Tag Archives: Wisconsin Badgers Football

Football’s double standard

Today’s thought is not the double standard on how QB’s are treated different than other positions, or how snapper have different rights than other blockers. Today’s topic is the double standard I feel fans of football apply to College verses NFL football. Over the the  years the NFL tried to decrease the time of play by starting the clock after out of bounds and not stopping the clock on sacks, but eventually they gave up and even moved the 2nd game of the day to 3:25pm CT. The reasons this increase occurred are obvious: higher passing attempts lead to more completion, longer commercials, more corporate money (if they are going to give you an extra $50 million, why not extend the commercial 30 seconds longer?)

I started thinking about this the other day while catching two college football games…. The Texas/OSU and the Wisconsin/Michigan games. The Texas/OSU game took 3 hours and 40 minutes while Wisconsin/Michigan took 3 hours and 10 minutes. I understand that Texas/OSU had a large amount of points, but Wis/Mich finished 14-7 but still took over 3 hours????? This seems to be a current trend in college football in the last 10 years that even the low scoring games take longer than the NFL games, but goes with out the uproar NFL and MLB games get.

So as I continued to think, why? Why is there no uproar over this double standard? Maybe it because the games are on Saturday? More pride at stake to care about time? More scoring? Maybe because the NFL starts 1 hour later (in general) to the college game? I don’t think there is any solid answer out there

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Barry Alvarez blows the big game

In the lead up to this game there was talk that this was a no lose situation for Barry Alvarez. If he wins the game, it would have been because of him. If he loses, it was because of the situation Bret put him in. I even agreed with this philosophy thinking it was true, but there was a third option that I had not even considered, Barry losses that game because of Barry.

In the lead up to the game was how Stanford was going to stop the running game, A.K.A Montee Ball. Really this has the been the talk for the last three Rose Bowls and when the running game is all you have, that puts you in a tough position. Barry failed to correct the issue that plagued the Badgers in the previous two Rose Bowls, no down field passing, stop the passing game, create turnovers, and come up with the clutch 3rd down stop.

Another issue was with the personal coming into the game. Curt Phillips was declared the started coming into the game, with which I had no issue with since he was the one who got you to the game, but it was clearly evident after the second drive that he was not going to be QB to win the game for you. I know he led the Badgers to two scoring drives, but that is who Curt Phillips is, someone who will get you down the field a couple of times, but is not consistent enough nor has the arm strength to open up the defense like someone Stave could.

Curt Phillips success and failure came at the hand of the running game and not by his arm plus some lucky bowl sanctions to Penn State and Ohio State. When Stave was the starter, his wins and losses included some use of the passing game in conjunction with the running game. In Phillips games we won because of the run verses Indiana and Nebraska, and lost verses Ohio State and Penn State because in OT we are incapable of passing the ball. For Barry it must have been difficult to prepare an offense for a QB who can not throw the ball more than 10-15 yards down the field.

During the game, the Badgers did use Stave and he was spot on with this one and only throw which just happened to be dropped the receiver. What was reward for that one perfect throw? A one way trip to the bench for the rest of the game. Stave brings the balance attack and the ability to pass the ball down the field, but Barry failed to see this or understand who should really be running the offense.

Some people might say that Stave was not cleared until the week before the game and he did not have a enough time to prepare for the game nor could the game plan be planned with him playing. I think that is hogwash. Stave was able to guide the team through multiple games mid-season without much issue with his balanced attack and he was not even an option or thought in the mind of Badgers fans or Bielema.

In the end, this game, this loss was not because of Bielema, this loss was a product of not knowing your personal, not know the history of your personal, not know when to make the needed changes to pull out the victory. The entire second half, Stanford played 9 men in the box which would have been resolved by running an double move with an out and up with Stave. This game truly showed that the game has passed Barry by and when he retired, it was the correct time. No longer can we run the ball through the defense like in the 90’s, we need a passing game along with a QB who can run the read option.

