Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We're talkin' about practice

Over the weekend I was able to record the Big Ten Network's broadcast of a Badger football practice, which appears to have aired about two weeks ago. Allan Evridge hadn't yet been named the starter, and Jonathan Casillas wasn't hurt yet.

Missed the first half-hour, but was able to catch the 11-on-11 red zone drills, which was fun. Some observations from that:

-Kyle Jefferson had two pretty bad drops, including one in the end zone, and drew some pretty sharp criticism from Bret Bielema ("That's weak Kyle!"). Gotta make those catches Kyle!

-Zach Brown had a nice catch, as well as a nice touchdown run from a Spread-type formation.

-O'Brien Schofield ran a nice stunt to come clean on a pass rush. It would be nice if this kid gave us 5-6 sacks this season, because my sense is he's seen as a placeholder for now.

-David Gilreath made a nice catch on a ball thrown behind him.

-Overall Evridge looked pretty good, didn't have any critical errors and his passes were generally on target.

-Dustin Sherer did not look good. He threw a terrible pass in the end zone that Mario Goins picked off. Sherer did, however, come right back with a nice pass to Garrett Graham.

-John Clay ran well, but it was three other things he did that stood out: he looked confident on a blitz pickup, made a nice catch out of the backfield, and chipped on a pass rusher on his way into a passing route. These were not things he was asked to do in high school, but are so important in earning him playing time this year.

-Mickey Turner lined up at fullback with the second string in some formations. He's a pretty versatile blocker.

-BTN showed a lengthy clip of what, as far as I can tell, was P.J. Hill and some other Badgers talking about what they were eating. Riveting stuff. As has been reported elsewhere, P.J.'s body looks better than I remember it.

By the way, there's a new line from Bodog on how many yards and touchdowns P.J. is going to run for this year: the over-under on yards is 1,075, touchdowns is 13-1/2. I'll take the over on yards, the under on touchdowns.

-Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith were talking about the linebacker position, and how the Badger defense is built to defend the Spread. Really? I suppose so, but let's start seeing that come to fruition with some killer performances against Spread teams.

-On a similar note, Bielema told the crew that he thought with so many Spread offenses used nowadays, running a traditional offense gives Wisconsin an edge. Who prepares to face a fullback or two tight ends nowadays? Good point. His other valid point was that the Badger defense doesn't see actual Spread much during practice.

-DiNardo sees nine wins for the Badgers, Griffith 10. Both see a January bowl for the team (USC and West Virginia are the only other teams in college football to play in January bowls in each of the last four years). I don't know, it all looks good on paper, but something isn't quite sitting right with me.

We'll see.

1 comment:

Edward said...

I see 1300 yards and 15TDs. You know Hill will have one of those games against Akron or Marshall or Indiana where the line bullies a weak defense and he is 20-200 5TDs. I think he can cobble together another 10tds out of 11 games (including bowl) even with two other backs in the mix.