Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm back

To paraphrase the words of my favorite Onion columnist, Jim Anchower:

Hola, amigos. How's by you? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya ... but travel, work, kids, Webinz, Weeds, blah blah blah. In short, the motivation to update this blog during the offseason has been missing.

But, as has been pointed out to me several times in the past week, it's time to get my butt back on the keyboard and talking Badgers. The season's less than a week away now, and even though my expectations are as low as they've been in about five years, that's no reason to stay silent.

Lots to talk about before Saturday's opener, but I'm going to focus my thouhts on the initial depth chart.

Scott Tolzien and Curt Phillips are co-#1, and Tolzien is going to start against Northern Illinois. Although it was more exciting when midway through camp it seemed Phillips would emerge as the starter, I can live with this setup. Hopefully Phillips impresses enough in his snaps to earn the majority of the playing time -- or Tolzien plays so well that he claims the job outright. Bottom line: didn't expect much out of this position coming into fall camp, still don't.

Running back
So Zach Brown is going to start ahead of John Clay? Interesting. In this instance, I see it as a positive: Brown picking up his game rather than Clay disappointing. Clay's still going to get his carries and make an impact, and maybe less carries will lessen his injury risk.

Outside linebacker
Very excited to see Mike Taylor out on the field. When is the last time we had a freshman starting at linebacker? The adjectives used to describe this kid are the right ones. No offense to Blake Sorensen, but he doesn't seem to be a big-play type of guy; neither does Culmer St. Jean. Jae McFadden is solid, but also isn't a turnover-forcing, sack-creating force. Let's hope Taylor brings some of that.

Devin Smith has earned raves all offseason, and it wasn't a big surprise that he beat out Niles Brinkley. Which, like at running back, is more a reflection on the improvement of the new starter than regression of the new backup. Brinkley struggled a lot last year, but he also made some plays, and I would have been perfectly happy with him starting again this year. Smith and Aaron Henry should be a solid pair.

Here's what excites me about this depth chart overall: seven senior starters, and only three more senior backups. Few of these guys are among our best players. We may struggle this year -- I'm fully expecting it -- but a lot of freshmen and sophomores are going to get significant experience this year, which should really pay off in the next couple years.

1 comment:

Millie said...

It's about damn time. That is all.