Monday, June 22, 2015

Coaching Points: Wisconsin 2015 Spring Game

Base O - 12 or 21 personnel; Inside Zone and Power O base runs.
Base D - One-Gap 3-4; Cover 1 with a SS robber

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  • Stave should be clear starter. Like Gillins potential as a backup but has to clean up the little things in his game
  • Deal is, in my opinion, the clear #2. Won't break a lot of long runs, but has good vision between the tackles and finishes runs well.
  • I think the starting group for the OL will be fine, but depth may be a bit of concern; lots of young guys.
  • I think DL is going to be the group that improves most from last year to this year.
  • Really like the two new ILBs, particularly Jacobs. Depth drops off a bit to the backups, but Edwards and Jacobs should be solid.
  • OLBs should generate a lot of good pass rush, but still need to improve playing off the LOS or when the play goes away.

QB - We really only saw two throws from Stave and both of them were to the alert WR (in this offense, there will often be a concept to one side of the field and an "alert" receiver that can be targeted in a favorable matchup). On the TD, he did stare down his WR pretty hard, would like to see him use his eyes a little better to prevent a FS from cheating over. But the throws, with a clean pocket to step into, were on target.

Gillins obviously is a good athlete. He's not what I'd call a gamebreaking runner, but he is dangerous in space. He has enough speed to get to the edge on DEs, he can eat up yards in the open field, he showed some decent vision, and not bad lateral ability. What I was most impressed with Gillins were his mechanics when he had a clean pocket. He had a natural release that was fairly compact, didn't rush his throw, had good weight transfer, and was for the most part on target, sufficient arm strength. Where Gillins breaks down currently are the small things. I saw maybe four or five poor QB/Center exchanges; his drop wasn't consistent; his understanding of escape lanes was very good; he struggled with proper feel on his roll outs (take the edge or stay inside); etc. I also don't know about deep ball touch or far sideline or ability to get through progressions. I do think he has nice upside and could be a change of pace, but I believe Stave is a better QB when he's comfortable, so I'd be reluctant to go with that change of pace. Continue to develop Gillins to be more polished and think about using later.

David Stluka - UW Badges
Houston is a bit all over the place. You see instances of his natural arm talent; the one TD he had was without even stepping into it for instance. I don't think he has a cannon arm, but it's good. But his reads were late and at times really bad and forced. At times he didn't have good weight transfer or did sort of a jump pass where he didn't really plant his foot in the ground. Really needs to clean up his reads and his mechanics. I like his arm slot, it's nice and high, but he needs to step into throws to bring some of the throws down and closer to his targets.

I know people are high on Hornibrook, but he still looks way too raw right now to be comfortable with him stepping in.

RB - Clement didn't really play, but still has all the talent to be a great RB for Wisconsin this upcoming year, as my cop-out pick for him to "breakout" indicates.

Deal is my 2nd RB. He's kind of the anti-Gordon. Doesn't really have great speed, his footwork is at times poor and at best average, and he almost always will attack between the tackles. At times, there were some Power O plays where you'd like to see him bounce it to get to the edge to go 1v1 vs a DB, but he always cuts it inside. But he consistently hits the correct hole on his runs, the ones that will get yards, and he moves his feet on contact.

Trezi obviously has some speed to his game, and showed some ability to break some tackles, but still makes some really bad reads and fails to square his shoulders behind the LOS. He's a lesser Gordon right now, without the burst, speed and balance that Gordon had.

Ogunbowale is a guy I'd like to see do more. He also messed up some reads, one really badly on IZ, and he's not always decisive. On top of that, he lacks some play making ability to take him over the edge.

WR - Wheelwright has some nice build up speed, good all around WR. You do see quite a bit of wasted movement when he starts his routes, and it takes a bit more time than you'd like for him to get on top of the CBs or force them to turn early, but he can eventually get on top of defenders as he showed in this Spring Game. I also like how he adjusted to the ball in the air, putting his body in position to make the catch easier; if you adjust to the ball in the air, it's rare that you have to make the spectacular catch.

