Saturday, November 22, 2008

UW-Cal Poly thoughts: Poor Andrew Gardner

Let's just start off by saying that I feel absolutely awful for Andrew Gardner. That would have been a monumental win for Cal Poly, but instead they come up a point short. Here's hoping they go on to win the I-AA national championship so that kid, and the rest of the team, has nothing but good memories from this season.

Those were pretty bad kicks, though. On the field goal attempt at the end of regulation their coach seemed to mouth "you've got to be kidding me."

As for the game in general, I don't feel bad at all about needing overtime to beat that team. We did not play poorly. They have great athletes and a unique scheme that they execute really well. Our offensive coaches found ways to exploit their weaknesses, particularly in the passing game, and the running game got it going at just the right time.

After a season full of Wisconsin finding ways to lose it should have won, it was refreshing to see the Badgers find a way to win a game they probably should have lost.

-The lasting impression of this game I'll take with me is Andy Kemp after the game-winning extra point, ripping off his helmet and running down the field in celebration. These seniors deserved to go out with a win.

-Boy did John Clay and P.J. Hill run hard in the second half, those were some tough runs that they finished with authority. P.J. went over 1,000 yards today, fourth year in a row.

-Kudos to Dustin Sherer for a game well-played. He took what was there -- which was a lot -- and while better passes could probably have resulted in quicker scores, he still made most of the completions.

-Speaking of quicker scores, can you remember a game in which we were on the negative side of the time of possession ledger to such an extent? Poly's ability to grind the ball in modest but consistent increments, and our ability to hit big plays, led to that disparity. I'd rather not see it again.

-My favorite player of this season will probably end up being Allen Langford. That overtime touchdown catch by Barden aside, he played another good game, limiting a receiver with more physical ability with technique and strength. A good guy for Niles Brinkley, Mario Goins, and Aaron Henry to learn from.

-What were you thinking when O'Brien Schofield jumped offside on that field goal attempt, which allowed Poly to convert on fourth-and-1 and eventually score a touchdown? Or when Nick Toon couldn't haul in that nice pass from Sherer later in the fourth quarter.

-Too bad so many people missed that ending, either because they left early or never came in the first place. Great game.

-Cal Poly may have been able to finish in the middle of the Big Ten pack this year. Off the top of my head only Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Iowa are clearly better.

-Football goes to overtime against Cal Poly, basketball against Iona. Eye openers when people see the scores on the Bottom Line, but at least we won.

-We should be in line for a nicer-than-deserved bowl game, but of even greater importance will be the extra practice opportunity. We're losing a lot of guys next season, and the replacements need a lot of work, especially along both lines.

Three wins in a row to close the regular season, and one more game, hopefully against a team we haven't played before or recently. We can all take a deep breath ... and start worrying about the basketball team.


Anonymous said...

UW defensive coordinator goes to Northwestern, result 9-3 in first year. Bielema picks the wrong coordinator. Symbolic of many problematic coaching decisions plaguing the Badgers in 2008.

Mr.Man said...

Scott, I noticed you made very little mention of the defense, except for Allen Langford doing a heck of a job. Honestly, the defensive coaching in this game was atrocious. The Badgers were physically dominant-- they justed need to adjust, figure it out, and shut it down. It never happened. I hope Doeren is a hell of a recruiter, because he's got a lot to learn about being a defensive coordinator. Though you know Bielema signs off on the defensive calls as well. Cal Poly is indeed a decent team. But UW deserved to lose. A moral loss.

Scott Tappa said...

You guys are right, the defense was lacking. Things is, they only gave up three touchdowns in regulation. The problem we had was the fact that they were absolutely gashing us inside the tackles.

We were watching the game with the sound off and didn't listen to the commentary, but it seemed that they were stressing our really wide gaps on the defensive line. That seemed to be a glaring weakness that we never really adjusted. Dally especially was picking large holes and exploiting them at will. What's scary is that our starting DTs are gone next year, and the replacements don't figure to be upgrades. We could really get gashed.

I disagree that it's a moral loss. We were behind all day against a decent team and found a way to win.

Anonymous said...

The field goal at the end of regulation was by the backup kicker, Jake West NOT Andrew Gardner, FYI

Duff Beach said...

Langford has been awesome this year (in a relative sense). Good call.

Mr.Man said...

Also, you shouldn't feel too bad for the kicker. Today he's back in gorgeous San Luis Obispo-- he can drive up to San Simeon and check out the zebras, go hiking in the coast range, or go eat some tri-tip. Honestly, if there was a legitimate job market in SLO, I'd be out there tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Finding a way to win against Cal Poly.....brilliant stuff [sarcasm]!

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