We bashed much in our previous post. Here’s a couple big positives from the game.
James White: he just continues to impress. With Clay and Ball committing to be slow, and not explode through holes, Bielema is right: James White is a great change up. Maybe its time that he be the fast ball and the others be the change up.
J.J. Watt: He played with purpose and commitment. His play was by all accounts superb, statistically a great day for him. He continues to be a great leader. When his time is done here, J.J will have high NFL hopes.
Umm…that’s really it. I’m watching the game now, not good.
Yesterday I DVR’d the game and committed to watching it after the fact without knowing the results. I had a prior conflict, I was jacked, I thought it would be a great game! I wandered into a place in the waning stages of the game, and boom…learned of the outcome. I was initially pissed. I read and heard more about the game before I committed to watching it and then saw Gladiator on. I thought, you know…I’d rather watch something where someone is committed, hard working, and lives up to this ability. Piss on it. So I’m writing without having watched it. But despite that, I have seen parts of the game, read about, and heard about it. So here are some snap judgements.
1. If Bielema doesn’t hire a special teams coach, I’m done with this program. They are woeful. Their returns are pitiful, they have strong specialists, yet the units are outlandishly bad. They give up impactful returns week in and week out. I’ll hang up my badger football gear until he coaches his way out of town. If football has shown us anything in the past five years in this state it is that SPECIAL TEAMS IS IMPORTANT. This is killing this program.
2. Good news/bad news: John Clay will be back. Good news–John Clay will be back, hopefully in the form of last year. Bad news–the John Clay that we see walking through holes is so pedestrian that if the NFL draft were 112 rounds I wouldn’t pick him.
3. OL: I thought this group would just dominate…I wasn’t alone. Most had this group as the nation’s best. Gabe Carimi has been poor by his standards, Josh Oglesby, is injured, disinterested, and lazy. All John Moffitt seems to do is give quips and quotes to the media. I did like his “I’d break a sweat pealing an orange” comment, how about this one. Maintain a block.
4. Secondary: this needs to be a primary need. Year after year, this program recruits under recruited players from football hotbeds thinking they’ll find gold. Line up and land an elite recruit at this spot, our secondary is poor. I know, I know, Jamar Fletcher was off the recruiting radar…so were the rest of these guys. I see a pattern.
5. Defense: if I hear or read about Dave Doeren being a genius one more time. I’m fining the next person 450 yards, I mean dollars. This defense has been suspect all year. Now they’ve added a nice new wrinkle, never getting off the field on third downs. Yesterday is was 9 of 18, many qualifying as third and long. Nice.
So a season starts with high hopes for a BCS birth and then you limp through the non-conference, and you get pummeled at your own game in the big ten opener. Nice. One analyst this morning has them targeted for the Insight.com bowl. Seems a far cry from the Orange Bowl matchup some were touting. At least now we kinda know why.
On a side note, for anyone who watched Iowa pummel Penn State with execution and a defense that was just flat out unforgiving and ALWAYS IN THE RIGHT SPOT…remember this: several of you were laughing at me because of how I touted Norm Parker, and Kirk Ferentz as the Big Ten’s best. Keep in mind UW and Iowa are mirror images, they recruit against each other, they have similar academic requirements, similar athletes, and yet Iowa almost NEVER beats itself and can win big games. Now comparing someone to Bielema as a coaching yardstick is like grabbing Cher for a comparison about musical ability–but I will be accepting apologies for how those remarks were laughed at.