Jason Chan/The Badger Herald
Erikson is limited athletically, but runs solid routes, and if the run game is solid and keeping safeties active in defending the run, then he should be a solid option outside of Wheelwright as well. But if he has to go against teams that can keep the DBs back, he may have a few more issues.

TE - Traylor is what he is at this point, a good in-line blocker and limited route runner. He can do it as a change of pace, but he understands what his role is. Like how he adjusts his zone blocks to handle defenders coming from different points of attack.

Pennison is still very raw as a blocker. Whiffed on a few pretty bad. Needs to clean up that area of his game, until then will be more of an H which can utilize the FBs like Watt.

OL - Couple injuries preventing Wisconsin from throwing out a starting unit. They also mixed up a lot of positions to try guys elsewhere, which should be noted.

Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
Marz had a good down block and combo, needs to do a little more with his pin and pull schemes. Also showed a good seal block. Obviously he's one of the best OL on the team. DIdn't see a ton of him in the Spring Game, but I fully expect him to be the next Wisconsin OL. I like Williams as a puller. Did better than anyone else adjusting to the wrong arm technique. Pulls well into space, I like him at the OG position. Probably the best OG that I saw out there. I also like Biegel at RT. Moves his feet well better than most, looks like he can fit well at RT or RG. Probably the best fit on the team from what I saw at the RT position.

Kopoi strugged with his feet and with his eyes in pass pro. Need to know where to take eyes to pick up secondary pressure from LBs. Schmidt needed to help a little more before going to the 2nd level. A lot of the point of attack combos didn't get the initial push or pop to knock the DL back they needed. Hard to win the POA when you move straight to the 2nd level, and this isn't a scheme where you should be doing that. Panos struggled maintaining blocks, especially with LBs. Deiter looked a bit slow, couldn't seal well and didn't get out to the second level well. Benzschawel had some busts. Didn't adjust too well on his pulls and got split on a combo. Dietzen had a rough game, not great feet. Gets caught up, struggles to seal at times and get out to the second level. Connors has some issues with pass pro and doesn't consistently show good feet. He still needs some time to develop.

DL - I think DL is going to be the biggest area of improvement for Wisconsin's defense this year. Despite having a mostly good defense last year, I actually wasn't particularly high on the DL. But I think they've shown improvement with their hand usage this year.

Obasih is a good athlete that is starting to understand how to use his hands at the point of attack. I'd still like to see him get a little more violent at times with them, but it's starting to come together for him. He should be the best pass rusher from the DL. James was another guy I was impressed with. High effort guy, uses his hands pretty well, though sometimes a little late, but he keeps on going no matter where the ball is located. Think he can be a guy you bring off the bench and have a specific role in the defense.

I like Sheehy moving down inside a little bit more. Sheehy has a good first step that causes issues for interior OL in both the run and pass game. He isn't a classic two-gap NT, but he can get penetration in the one-gap 3-4 for Wisconsin off angles and slants. Patterson is another NT that is a little stouter, anchors down really well, and is hard to push off the LOS.

Keefer is the other one I expect to play quite a few snaps. He's a little more inconsistent than some of the others, but shows flashes. He can be quick at the POA and can handle the POA, but sometimes takes himself a little out of the play.

ILBs - I'm going to start off with the LB I expect to break out in the B1G more than any other: Leon Jacobs. I thought Jacobs showed high potential last season, but in this spring game, it looked like the game had clicked for him. He was fast, both coming down and making a play and going sideline-to-sideline; he was explosive in terms of his first step burst and how he took on blockers with his shoulder, shed them, and then made plays; he tackled well; he was strong at the point of attack and understood proper angles and had the instincts to chase the ball from the backside; he even had some decent pass drops. There wasn't anything you task a LB with doing that Jacobs didn't show at some point in this game. More than that, I really think he made the play of those around him better because of the many little things he did. I really expect him to break out.

Joe Koshollek
Beside him was Edwards, who I thought also looked the part. Edwards is more your typical MIKE in a 3-4 scheme (strongside ILB), while Jacobs is the WILL (Weakside ILB). Edwards I don't think showed quite as much as Jacobs, but he showed that he can be strong at the point of attack and can make plays when the ball goes away from him. Think there could be some struggles in the pass game if offenses can have the time to pick on him, but overall I thought he looked good.

