Wisconsin - My Five Thoughts

baddogmaine's picture
November 17, 2012 at 8:52p

1. We Won!!! 11-0. Way to go Buckeyes!

2. Since a lot of 11W readers mistake any criticism for total rejection I'll say it again - this was a great win against a very good team that wanted to beat us. Terrific, terrific result!

3. Our pass defense stinks. It wasn't just letting a guy who had hardly played football in about five years and was making just his second start go 5 for 5 (not counting spikes) on the final drive in regulation. This was the second game we won in large part because opposing receivers dropped passes in their hands (MSU was the other). Simply put: our coverage is not good enough against even mediocre receivers if the QB is given time. Phillips was shakey when he was under pressure but Fickel called for pressure far too little. We have only one game left but AACC now has a guy who can throw and if we give Gardner the time we gave Phlilips then next week could get pretty ugly. IMHO we have a week to figure out how to implemement corner blitzes.

3b. Against MSU Ross said we did what we tried to do - stop the running game and count on Spartan receivers dropping passes. If receivers are bad a team can take that gamble. But we Made Phillips look good AND let Ball get nearly 200 yards. It didn't amount to points, but it also didn't amount to defense. I'm looking forward to Ross's take.

4. Our offense is too easy to stop. Purdue drew up the blueprint. WIS carried it out even without their starting stud LB. AACC is going to do the same: spy on Braxton and dare him to win through the air. It is hard to see on TV because we don't get to see the whole screen very often but part of the problem is bad pass play design and bad receiver play. We saw receivers not called as the first option just jogging. We saw receivers running too close to each other, bringing too many defenders close together. And on one 3rd and 10 that the announcers said was great defense the corner was backpeddling and instead of breaking off the route at the first down marker our guy kept going, running into coverage.Stoneburner dropped two.  Take away Miller's legs and we struggle. Whch leads to

5. Miller is a dynamic RB but he is still not good enough as a QB. His decision making is not very good, to put it kindly. At least twice he took big losses when he should have thrown it away. He threw one deep ball that never should have been thrown. He completed passes to receivers just past the line of scrimmage that had no room to run - were those really good passes?  He is guiding the ball, not throwing with command. We can win with him because he is that good as a runner but the wins will come against teams not prepared to stop his running. I think the early excitement over his explosiveness has largely disappeared in the reality of plenty of other players simply doing better, and unless other candidates struggle too he won't even be going to NY. Which is no critcism - very few players get invites. But the team needs to be realistic about the talent it has, and the talent it does not have yet and devote itself to improving where improvement is needed. Meyer can talk about "playmakers" but as well-suited as Miller is to Meyer's preferred offense the QB needs to be better still.

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