Hopefully Gary Anderson is able to correct the mistakes that Bielema left on the program and the issues that might have been created from the one game Barry. Anderson’s job fixing the football program will be like trying to clean up a 27 car pile up, it will not be easy. When people say Wisconsin, they think run, run and more run. Hopefully Anderson can turn this program around and teach the program how to win the big close games which have been lacking the last seven years in this program.

As odd is it to say, this loss is not on Bielema. This loss is on Barry.

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Goodbye Bret: Prepare to struggle

Tuesday it was announced that Wisconsin head football coach and all around target for criticism, Bret Bielema was leaving for Arkansas. Nobody was happier to hear about this news was myself who has been writing about removing Bielema here, here, here, and here plus I have been complaining about Bielema long before starting this blog. His winning was built on easy non-conference schedules, Indiana, a downturn in the Minnesota program and some poor decisions by other teams. Finally we rid ourselves of the coach that was driving the program into the ground and we can move on with new improved ideas. Plus anybody we hire should be able to make a decision in a close game closer than Bielema did

With Bielema there were too many close games or games that were closer than they should have been. Too many blown opportunities to keep, too many close losses to have faith in the Wisconsin football program. With Ohio State coming off their probation and Penn State in four years, there was little to no chance for success since the road to Indy would go through both of these school. Both programs are rejuvenated and winning, a combination that does not prove well for Bielema.

For as inept as I have said Bret is, him moving to another school was probably one of the smarter ideas he thought of in some time. Bielema saw the writing on the wall, he knew that dark days were ahead for the Wisconsin football program. Bad recruiting was catching up to him and games in which we would be battling Indiana at the bottom were in the near future. The biggest signal of issues to come was no established Quarterback for next season since his “free agent” pickup did not pan out. Another area of concern, that I have talked about before, was at Wide Reviver. After Jared Abbrederis, there is nobody that can fill the role of wide receiver, nobody. Other positions lacking due to Bielema horrible recruiting were:

  • Tight End – We have no true tight end’s. We have converted Fullbacks to Tight Ends
  • Fullback – We have converted Linebackers for Fullbacks
  • Linebacker
  • Cornerback
  • Safety
  • Kicker
  • Punter

With all these area deficit in top talent, it was time to move on to another school before his winning reputation, built with his cupcake schedules, is tarnished and any chance of a big payday was gone. His last decisions at Wisconsin was his best decision… leave

Bielema was come into the Arkansas program with so much hype and so much talk. When hired at Wisconsin, he took over a top notch program, at Arkansas he takes over a 4-8 program. Bielema flourished on the easy opponents, at Arkansas, he will be the easy opponent. Arkansas will be what Wisconsin was going towards, just accelerated by 5 years, near the bottom of the SEC. In Wisconsin, college football comes third behind the Packers and Brewers. In Arkansas, college football is first, second, third and fourth. There is nothing to deflect the attention of people in the Razorback state, no other professional sports for people to change the channel too. All eyes will be on Bielema and if you do not win, you pay the price.

Teams like Alabama and LSU have just marked their calendar with a “W”. They do not fall into all the big talk that comes with Bret, they know how to recruit and how to win the close games. Bret had trouble with Michigan State, he is going to have real trouble with Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and all the other big names of the SEC. The issues will be amplified and Bret will have no way out.

With this move this is a chance for the Wisconsin program to move on and correct the issues that have plagued the program for the last seven years. It will be interesting to see how each program comes out in the end, but I’m glad the Bielema era is over!

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Wiscosin Football: I was wrong

Near the end of the game with the big win 70-31 over Nebraska during the Big Ten Championship game I began to start thinking what I was going to say about the team in my next post. All I can say is this…

This is hard for me to say but…. I was wrong about Canada. When the chips were on the line, the offense came through. We rose to the occasion and overcame the loss earlier this season. We passed when we needed to, we ran… well… we ran all the time. The running game worked up the middle, to the left and to the right. If there would have been a fourth direction, I’m sure the offensive line would have blocked well in that direction.