In the backup ground, Thomas and Connelly were the two ILBs. I thought their play was a little more inconsistent. Thomas took some false steps or at times wasn't confident enough in his read step, and that put him in a position to get blocked rather than attack the LOS. When he tried to shoot gaps, he sometimes took himself out of the play. I think you see the potential there, but it still has a ways to go. Connelly was similar: showed flashes but still inconsistent. I think there is a clear first team right now, but I don't think the defense would collapse around the backups either.

OLBs -  I really like what Biegel brings to the table in terms of edge rusher and as a run defender when the play comes directly at him. He has a bevy of moves that he can use as a blitzer, and he shows the ability to be strong and anchor down. Schobert I don't think is as gifted athletically and doesn't quite have the same amount of moves, but is another plus player off the left edge.

Where both still struggle though is: 1) playing a Loose or Apex position, where blockers can get out onto them in space and they don't have as defined of an edge; 2) making reads on action away from them or play action, where they get sucked out of the play too often. We saw both lose contain at points off of PA, and they need to get a little better respecting that backside and playing their assignment within the defense.

Cichy and Hayes were the primary backups from what I saw, though we also saw some Dooley. I thought both showed some flashes but have some work in terms of being a force on the edge. Right now, the technique and reads are just inconsistent.

DBs - Floyd and Jamerson got picked on a bit in this game. Both struggled at times being strong on the edge or being caught flat footed or not succeeding in their jam technique, so there could be some concerns there in terms of depth.

Caputo is still Caputo. Furguson had some nice fills. But the talk of the town was Bondac.

Let's clarify some things with Bondac: he looks like a solid box safety that tackled pretty well in space. But the thing is that Wisconsin's defense sets up for the SS to get a lot of tackles, particularly against an offense that has a scheme like Wisconsin's. The SS is unblocked coming down and the play often bounces to him. Bondac had some nice tackles and made some plays where you don't need to immediately bemoan Caputo not being available, but you can't play him opposite Caputo and he isn't at Caputo's level yet. He looks like a solid player with some limited athleticism that may struggle a little bit in coverage.

Raw Notes

Offense Starts in 21 personnel. Defense in what looks like a Okie front, doing some late shifting to force offense to adjust pre-snap. Power O. Nick Thomas (45) is the MIKE here and doesn't take a great angle to the ball; takes a false step inside which allows the double from TE/RT to seal him in there. LOLB wrong arms, and LG Williams (62) does well to read that and continue on past the hole and outside. Ferguson (S, 36) does a really nice job stepping up and forcing the pulling OG to account for him by filling fast, forcing Deal (RB, 28) to break a tackle in the backfield before taking on the CB 1v1 on the edge. Would like to see Floyd (CB, 29) to be a little more solid with his crack exchange to force this play back inside (which he does) but also be in a position to make a square tackle; instead he's forced to dive at his feet and Deal can pick up a 4 yards or so. Nice job by Deal, once he breaks the first tackle, to get his shoulders square and hit upfield. Would like to see a little cleaner footwork to really stick that foot in the ground and get vertical, but he did eventually get there. Biegel (74, RT) did a very nice job getting out to the WILL off his combo block. Front did enough to stop the play, DBs need to clean it up.

Loos 3-4 against 11 personnel. Pin and Pull stretch zone. Really like the way Williams (LG, 62) is moving in space. He's able to beat the ILB to the spot and then has the hip flexibility and hand usage to seal him back inside with power. I like Thomas's (MIKE, 45) initial angle, but he needs to be stronger at the point of attack and maintain that outside arm free. He doesn't get a good enough initial pop and that allows Williams to stick to him and finally seal him inside; if Thomas stays in his gap then this play has no where to go. Cicky (ROLB) does well enough to set the edge against the TE, but you'd like to see him anchor better against Traylor (TE, 46) who does well to wash him down and expand the gap. Connelly (WILL, 19) takes the appropriate angle but doesn't finish the play, stops running, gets stagnant feet, then forced to lunge at the feet. DBs clean up play, Figaro (S, 31) catches the ball carrier high and allows some YAC. Good vision by Deal (RB) again to see the cut, but I'd still like to see his footwork a little cleaner to stick a foot in the ground and burst vertical, could have made more out of this play potentially. Nice drive at the end of the play though.

