WARNING: This blog will not be held responsible for poor observations or factual inaccuracies. It is an attempt to add perspective on the Wisconsin Badgers 2014 Football Team.
Two practices in one day, and I made them both! What a trooper! The morning we got to see just an hour and as you'll read, it was a pretty bland hour. The evening session not only featured some more looks at what Andy Ludwig is looking for from his offense, but also featured BEER and FOOD!!
Unfortunately, not for the media. It was for sponsors/donors who had a chance to see a full practice (as did the media), enjoy themselves, and hear from Gary Andersen, Kenzel Doe, and Michael Caputo. The venerable Matt Lepay led the program, and featured much of what you've seen, heard or read. Although, prior to the program starting, a 2013 highlight reel played on the big screen, and while the highlights themselves were cool, the highlights with the Lepay radio call, "TOUCHDOWN WISCONSIN" - "GOT HIM!" - "MELVIN GORDON...TO THE HOUSE" were the real highlight. It made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up and forced me to pay more attention. Cool video, perfect calls, let's get to some damn football, because I HATE CAMPING!!
GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE
Morning practice was basically three work sessions. Working kickoffs, some 11-on-11, and Red Zone offense. The first change though, was young Mr. Rafael Gaglianone's new number. He'd been sporting #43, but this morning, #10.
They practiced kickoffs, and in prior talks, Jeff Genyk has said he'd like to have a dedicated kick off specialist, and a dedicated XP/FG guy, well, Hafael makes this hard.
While both Endicott and Russell do fine with kicks, near goal line each attempt, Ole (or Brazillian Boot -[credit Big A - Adam Eichstadt]) punched it 8yds deep into the end zone.
Also during this indy session, QB's were on the 5yd line working towards the N. end zone working on their option reads, runs, and pitches. They then split sides of the field, WRs on the numbers towards the east sideline, QBs on the other numbers, practicing their throws.
Soldier Boy's "Crank That" came on, and Tanner McEvoy added some Crank That dance moves while waiting to throw his next pass. He seemed to know the dance, would not go full bore, as he was practicing. Before you judge that little nugget, know that DJ Gillins to his right, also added some snaps, cranked that robocop, and some jockin' on the haters.
Onto more meaningful things.
3 & 12 @21 - Dual RB Gun - hesitate throw to #25 @25yd
3 & 10 - Gun single rb offset right - slow developing screen to #25 +1/2
3 & 8 - I - #6 +3/4
3 & 2 - I TE L - PA roll rt - sideline inc to #17
3 & 10 - Gun - blitz - deep right seem - inc #3 outstretched arms (Doe beat his man, Joel overthrew, if only Doe had 2 extra inches)
3 & 5 - Gun - sack #99
3 & 1 - #6 off T rt slip
3 & 1 @21 - Dual RB Gun - Lots of time (too much) hits #12 @40yd - drop
3 & 9 - Twin rt - #93 sack - #28 missed block big time
3 & 4 - Off I rt - Roll/Scramble +minimal - #58 pressure
3 & 1 - 2TE - #28 off T L +3/4
3 & 10 - Trips L - Sack #58
3 & 6 - Gun - Dual RB Off rt - blitz - throwaway
3 & 1 - I tight 2TE - stumble on snap - inc #20 behind him
THAT'S ALMOST EVERYTHING IN THE AM
Not a great morning session for Tanner, but didn't get much help blocking for him. He still isn't as accurate as Joel, plus, he doesn't seem to go through his progressions as quickly. It seems, he already has in his mind who he'll be throwing too, and if that isn't there, it's time to run. Not that it's terrible, but it's noticeable. Especially more noticeable when watching Stave and he throw back to back.
The team moved into their goal line run looks. Physical session on both sides, RBs have the edge as they aren't tackled, just popped and an early whistle. Saw a bit of scuffle during this drill. On one run by Clement, he was stopped at the goal line from the 2yd line, whistle, but he keeps pushing into the end zone, Trotter whips him to the ground, Havenstein didn't like that and pushes Trotter, some jaw-jacking, but nothing major. It did add some heat to a pretty tame practice.
The team finished with their "Rookie Team" continuing the drill above, Houston and Gillins, but neither did anything worth noting.
TONIGHT IS YOUR NIGHT BRO!
Early evening was warm at first, so I knew I'd be making my way up to the shade, but saw that there were a slew of people in the house. The scoreboard was alive with color and scrolling names of sponsors/donors and thanking them. The group was at the top mezzanine on the east side, (the non press box side - I'm getting confused now...). These lucky s.o.b's were enjoying hors d'oeuvres and cold beer. I was jealous.
While making my through the crowd I did get two handshakes and, "like the blog!" and if I was here for, "I hate camping." Which I was, but dang could I have used a cold one.