Bielema did have the troops ready for this game, but if you think that I’m going to let him off the hook, you have another thing coming. I have been personally scarred by his bad decisions too many times in the past, there have been too many close games for me to recant my previous statements of firing Bielema. This win does help him move towards me not wanted him canned, but he is not there yet.

Canada might have pulled himself out of my dog house, but Bret, not yet. I need to see more from Bielema, I need to see more consistency, more big wins against big schools with decisions in the big spots.

The Rose Bowl will be interesting, with the long layover to the game, we will not surprise Stanford like we did to Nebraska tonight. We are going to run the ball and Stanford knows it. This game will most likely come down to the decision Bret makes in the week up to the game and during the game itself. The question is… Is he now up to it? Can he make the right call?

All we can do is wait and see. Congratulations to the 2012 Wisconsin Badgers on being Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl representative for a third year in a row.

On Wisconsin!

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Bret losses again, no surpises here

As we all know, Bielema once again lost on Saturday, this time to Penn State. Once again the offense slowed down to the grinding halt putting pressure on a defense that does not deserve this kind offensive game play.  I’m not personally shocked we did not win. I bet I can even predict what the talk in the half time locker room was like:

Matt Canada:  “We got them right we want them, lets just keep running. 1st down, Run; 2nd down, Run; 3rd and 8, Run”

Bret Bielema: “Ugggggggggg….. Sounds good, I trust you and your great play calling, I don’t see Penn State making any adjustments in the 2nd half….. Uggggggggg…. Now can I get a burrito?”

Maybe a little exaggerated, but I’m sure I’m close the way the Badgers played in the second half. Sure we might have tied it up at the end of the 4th quarter, but the game should not have came down to overtime. Bielema does not realize that the other team make adjustments, and when the other team is of equal or greater talent, that could mean they could come back and win. Canada play calling does not make sense, he does not surprise the other team with the calls. In the second half of the Ohio State and Penn State games, the massive numbers of shifting players do not even fool the other team, the defense were just standing there since they knew it was just for show.

As I have said time and time again, FIRE BIELEMA before we are at the bottom and we are battling Indiana in close games. This will be a interesting Big Ten Championship game, if we are lucky we might keep it to a two score game at the end. From what I can tell, this will be the last Big Ten Championship game for Bielema for a long time as  Ohio State will be coming off their NCAA bans and there will be nothing between them until Penn State completes there bans unless Bielema is fired and the program is resurrected.

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Bielema just does not get it

Another game against a good opponent for the Badgers and another loss. I’m not surprised anymore that Bret continues to sink the Badgers slowly to the bottom of the Big Ten. His poor choices continues to bring the Badger football program to ruin.

In spite of Bret’s usual poor pregame preparations for Ohio State, the Badgers were able to drive the ball down the field in the final two minutes, even after some poor play calls, and score the game tying touchdown. But in spite of getting to overtime, our poor play calling comes back to plague us again especially with the run call on third down. Then on fourth down everybody except Bielema seemed to know that Ohio State was going to blitz, but do we account for that? Do we roll the QB out of the pocket? Nope and that is why Ohio State wins big games year after year, and all we get is goofy looks from Bielema.

Bielema does not know how to win the “Big Game” when the game is close and his choice will decide the outcome. The only way he has won up to this point if something usual occurs to tilt the advantage to Wisconsin (Running into the kicker for example) and not by a choice Bret has made.

Some of his poor choices were actually done a long time ago which are hurting them today. As noted in previous post, recruiting seems to a difficult thing for Bielema. This statement is no more true than at the WR position. All season, game after game, announcer after announcer kept saying that the receiver position was led by Abbrederis but we were waiting for someone to step up for next season. But game after game nobody has come to the front to step up for next season and nobody on the current team seems ready to step up to the top receiver position.