12 personnel. Gap counter. Matz (LT) helps on combo block and cleans out the DE, who can't hold up to the double. This allows some gap to form. Both ILBs dip inside as if it's IZ (which their keys see), but Connelly (ILB, 19) is disruptive at the point of attack which helps form a wall. Ferguson (S, 36) fills down quickly. Would like to see him not have to catch the runner and allow forward YAC. Deal (RB) does well to drive after contact though, his feet don't stop. Some of the same criticisms as before though as his feet just aren't as fluid as you'd like to see.

12 personnel again. First pass, sluggo against Cover 1. Floyd (CB, 29) gets his feet a little flat footed, and while he doesn't really bite on the weak slant fake, that little flat footed-ness doesn't allow him to get his body into Erickson (WR, 86), giving him a clean outside release. Erickson shows some pretty good speed to get behind the CB and maintain some separation, as Floyd can't catch up, then Stave throws a perfect ball. Key here is Erickson gave a gap between himself and the sideline to allow Stave to fade the ball. Erickson adjusts cleanly and hauls in the reception. Nice job to identify the "alert" here by Stave, as the route concept was to the far side.

21 personnel. Power O again. Chicky (ROLB) does well to wrong arm here, gets straight down the LOS and catches both the FB and RG pulling. You'd like to see Benzschawel (RG, 66) be able to adjust to this, but instead he doubles the ROLB, which is a win for the defense because now the interior hole is plugged and there are free defenders outside. Thomas (ILB, 45) does well to scrape outside while gaining forward ground, this allows him to work back inside behind the LOS to make the tackle. Deal (RB) still driving feet on contact. Hayes (LOLB) here could stop this for a TFL, but he abandons his assignment too soon; he starts working back at an angle like Deal is going to break it long, but if he continues to squeeze the backside, there is no cutback here and it's a TFL. Don't abandon assignment.

21 personnel, I form. IZ. Trezy (RB, 3) makes the wrong read here and starts to try to cut it back, despite the NT being sealed backside. This should be a bounce out a gap, where he'd take a safety 1v1 in the hole about 3 yards deep. But he dances as he doesn't identify the hole correctly, and this allows D to converge and make stop at LOS. Never squares his pads either, will have to do that between the OTs. Nice job by Ferguson (S, 36) to step up and fill hard. Marz was able to get underneath the Keefer (DE, 93) back with a single block. That needs to be stronger to not allow such a bounce.

11 personnel and gun on 3rd and 4. Stave is starring down his alert here rather hard. Throws a perfect back shoulder fade (maybe a little late, as fade is no longer really a threat) that the CB (Jamerson, 12) doesn't react exactly well too. Initial inside jam is solid by Jamerson, as he does well with his hands and forces a somewhat contested outside release. But he gives up some ground and can't get his hip in front of the WR's hip, meaning he can't lean on him and control with his body to find the ball. This puts him constantly in a trail position, where he should be able to turn and find the ball and stop the back shoulder fade. Note sure why Figaro (S, 31) isn't breaking on this quicker either. Cover 1 FS needs to read the eyes quick here and make a play over the top. Nice adjustment by Wheelwright (WR, 15) in the air to come down with this one. Wisconsin did bring 4 and no one even sniffed the QB. Biegel (RT, 74), did well in space to maintain inside leverage on the DE and not give up ground into the pocket. DTs got no push to force Stave to feel uncomfortable. Really need some push from the interior, didn't see that here.


