Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hold it!

Perhaps among the sniffles-related stories that have unfolded surrounding the Badger football team this week -- who has the swine flu? J.J. Watt's mom brought him chicken soup? Josh Oglesby uses hand sanitizer? -- was one of the most interesting stories I've read recently.

It was a Jeff Potrykus Journal Sentinel story Thursday centered around line coach Bob Bostad's opinion of the holding call levied against Travis Frederick in the Northern Illinois game.

You should read the whole story, but here is a good quote:

"If you watch that play, the linebacker came into him, probably saw him coming up ready to engulf him, and turned his back to Travis and fell down. I talked to the officials and said we almost need to hold guys up to not get called for holding. Because this guy goes down on the ground of his own volition, and Travis is on top of him with his hand extended ... I mean, it's bad. It's getting to the point where ... "

Bostad then went on to discuss the hold called against John Moffitt in the Michigan State game last year. Had that call not been made, we would have won. Bostad caps it off with a gem:

" ... if we can't do that anymore, I might as well go coach field hockey."

I love it! Genuine candor and humor from a coach!

And really, I couldn't agree with him more. Did not see a replay of the Frederick hold, but that Moffitt call against MSU was god awful. Not only was it questionable, but it happened about 20 yards away from the play, a John Clay run around right end.

Bostad is certainly not suggesting that no one holds anymore; you certainly still see them a lot againt pass rushers. And wide receivers seem to be prone as well, just saw Hines Ward get flagged correctly, and he's arguably the best-blocking wideout on the planet.

But holding by lineman on running plays, in tight quarters where there are a lot of bodies, just shouldn't seem to happen as often as it's called. Almost as if refs have a quota to hit, like cops and speeding tickets.

Looks like Moffitt won't be ready to go again this week, so let's hope Frederick holds up well again ... no pun intended.

Speaking of sniffles stories, here is arguably the most useless story of the week, courtesy of Andy Baggot:

Postponement due to flu unlikely

No kidding. Here's betting Pat Hill doesn't give a rat's ass that Tyler Westphal spent a little more time at the toilet than usual this week.

As for the game, Fresno should be a good test, and I see this game going down to the fourth quarter like last week. But ultimately, they've got a quarterback making his first career start on the road, and Camp Randall isn't a good place for that, so I'm thinking our defense makes enough stops to win.

26-20 Badgers

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