Want to point out here we saw a bit more of the offensive implementation at the night practice. While it wasn't like, "Wow!...they are doing that!!" , I definitely noticed the additions. For instance, seeing additional read-option looks, additional motion packages, bunched WRs and some of the pitch game. Andy Ludwig also was very instructive, especially during the end with the younger players. Grabbing their hips while lined up and moving them to the exact spot they needed to be. He was in his element. You can see when he's engaged because he gets an extra bounce to his step. Planning, teaching, guiding, and positive.
RED ZONE SKELLY
It wasn't the easiest to pay attention, as not only the music, but food carts would be wheeled by and distract me. I smelled chicken tenders fresh from the oven on one of them. Mmmmm...
Anyway, point of this drill was to get in the endzone, so while the markers were up, they were going for glory.
@18 - Trips L - L corner EZ throw too long for #16
@18 - Trips R - rt side EZ throw inc
#2 - 4WR - #16 +5
#5 - Roll L lazer to #86 over middle TD
#2 - FDE R #17 - (Not sure what I wrote here)
#5 - Hits #86 @10yd - great pivot and sprint to EZ TD
#2 - Post corner TD to #17 wide open
#5 - over mid #48 TD
#2 - EZ throw over mid to #3 - Too high (needs 2 inches!)
#5 - Back shoulder throw too high in traffic - inc
#2 - zips mid #18 TD
#5 - Post corner read that 5 goes post, #85 goes corner inc
#2 - Pressured - Runs OB rt side
#5 - back EZ to #48 too high inc
#2 - short corner rt side EZ - too long/sack if def
#5 - back EZ to #44 - way OB inc
2 & 10 @47 - Shot twins L -Screen R #25 @40yd
3 & 9 - Quads - nice step in trow to #49 @20 but too long and tripped up w/#21
1 & 10 - I 2TE motion - PA nice throw #49 @25
2 & 6 - Twin rt - Roll rt #86 @40 inc
3 & 5 - Option keep rt
1 & 10 - Swing L #6 +5
1 & 10 @48 - 2TE L - PA roll L - Too high for #12
2 & 10 - Gun Trips L - Blitz - Screen #28 inc
3 & 8 - Gun Quads - Leaping grab #17 @35yd shakes tackle
1 & 10 - Gun - tuck & run due to pressure from #6
3 & 6 - Gun - tuck run L +11
1 & 10 - Off I L - Option rt - fumble on pitch - #30 return for TD
1 & 10 @48 - Avoids pressure - steps up in pocket hits #16 @30
2 & 10 - Gun -Read option hand off #25 + 4 (From this novice view, looked like Stave had a second option on a counter run with slot wr in motion, and even keep himself - He joked triple option after the scrimmage...but, hmmmm....)
3 & 8 - Gun - Over mid to #17 @45 inc - drop
1 & 10 - Gun - Read option hand off #6 +2/3 inside
2 & 6 - PA - nice progression read out let dump L flat to #6 +5
3 & 6 - Gun - dump screen rt #6 +5/6
1 & 10 @48 - Gun - Quick in to #12 @40 - stripped, fumbled
1 & 10 - Gun - 5WR -#84 @37yd - one hand on it, but a bit high, catch/drop discrepancy
At this point, Houston took over, they showed multiple trip sets, bunch right, bunch left, and Ludwig did more of the hands on coaching and teaching. They went into their run sets and peeled away into individual sessions.
The punters took midfield, Meyer and Rosnowski worked on angled punts from the 35 to the 30. QBs and RBs were working on hand offs, then option pitch practice, plus, they started motion the RBs out from the backfield to the slot and these dart screens. Drive angled towards corner of end zone, pivot, hook back in and then basically pivot back towards the qb again, in essense getting behind the blockers on an inside screen.
The OL worked on inside hand work. Getting a good punch, but a good grip on the inside of the pads and hold in a squatted blocking position. They did this for awhile then added the turns and leans from the defender to remain locked in that solid blocking position.
1.) Discussed some concerns with fans about the D-line and I think there is some questions, but it's going to be hard to tell until game #1. While many of us are still becoming familiar with the 3-4, we have to remember it's built around Dlineman occupying space and allowing good, fast, linebackers to make plays. I don't have a concern about Warren Herring eating space and making "A" gap plays. The LBs/S/CBs are the pressure pointers. Can the Dlineman they have, eat enough space for an entire game? Who steps in when some wear down, and knock on wood they don't suffer an injury.
2.) As interesting as a development watching read options, pitches, and option counters is; I still struggle with seeing how effective they can be with it with Joel Stave and if a package built specifically for Tanner will be more positive than negative. I'm too sold on dual qbs, but watching what's getting implemented and knowing the QBs gearing up to play for WI, the next few years could be looking mighty different.
HEARD WHILE CAMPING
"Mr. Ole has a new number?"
"I twerked it." - "Tweaked it?" - "Tweaked it."
*Audible Yawn* - "Yeah, exactly."
*Audible Yawn*..."whoa, excuse me."
"We're kind of beginners, so basically slots"