21 personnel. Lead IZ. Slant away. Center completely passes by the NT slanting away, but RG can't get inside and seal him; need to at least give him a shove before moving onto the second level. Edwards (MIKE ILB, 53) reads this really well from the backside and slips right through the playside A gap. Really like how Jacobs (WILL, 32) attacks down hill and attacks the OL releasing into him; doesn't let the OL (Panos, C, 58) engage and maintain his block. Dietzen (RG, 67) needs to do better to cut off the NT (Sheehy, 94) as he lets him get clean penetration without washing him down. Ogunbowale (RB, 23), needs to read 3T (pushed outside) and then identify the NT and cut this back though; could have possibly had a huge gain off the cutback.

Sheehy (NT, 94) is quick at the position and easily gets the best of the center who doesn't do well to move his feet (Panos, 58). Kapoi (75, LG) similarly gets beat inside. Looks like the Center's eyes are at the second level, as if he's supposed to be picking up the blitz coming from there, this may have trickled down from the RG (Dietzen, 67) missing his assignment. Alec James (DE, 6) had a really nice pull and swim move to get free of the LG. Smart of Gillins (QB) to break contain and pick up what he could, despite the hold by Panos.

LT- Maxwell - 52, LG - Kapoi - 75, C - Panos - 58, RG - Dietzen - 67, RT - Connors - 64

Stretch pin and pull. TE blocks down on Obasih and seals. Connors isn't quick enough to get the pul and seal Schobert (LOLB, 58), who does a nice job anchoring but can't finish the play.  Love how Jacobs flows over the top though. Edwards cleans up inside and forms a wall and Jacobs is athletic enough to track down, maintain proper relation to the runner, and make a sound tackle on Ogunbowale (RB, 23), who can't make him miss even a little.

Traditional screen. Jacobs (WILL) does a really nice job identifying it, getting through traffic immediately, and sticking to the RB. Biegel (OLB, 47) anchors against two blockers to force any screen to go back inside to pursuit. Problem here is the DL completely getting out of lanes. Obasih (DT, 34) sees screen and back tracks to the ball nicely. But the backside DE (Neuville, 38) gets way upfield and outside. The opposite ILB (Edwards, 53) loses track of the QB, and everyone else is in man coverage and is run off. Great hustle by James to continue on the play, ends up being a part of the tackle. Great vision by Gillins (QB) to see the parting of the seas and take it.

IZ, not a clean center/QB exchange, threw off the timing here. Leon Jacobs again, reads the play maybe a half-a-breath late, but charges downhill fast, takes on the OL, impacts the OL with the shoulder and creates separation because he's the violent player that brings the blow, but still under control, correct arm free, and makes the tackle at the LOS. Dietzen (RG, 67) a bit slow getting to the second level to try to seal Jacobs and can't, also doesn't bring contact. Obasih (DE, 34) wins inside nicely but allowed too clean of a release into the second level there, but one thing I notice is that he is doing better with his initial "pop" this year. Like how Jacobs (6) brings his hands at the DL position too.

Another missed center/QB exchange, think it's Gillins pulling out early. Nice job by Pennison (TE, 49) not giving up on the play, to get playside on the roll out and seal the edge to prevent Biegel from keeping everything inside, but he needs to win at the point of attack. Biegel (OLB, 47) did a quick slant inside and the LT (Maxwell, 52) did not step playside first, he was focused inside on the DE, but he needs to do his assignment before helping elsewhere. Saari (RB, 21) really doesn't do anything with his block either to help here. This forces Gillins to get a lot of depth just to get outside, never can get his shoulder turned. Then Caputo does Caputo (S, 7) things, gets his helmet outside and sticks a solid tackle filling the alley. Jacobs there too

A gap blitz, bringing Jacobs and sending the NT (Obasih) away as he's doubled. LG (Kapoi, 75) needs to identify this quicker and pass off the DE. Jacobs shoves Saari (RB, 21) out of the picture, though Saari is doing pretty much everything he can and has decent leverage and hand position; Jacobs just coming too hard. Would like to see James (6, DE) shed his block a little sooner, but eventually he gets his hands inside the LT (Maxwell) and can rip him away and make a play on the ball. Never gives up on the play and really good when he gets the rip, but he could have won earlier.

\end drive

Watt (H-back, 34) alone on the edge against Cichy (OLB, 48), who has a nice move, threatens inside and then swims over the top to get around clean. Houston (QB) didn't really have a chance to even see this coming. Watt needs to do better getting his hands into the defender to prevent this though, and keep moving feet.