Who even wants to come to Wisconsin to play Wide Receiver for Bielema? Nobody, That is because he does not know how to properly use them, because he can not make a choice, because he does not get it. When you run the ball as much as he does, why would you want to play for Wisconsin? All you do play after play is block DB’s or do 20 yard sprints with no hope of seeing the ball.

You would think in 7 years as the Badgers head coach, Bielema would have figured out how to win the “Big Game” in close situations, but to no avail. He is only 2-4 in bowl games by winning one with Alvarez’s players and the other against a Miami team on the downfall. As I have mentioned before, I think it is time for Barry Alvarez to save the football program and remove Bielema has head coach. This would be a difficult choice for Alvarez since this hire was his choice and this would not reflect well on his decision making ability since there was not even a interview process for his replacement, but this is something that would need to be done to save the Football program as a whole.

If changes are not made soon, we will be at bottom of the Big Ten battling Indiana for the bottom position of the Legends division in front of a half full Camp Randell.

I don’t know how much longer I can take this from Bielema week after week, year after year, close game loss after close game loss. More importantly, how much longer will the fans and boosters take this before change is demanded.

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Badgers Football: A team full of false confidence

After watching the Badgers blowout victory over Indiana 62-14 I could not help but observe a false sense of confidence amidst a record setting day for the Wisconsin rushing game. Now I’m glad that we did run the ball as well as we did and did not play down to our opponent as the Packers seem to do from time to time, but it seems the game came with some undesired effects. There was a sense of false confidence in the overall coaching and play calling that will burn us in the remaining games this season.

During the second quarter with Wisconsin winning 17-0, Indiana was able to slow down the Wisconsin attack and force a couple of punts while scoring a touchdown themselves. With Wisconsin on the ropes with a 3rd and 16 after a couple of bad play calls, we are just trying to run the ball to prevent any bad plays in the long yardage situation, but James White is able to break a couple of tackles, make a couple of good moves and score a 69 yard Touchdown.

We had no right in the situation to be getting first down much less the touchdown given the down and yardage, but Matt Canada looks like a genius since the play worked so well. For the previous 3 drives, Indiana had been crashing the line with blitzes to stop the running attack which resulted in 3 punts and was on pace for 4 punts in a row. I noticed this occurring on the second drive that resulted in a punt.

Time and time again this season this situation occurred and all Canada needed to do was call the play action fake on 1st or 2nd down to the “hopefully” wide open receiver 10-12 yards down the field, but continues to run into the brick wall. This would allow the running game to continue without eight men in the box. Most of the time we unable to break this eight men in the box defense resulting in the offense struggling the rest of the game since we wait until 3rd and long when it is a obvious passing situation. This is how we operated under Paul Chryst with great success, but under Bret, the motto is “If it aint broke, then break it”.

On Saturday, we saw the except to the rule, White was able to score, Wisconsin was able to run the ball after that on the deflated Indiana team and win the game. If we would have punted the ball, who knows what could have happened.

Indiana is a program still trying to pull itself off the bottom of the Big Ten. Still trying to figure out how to win the big game. If this kind of victory would have occurred against Nebraska or Michigan State, I would have said the run game is here to stay, but the run game has only been as good (or should I say as bad) as our opponent.

This running attack will not translate to success in future games. Just like the two previous games to the Michigan State game, smart coaches will stop the run first which will leave Wisconsin unproductive on offense. Bielema and Canada will go into the Ohio State game thinking they will be able to win the game by pounding the ball on the ground, but all they will get is a brick wall and have no idea on how to break the eight man in the box defense.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy that game today, I did enjoy watching Ball and White run all over the Indiana defense, and I’m happy that we will be playing in the Big Ten Championship game. My concern is how we take what we learned from this game along with what is on the tapes for Ohio State and formula a game plan. Under Alvarez, I knew a 62-14 win the previous week was not going to mess up the game planning the following week.

Badgers fans, enjoy the win this week, but don’t expect Urban Meyer to allow the Badgers to just run all over the defense without making some kind of adjustment.


