Thursday, December 20, 2007

Beckum's back!

Just saw some great news on the Sporting News site that is confirmed on Travis Beckum will return for his senior year at Wisconsin! I won't bother going over how incredible and uncoverable he was this year, or his numbers and accolades. Let's consider:

-How loaded with skill position players the offense will be. The Badgers should have the best 1-2 tight end combination in the country in Beckum and Garrett Graham. If everyone's eligible and healthy (no sure thing) we should have the best group of tailbacks in the country in P.J. Hill, Lance Smith, Zach Brown, and John Clay. Kyle Jefferson is ready to put up big numbers in his second year, and it's a good bet someone will emerge as a 25-catch guy opposite him (Daven Jones? Wes Kemp?).

The line, losing only unsung Marcus Coleman, should be good again - especially if Josh Oglesby forces his way into the lineup. That leaves just one big question mark: quarterback. Will Allan Evridge be at least adequate, as Tyler Donovan was this year?

-It will be interesting to see if Beckum puts on 15-20 pounds on the 224 he played at this season in an attempt to get more NFL-ready. And, if he does, will his ability to get open and make plays in the open field be diminished? If he can put on weight, improve his blocking, and still be a receiving terror, that would be tremendous. But given his importance as a security blanket for a first-year starter at QB, selfishly I would like him to stay around 230 and focus on receiving.

Whatever, I'm just happy he's back!


olson said...

I'd like to hear some Beckum reasoning. Jim, have you heard anything? Was he slipping? Never in the first day? Any insight appreciated.

Like Taps, I say welcome back, of course. There's nothing better than watching a game and knowing the first checkdown (or, heck, first option) is ALWAYS open for 10 yards or so. No matter who the QB is, that's a great security blanket.

Unrelated, Jared Berggren has been McDs quality early in the season. Glad he's Bucky, not Goldie!

Scott Tappa said...

Olson - are you exaggerating about Berggren, or is he really generating that type of talk?

olson said...

Sorry to hijack this thread, but yeah, Berggren has been really good, and has been getting a lot of pub.

Here's just one note, from yesterday's Strib:

"Princeton boys' basketball player Jared Berggren appears on the cover of the December issue of RISE Magazine. Berggren, who is slated to play in college at Wisconsin, averaged 21.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.8 blocks per game as a junior. He's averaging 22.0 points through four games this season."

ajs said...

This has already got me excited for the Spring Game next year- let alone the upcoming Bowl game. It will be interesting to see AE in a relatively comfortable situation under center. You could see he was gripping a little bit last spring trying to impress. Isn’t the kid from TN a Jan enrollee? I excited about his skills- sort of dual threat in the mold of my boy Brooks- seems even more athletic?? Now only if IKE can decide to stay.

Frank said...

Don't mean to be the downer -- and to be honest, I haven't been reading the papers closely enough to know -- but looking at the list of tailbacks in full just now got me thinking, why won't John Clay transfer? It's going to be a long time before he plays RB.

Millie said...

A few comments here:

1. Glad to hear that Beckum is coming back. I would like to think that he decided to come back because the team has a chance to be very good and will convince Ike to join him. The downside of that is that it didn't work out to well for Hart, Henne and Long this year, but screw Michigan.

2. Assuming he's as good as he was billed to be, Clay doesn't have to worry about playing time. Hill hasn't been able to stay healthy yet. Smith isn't the most durable fellow either. We've seen a couple times how important it is to have depth at running back. Also, there have been whispers that Clay was outstanding in practice this fall. I don't think that Bielema will hesitate to put him on the field if he's the most deserving.

3. I'm really excited about Berggren, and even more excited about seeing him on 1/5 (you still interested in going EO? Schwalbach?). He'll be going against DeMarcus Cousins, a 6'9" big rated #5 overall by Rivals in the class of 2009. Should be a good measuring-stick game for Berggren.

Scott Tappa said...

Was going to respond to Frank's comments about running backs but Millie beat me to it - I second his thoughts. I saw Clay as a junior in high school and he was the real deal, a man among boys - which you would expect from a Division I recruit, but he had special speed for a kid his size. A little bit concerned about his fairly upright running style given his height.

But Millie's right, if he's the best, he'll play. We want guys who think they're better than the guys ahead of them on the depth chart.

ajs - when I first read your comment I was thinking about seeing Beckum in the spring game, and thought "Hell no! He won't be playing!" and had flashbacks to Lee Evans. But I get your point now.

As for Phillips, he seems to be more of a runner than a passer, but that's often how quarterbacks are in high school. I'm excited to see him as well.

Will said...

Jim had a nice article on the QB recruit this morning (I'm guessing most of you have read it).

Here's hoping AE gets a dose of confidence pills. He looked a little shakey and tentative in the brief moments I saw him this year, but usually back-up QBs don't look great when pressed into action. But as Tappa has outlined, it's hard to not to be impressed with what UW is bringing back.

I also agree with Millie and Tappa...odds are one of those guys might transfer, get kicked out or suffer a major injury. Even vaunted USC had troubles with running back depth this season. Clay should emerge as the No. 1 threat, but I have a feeling that Brown is going to continue to earn playing time. Besides, it's nice to throw in as many looks as possible.

(If it makes you feel better, both AE and Clay turned out really well in the College Football game for the XBox).

ajs said...

ST- The only #9 we better see in the spring game is some hard hitting walk-on safety.

Heck, even at last year's spring game TB was pads off mid-way into the second Q taking questions from reporters. Ironically, Chryst was quoted in the WSJ today that he thought TB was worried about the NFL and all that at the beginning of the season- This is all behind him now. I like how '08 is setting up- apart from #7's late season injury. He was on track to be special (still could be)

Scott Tappa said...

I have a feeling #7 will be back in time for the start of the season; whether or not he'll be ready to make a big step forward from his strong rookie season is another matter. It becomes a less pressing issue if #6 comes back.

All this Baggot-speak with numbers is making me nostalgic ...

Scott Tappa said...

Read Jim's story about Phillips - 56 total TDs this year:

Chryst's take on Beckum:

And while you're at it read this AP story on Joe Thomas:

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