Pin and pull stretch. LT and LG pull. Very nice seal by Traylor (TE, 46) on the DE, who gets into the body and drives him out of the play completely. But Patterson (NT, 92) easily splits the Center and RG (Benzschawel, RG). Worse yet, the Center (Deiter, 63) doesn't even get out to the 2nd level LB who can scrape over the top. Would like to see Martz (61, LT) do better with his pull here, he's working really hard to win his helmet across the MIKE (DeForest, 54) and does, but he's leaning and not really getting underneath the LB, his eyes drop down, and the LB can get off of him. Williams (62, LG) is a bit slow getting out on his pull and can't wash the OLB (Cichy, 48) down. The OLB does a really nice job to get low and narrow and not give much area to block, allowing him to really anchor the edge . DeForest does a nice job diagnosing this play and making it difficult for the LT to seal him inside. Connolly (ILB, 19) scrapes all the way across the formation and beats the Center to make the tackle with pursuit. Not a lot Deal could do here.

Houston with a really poor read, and had a lot of flutter on the ball. Not a smart choice and should have been a pick 6.


James does a nice job bringing his hands on the edge against the pin and pull and not giving up ground, even winning a little ground, shoving the TE (49, Pennison) into the pulling LT and not letting him get outside clean. Likewise, Schobert (OLB, 58) also holds the edge against the H-back, getting into the backfield to force the pull to go even deeper. Flow from Jacobs and Obasih (DE) constricts the play, and nowhere for the RB to go. really got the most he could out of the play (Ogunbowale).

A little late on the throw and a little wobbly coming out on the hitch by Collins (QB), but it gets there. Good enough route (WR, Rushing, 87). Nice open field tackle by Shelton (8, CB).

Very accurate throw into next to no window to pick up the short yardage for a first down.

PA sucks the OLB (Biegel, 47) inside enough to allow Collins outside. Need to play your assignment first, not try to make the backside play first.

Tripped up on IZ. Had a hole for Ogunbowale, got to get the feet up

Lead IZ to the weakside. Damrow (FB) is too late to the hole and just catches Jacobs who flies into the backfield. That allows rest of defense to flow. Really nice job by Patterson (?, 92, DE) to anchor down and maintain his gap. Doesn't get pushed out, when RB tries to run through he gets low and brings him down. Furguson (S) was filling fast, so Ogunbowale didn't really have a better option to run through.

Again Biegel (47, OLB) gets sucked too far inside on the PA and Gillins easily gets the edge and picks up 7+

Sheehy (NT) flat out destroys Connors (C), who can't get his hands on him and doesn't move his feet well enough to win his helmet across. Nice hands by Sheehy to get into the blocker first and maintain position then get skinny and into the backfield.

Again, issue with center/QB eschange. Gillins timing is thrown off,. not comfortable with the read on the hitch, needs to throw it earlier. Ogunbowale needs to step up further in the pocket or go low to prevent the OLB from getting into Gillins feet. Gillins needs to feel the pressure better and step away from it (or reduce step).

Connors (Center, 64) just doesn't move his feet well here and doesn't get any hands on Obasih, who does a really nice swim move on him to get into the backfield clean immediately on the snap. Would like to see Schmidt (76, LG) help a little here, hand goes inside and eyes outside, that hand needs to be tight enough to help. Biegel (OLB) has a nice punch as well and Benzschawel (RT) allows too much separation and so Biegel can win on his speed rush rather easily. RT needs to keep his feet moving, went stagnant after initial punch.

Schmidt just doens't quite have a strong enough base yet and gets leveraged too easily on the outside. Nice tackle by Edwards in the open field.

Deal takes what he can get on the play, hitting the right gap and keeping his feet moving.

Floyd (CB, 29) playing off but doesn't break back forward well enough on the quick hitch. This is a tackle that needs to be made on the catch.

Nice run by Deal, who seems to be finding the right holes and squeezing through hole on Power O and driving the pile.

