious if the Tokoto circle wants handlers and AAU coaches to handle things, it seems unlikely that he ends up at Wisconsin.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Wisconsin Football Preview: Defense

The Wisconsin badger offense is as close to a sure thing as we’ll see in college football.  The defense…not so much.  Wisconsin was predicted to finish third in the Big Ten in large part because of their defense.  The UW finished #1 in the conference in scoring offense and will return nearly all of that production.  The defense suprised many and finished #4 in the conference in scoring defense.  They will return seven starters on defense, holes are present however.  UW will have to replace both DT’s and playmaking safety Chris Maragos.

Chris Maragos will be difficult for UW to replace

Upfront: O’Brien Schofield is irreplaceable for this team.  Schofield was a force in all phases of the game.  He was a strong candidate for conference defensive player of the year.  He rushed the passer, he played the run, and set the tone with his energy.  Schofield has taken his game to the NFL and will be replaced by Louis Nzegwu.  Nzegwu brings tremendous athleticism to the field, he starred in high school as a tailback, but has grown into a 6-4 250 lb. DE.  His athleticism cannot be questioned, his experience can.  He showed flashes last year, but his uneven spring performance led some to wonder if he  might be supplanted by playmaking sophomore David Gilbert.  There are no such questions on the other side.  J.J Watt burst onto the scene and has caught the attention of NFL scouts.  He has long arms, a high motor, and a quick burst off the ball.  He figures to be the leader of this defense.  The tackle rotation is the defenses uncertainty.  There are some impressive young players in this roation including Jordan Kohout and Patrick Butrym who figure to start in September.  These players fit the traditional mold of UW DL, they are powerful run stoppers who play with a high motor.  Their biggest challenge will be their experience.  UW has brought in some very promising DT’s in recent recruiting classes including Beau Allen and Anthony Mains.

Patrick Butrym figures to be a starter at DT for Wisconsin


The Backers: No player captured more attention on the UW team last year than Chris Borland.  I have to admit, he is rapidly becoming this writers favorite all time Badger.  Quite simply all he does is make plays, and big ones!  He started out in spot duty but was pressed into a larger role as a result of injuries.  He didn’t disappoint.  He proved assignment sound and impacted the game in all areas.  His amazing instincts and motor would seem to have poised for stardom.  Several publications have him pegged for first team all conference.  He is unlikely to unseat defending defensive player of the year Greg Jones as the leagues top player, but it is likely that he will hold that title at some point.  Culmer St. Jean has the confidence of the coaches and seems sure with his assignments.  He seems limited athletically and doesn’t make a ton of plays.  Mike Taylor returns with a clean bill of health and hopes to build on a strong season cut short by injury.  Should he stay healthy, he has significant ability and can really help this group.  Should he get hurt again, Blake Sorenson is the groups top backup.  This is not a group blessed with great depth.

All Chris Borland does is make plays.

Secondary:  This is an area with a lot of questions.  Aaron Henry was a decorated HS player who held an offer from Fla. but has struggled with injury.  He has shown flashes of being a very good player, but injuries have forced him to move to safety.  Some have felt this is his best position, 2010 shall show us.  Jay Valai is the groups most experienced player, he is a ferocious hitter, but he is limited in coverage.  The corners surpassed expectations, but the group is hampered by a lack of depth by starters Devin Smith and Niles Brinkley.

Overall: Wisconsin figures to be very good against the run.  2009 saw UW finish atop the league in rushing defense.  There is little to suggest that they won’t be very good against the run in 2010.  Their pass defense is however an area of concern, 2009 saw UW finish 10th in the conference in this area.  Concern looms as their is little to suggest that the UW has improved measurably in this area, particularly with the loss of Schofield.  Wisconsin was 4th in the league in forcing turnovers and returns some players who have shown ability in turning the ball over.  Replacing Chris Maragos will be a significant issue in this regard.  Whether or not UW can stop the pass is likely going to be the key to their season.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Badgers | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisconsin Football Season Preview: Offense

As part of the ROTQ staff gathered to discuss the upcoming season.  Many were shocked when I called for a nearly unblemished record for this football team.  They have a favorable schedule, that includes a tough non-conference foe, Arizona State at home, along with the all important Ohio State game in October.  The road schedule is fairly kind with tough tilts at Michigan State and Iowa.

A closer look

Offense: this team has the potential to be outstanding on offense.  Some publications are calling this offensive line the best in the Big Ten and one of the elite units in the nation.  The group has a little of everything, star power, talent, depth, and experience.  Star Power: Gabe Carimi is in the eyes of many the best draft eligible left tackle prospect playing college football.  Talent: we’ve been waiting, is this the year?  Josh Oglesby came to Madison with the reputation as the nations top prep lineman, he has prototypical skills, but was called out by coaches this spring for an uneven performance.  Depth: where to begin…there are 5 guys who started games last year inside.  The coaches have noted they would be comfortable with nearly any combination of those five…this publication anticipates the recently healthy Peter Konz at center flanked by John Moffit and Travis Frederick.  Experience: seniors and guys who have started a boatload of games.  Lastly the groups size.  It is a typical UW line, massive and powerful.   I expect this group to wear down a lot of defenses this year…can they wear down OSU and Iowa’s formidable DL?

Gabe Carimi anchors a stout UW line in 2010

The offense is loaded with skill talent.  Nick Toon and John Clay figure to land on everyones all Big Ten teams.  Lance Kendricks superb performance in the Miami game has led many to believe that he’s the next great UW tight end.  Since Paul Chryst has arrived UW has become TE-U sending Owen Daniels, Travis Beckum, and Garrett Graham to the NFL.  Is Kendricks next?  The issue is who will run with him in the UW two TE set?  There are intriguing candidates in Brian Wozniak and Josh Byrne, but the most intriguing might be true freshmen Sherad Codagan and Mannesah Garner.  Both of these frosh are ultra athletic with the ability to stretch defenses, one or both could become a receiving threat in 2010.  The key to the offense is undoubtedly Scott Tolzein.  The team will run effectively, the quest for Tolzein–to play fewer games like the OSU game.  When he is on, he is terrific, however he struggled several times last year and the offense stalled.  He has a mastery of the offense and should be more comfortable in his role this year.  I believe he is poised to be the leagues second best signal caller behind Terrelle Pryor.

Can Clay repeat as the Big Ten's offensive player of the year?

Offensive players to watch: skipping the household names, here are three names who could make UW’s offense exceptional.

1.  James White: Montee Ball figures to be John Clay’s backup, but James White is that type of back UW has been searching for since Brian Calhoun left; a burner.  White played on one of the nations top prep teams sharing reps with a Clemson recruit, he has big time speed and some wiggle to boot.

Can James White be Terrell Fletcher in 2010?

2.  Peter Konz: his play last year was a big reason for UW’s success.  He is cerebral and made sure everyone was in the right spot.  His stablizing influence was missed during his absence from blood clots.  He is healthy and unrestricted in his activities.  His return could be a big boost and could allow the powerful Travis Frederick to play guard.

3.  David Gilreath: foot injuries robbed him of the better part of two years.  He played but lacked the explosiveness we saw early.  Paul Chryst is a master at getting players in space.  Gilreath in space could be a big  boost to this offense.

Overall: this group has everything you need.  They have a great OL, terrific all conference skill players, a horse of a running back, and a senior to lead them at QB.  UW’s offense figures to be the Big Ten’s best and one of the nations finest.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Badgers | , , , , , | 1 Comment