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Time to Fire Bret Bielema

This weeks loss to Michigan State sums up what I have been thinking for a long time. We can not progress with Bret Bielema as the Head Coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. He is incapable is making decisions for the team to win in close games and allows to be out coached or out coaches himself.

Many people say on other blogs or comments “But Bielema has a winning record and has taken the Badgers to two Rose Bowls, that’s all you should need to see Bielema is our coach”. I have come to the conclusion that he has won up to this point for two reasons. 1) He won with players from the Barry Alvarez era. 2) They still won despite his poor choices. Examples of the second reason would be:

  • Cal Poly (Missed Cal Poly Extra Point)
  • Arizona State (Blocked Extra Point)
  • Northern Iowa (Ran out of time)
  • Utah State (Missing Chip Shot FG)
  • 2010 at Iowa (Iowa player stays inbounds not giving FG kicker a chance to win)
  • 2007 at UNLV (Donovan with a great QB run at the end of game to win)
  • Big 10 Championship Game vs Michigan State (Roughing the Kicker penalty wipes out long return)

There are many other games that we have lost that should have been wins due to poor choices. The Michigan State game (or should I says all the previous Michigan State games) are proof Bielema is taking the Football program to a place we have not seen since before Alverez, in the before time, in the long long ago, when we were consistently at the bottom of the Big Ten. This drop to the bottom is not going to be a quick one.

With Bielema, we will slowly drop down the standings over a span of 5-7 years until we are at the same level with the likes of Indiana. Then we will replace Bielema, but the damage will have been done and will take another 20-30 years to reappear as a relevant team especially with the likes of Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State paying signing, in the Big Ten, the bigger names in the country.

My logic behind this impending doom is the slow degradation of incoming talent that will (or in this case will not) play for Bielema. For example, lets look at the QB position starting with when Bielema first took over:

  1. John Stocco – Very good QB, was able to run the offence and was a left over from the Alvarez era
  2. Tyler Donovan – Also a good QB, backup to Stocco, but was able to run the offense and could run a little faster. Also left over from the Alvarez recruiting class.
  3. Dustin Sherer/Allan Evridge – This is where the wheels starting falling off the bus. Both QB’s not especially accurate with a slight edge to Evridge to run the offence, but when you have PJ Hill running the ball the way he did, who needs a good pass game?
  4. Scott Tolzin – A slightly better passer than Dustin or Allen but not to the level of Stocco or Donovan. He did what he needed to do since the running game was once again dominate.
  5. Russell Wilson – A lucky Free Agent pickup, very good passer and runner, but should not really count since Bielema did not recruit him from High School. He just got lucky he could not hit a baseball and NC State did not want him back.
  6. Joe Brennan – In limited action, Brennan on every play looked like someone who just witnessed a large car crash and was still in shock. By just watching, you knew he was not going to improve. I don’t know what Bielema saw on the recruiting tape, he must have been watching it with his eyes closed.
  7. Danny O’Brien – Another Free Agent signing. For everything that was right about Wilson was wrong about O’Brien. Frankly I don’t know what Bielema was thinking with this signing. This guy last year was 2-10 at Maryland with 7 TD’s and 10 INT’s. This guy appears to think the right decision then, 5 seconds later, decides to execute the decision , but by then it is too late. Once again Bielema must have watched the tapes with his eyes closed
  8. Joel Stave – I’m giving this one an incomplete due to the limited playing time and the play sabotage by Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada. There is hope, but I want to see how he plays next year.

With the exception of #5 on the list if you look at the list from the top to the bottom, the talent level generally got worse and worse, a sign to Bielema is taking the program in the wrong direction. This lack of recruiting is seen heavily at WR, TE and somewhat at DE, CB, K, P. No division one program should struggle at Kicker or Punter.

To avoid this program being sunk to the bottom, the only right thing to do is to find a new coach to replace Bielema before it is too late.


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