Gap counter, nice read on the play by Deal and cuts back cleanly behind the LOS. Not a lot of pure speed, but gets his shoulders square and hits defenders.

Houston needs to make the trhow a little earlier to Traylor (TE) here so that he can put additional air on the corner route throwing over top of the OLB. Need to give him more room to make a play, he's not as athletic as a WR.

Pin and pull which Wisconsin has set up. Martz (LT) does really well to get his hands on the OLB and then seal him back inside. Deiter (C) is too slow from the backside to sseal the MIKE crashing through the LOS, but that's partially because Keefer (DE, 93) wins his assignment so well at the POA against the TE. He gets penetration and doesn't get driven out of the play at all, which forces Deiter to pull deeper so he can't beat the RB to the spot. Nice identification by Thomas (ILB, 45) to read the play and shoot the gap.

Houston makes the correct read, not bad mechanics. Compact delivery, gets ball over head on release. May want to step a little more into the throw to help bring it down a little bit, but looked like he was focused on getting it over the LOS.

3rd and 26, probably not the best choice to make the throw, but a deep bomb into double coverage isn't the worst thing.

Lead IZ. TE (Penniston, 49) whiffs on his block on the backside, which if he would have executed would have had the RB 1v1 with a safety 3 yards past the hole. Need to make that block. Jacobs read the play very quickly, good understanding of where safety help is stepping it.

Can't see which ILB it is, think it's DeForest that reads this roll out really well, cuts it off, and doesn't let Gillins square his shoulder. Would like to see Gillins get a little more patient here on his roll, he can't beat the defender to the edge, slow down a little, let the block get there and wash him past and then you can turn your shoulder up field and read the defense. He got his shoulder upfield but never got his hip and was forced to do a jump throw into double coverage.

Patterson (NT, 92) wins playside on the lead IZ. Dieter (Center, 63) loses the first step battle, but does make up for it a bit by washing him down. Keefer (DE, 93) initially gets pushed back by the double but readjusts, gets low, and then starts splitting

Lead IZ. FB catches the LB too far in backfield, have to get on the other side of the LOS. But deal reads the block well, follows the fart, threatens the edge before cutting it inside and dragging some tacklers forward. Bondac (S, 13) made the tackle at the feet.

Nice job by Wheelwright (15, WR) here to threaten deep. He takes a while to build up to speed but he runs good enough routes to make up for some of it. Jamerson (12, CB) seems to be respecting the speed a little too much and not breaking forward as fluid as you'd like to see.

Standard split flow PA with Watt (34, TE) running the flat route. Would like to see Houston make this throw a little quicker; this needs to be a quick read and out so that the receiver can turn up field and start running. Until he catches the ball he has to work laterally, which gives Bondac (S, 13) time to recover and make a sure open field tackle for a minimal gain. Give the receiver more of a chance, get the ball out of your hands

Deal reads this IZ run perfectly. Gets his eyes on his target and knows he needs to bounce. Thomas (ILB) takes himself a bit out of the play here by trying to be really downhill, but he runs into a gap that's already defended and allows an OL to immediately get on him without having to work to him. Deal makes the correct read to bounce to the C gap and does. Feels like Connolly (ILB, 19) lunges at feet a lot and misses, needs to get a little more speed on the backside and get to plays or learn to take better angles so he can make these plays. Deal tries to bounce outside further once through the 2nd level, gets tripped up off of very little. Not great speed or feet, but great vision and finishes runs.

Like I said, Wheelwright takes a little while to build up to speed, but once he gets there he shows some. Here, he's running a simple corner route that initially stems inside, CB (Jamerson, 12) has leverage on him and knows he has a bracket over the top, but Wheelwright can build his speed and get past the CB and then run the corner route with a clean release and gets over the top and outside the defender. Really nice throw by Houston who can't step into his throw, well placed. Deal needs to do much better with his block here, never sets a solid base and never really gets a good pop or moves his feet on contact, which easily allows LB to slip off and provide pressure. I don't think Houston has a great arm, but he has good mechanics that let the ball cut through the air well.

