Tuesday, November 20, 2007

All-Big Ten: Where the Badgers landed

A mediocre season of football in the Big Ten has concluded, and the conference's all-league teams have been announced. The lack of true star power and bona fide first round picks is a good indicator of conference's overall strength. Scanning the lists released by the coaches and media shows a number of Badgers honored. Let's run them down:

First team: TE Travis Beckum, CB Jack Ikegwuonu, K Taylor Mehlhaff
Second team: RG Kraig Urbik, DE Matt Shaughnessy, P Ken DeBauche
Honorable mention: S Shane Carter, LB Jonathan Casillas, C Marcus Coleman, QB Tyler Donovan, DT Nick Hayden, WR Paul Hubbard

First team: Beckum, Ike, Coleman
Second team: Urbik, Mehlhaff, Shaughnessy
Honorable mention: Carter, Casillas, DeBauche, Donovan, Hayden, RB P.J. Hill


-Beckum should have been first-team last year, not second team and honorable mention, so it's nice to see the right call made this year. We'll see how All-American honors work out for him, there are some other good ones out there, and Becks' perceived blocking deficiencies might hurt him there.

-At first Ike's honors puzzled me, since he seemed to regress this year after a terrific sophomore season. But he did lead the conference in passes defended in league play, and had great games against James Hardy and Mario Manningham. Like Beckum, it will be interesting to see if he returns to school for his senior season.

-Really happy to see Coleman get the first team media nod, what an unsung member of a really solid unit. It's so hard to gauge what constitutes an all-conference center, he's usually not getting out and blocking a corner, pulling, or pancaking defenders. With a freshman left tackle, shuffling chairs around him, and a first-year starting quarterback and parade of different running backs behind him, Coleman held it all together for what turned out to be a pretty damn good offense.

-Really glad for Mehlhaff, who's been so solid for several seasons now. Replacing him next year is a major concern. Think he got a vote from the Brewster household?

-Urbik - see Coleman. Could he be the center next season?

-I expected Shaughnessy to be first team this year, but his second team status is more a reflection of the strength of the position in the conference. Really hope he comes back next year, a consistently solid performer.

-Happy for Hayden, rebounding from a poor junior season to have a strong senior season reminiscent of his 2005.

-Thought DeBauche would have a better season, but he was pretty good. He spoiled us with his first three seasons, and went out on a solid note.

-Hope Casillas is ready to make the step to first or second team as a senior, he's got the talent to do it.

-Hubbard? Really? Both of UW's starting wideouts were hurt for periods this year, and Luke Swan ended up with twice as many catches. Still, Hubbard did some nice things this year.

-Speaking of Swan, he won a Sportsmanship Award, nice touch for a classy kid.

-Donovan turned out to be much better than I thought he'd be, a playmaker every bit as much as a game manager. He'll be missed next year.

-Missing those last 3-1/2 games probably cost PJ 700 yards rushing. He would have pushed Beanie Wells for first team all-conference in that case.


Jim Polzin said...

I'm not a voter, but I think how the system works is A:) coaches nominate their own players; and B:) all that's required for honorable mention would be one vote from one of the other 10 coaches.

So in the case of Hubbard, perhaps Carr voted for him after his big game against Michigan.

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