Hemer (72, RG) never finds his target at the snap, so he engages in the first level and the LB can run right past him for the TFL for Edwards (ILB, 53)

Hornibrook (QB, 18) with the throw. He's going to take some time. This ball, a simple hitch, just flutters out there as he gets very little zip on it. Looping mechanics, doesn't step into throw great. Needs to tighten that up.

Hornibrook really shoulder pushes the deep throw, isn't very accurate.

Really nice throw from Gillins here, showing off his arm when he can step into a throw. This is a deep comeback off of PA. Gets back into the pocket, sees his read and sets his mechanics, allowing him to get a good push off that back foot and really transfer the weight through the throw. Like the route by Peavy (WR, 11) here too, gets really deep, but when he comes back, he keeps coming back to the ball to make the catch and then try to make a play with the ball in his hands.

Fairly impressed when Gillisn can set in the pocket. Needs to clean up his drop, but he gets set and transfers weight well. Probably need to simplify the reads a little for him right now, and an odd paradox where he doesn't really throw well on the run yet, but you want to run him.

Three step drop, again, not quite clean in his drop yet on the quick hitch. Would like to see him be able to adjust his drop or arm slot to get this into the throwing lane instead of trying to throw over the OLB.

Power O. Benzschawel (RG, 66) gets caught up with the wrong arm again on his pull and can't get outside the FB's block. If he can, then Deal has a good chance to make something of this. This is where you see a little of Deal's limited athleticism though. Better backs can still bounce this and have a 1v1 a CB in a lot of space, Deal still needs to cut this up and take what he can get instead. Not as much of the homerun threat as previous backups at Wisconsin.

Biegel (RT) loses way too much ground when trying to set the pocket against the OLB. He catches Dooley (OLB, 55) rather than getting the punch. Because he catches him, he has no leverage (need to get more bend at the hips to get underneaeth) and Dooley just pushes him back into Gillins. Don't think Gillins quite has the feel for escape lanes yet, as he had a nice one right up the middle, but went right at Dooley's free arm.


Connors (LG) playing a little bit of everywhere but really needs to improve his feet. Gets beat cleanly by a simple angle move, barely even getting his hands on the DL (Sheehy, 94)

Benzschawel (RT) doesn't help enough on the combo and the DE never gets washed out, therefore, there is no hole at the POA. Jacobs has to be careful here, he tries to go under the play to get a TFL and doesn't get there unless the front side is an absolute mess for the O.

Hornibrook is going to take some time to develop.

Nice job by Watt meeting the LB at the LOS and then turning him back inside. Trezy (RB, 3) can then bounce it as Biegel (RT) seals the OLB (Dooly) that's trying to fight back inside, despite another defender having that gap responsibility

Houston makes some funny throws. Another kidn of jump throw where he doesn't set his feet. he gets the ball out there but it isn't really accurate. Nice job by Peavy (WR) to reach his hands out and pluck the ball out of the air.

Wisconsin D charging hard on 3rd and short. Connolly (ILB) reads the play well and cuts through the wash. No one gets out on him.

IZ. No one combos out to the backside ILB and DeForest reads the play quickly and splits the OL and makes the TFL on 4th and short. Looks like the bust is from the RG position (Benzschawel)\

Biegel needs to work on his pass pro, not getting to the depth he needs to and doesn't consistently use his hands to stall the pass rush.

Houston makes some really nice throws, accurate, but just inconsistent. Feel like it comes down to his mechanics, which seem to change every throw he makes. You see some arm talent there, but until there is consistency it'll be difficult for him to throw consistently.

Deal just needs to clean up his footwork. Pick up his feet, Needs to improve that and he should be able to break through the first level.

Not sure how RB (23) didn't get tackled a few times on his long run. Really poor tackling there. But nice balance to take it to the house.


  1. I'd love to see some kind of synopsis or overview in these. Preferably a summation at the end of the offense and defense sections, along with a summary of your thoughts on the team as a whole to close. Just a thought.

    1. Do'h!

      Someone made that recommendation last season and I implemented it and I thought it was a really nice way of summarizing everything. For some reason when I started these again for the spring game I forgot. Very good suggestion. I'll go back through the Spring Game posts and include those.