[Ed-Seth: We have the great pleasure of employing the services and serving utensils of the original barbecuing bloggerati Joe Pichey of GoBlueBBQ to write recipes for our most delicious sponsor, Stubb's BBQ sauce. It doesn’t come in plastic bottles. It is not ketchup. Nine of ten doctors say “daaaaaamn”.]
Since moving down here to Texas, I have discovered a few things:
- I do not look good in a cowboy hat.
- How much I miss a great game of pond hockey
- The GREATNESS of beef cheeks.
Yes, I said beef cheeks. Trust me, you will fall in love with these the first time you make them. This is my go-to when making barbacoa, which is a basically a form of cooking meat until it’s fall-apart tender. Traditionally meats are cooked slowly over an open fire or in a hole in the ground that has been covered in large leaves. Since I do not have either of these at my standard tailgate. I decided to go with my smoker.
- Beef Cheeks
Stubbs Beef Rub
Tortillas (Corn or Flour)
Beer or Coffee and beef broth
[Hit the JUMP if you dare but remember you are not supposed to eat your monitor.]
About Last Week:
Penn State ran so much stuff that ALMOST worked.
The Road Ahead:
Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0 B1G)
Last week: Won at Michigan State, 30-6
Recap: This game wasn’t quite as lopsided as the score would indicate. The two teams finished roughly equal in terms of total yards and yards per play, and neither team could run the ball. Seven of Wisconsin’s points came off a 66-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The big difference in this game was the quarterbacks. Wisconsin got a sufficient level of quarterback play. Michigan State didn’t. That was the ballgame.
That’s not to say that Alex Hornibrook was fantastic. He was okay-to-good. He threw for 195 yards at 7.5 yards per attempt with a pick (albeit on a last-play-of-the-half Hail Mary type object), a lost fumble, and a 1-yard touchdown pass. He has a rather notable lack of arm strength; on the last play of the first half, Wisconsin had the ball on the MSU 37, and Hornibrook didn’t get the ball anywhere near the end zone. He struggled at other times to push the ball downfield with velocity.
That said, he managed the game well, hit the open receivers, put some balls into tight windows, and generally avoided mistakes. He looks much more comfortable than the guy he replaced, Bart Houston. Is it because Hornibrook has a better last name? Maybe. Probably.
This team is as frightening as: Bald Bull. A real opponent, but this ain’t Tyson. Fear Level = 8
Michigan should worry about: Michigan struggled up front with a 3-4 defenses in the UCF and Colorado games.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Wisconsin scored plenty in the Akron game. In their other three games, they have scored six offensive touchdowns. Those drives averaged a start on the opponent’s 47 yard line. It is unlikely they can string long drives together against Michigan’s defense. And Wisconsin ALSO ranks towards the bottom in the country in offensive explosiveness (#114, per Bill C)
When they play Michigan: Michigan wins.
This week: at Michigan, 3:30 p.m., ABC (Michigan -10.5)
[AFTER THE JUMP: The path looks clearer, with one terrifying exception]
Thoughts on how your group’s played so far through four games?
“They’ve played well. They for the most part have done what they’ve been asked to do. More importantly than the games, I think, they’ve shown four weeks of improvement each in their own individual way in terms of what they needed to work on. I think we’re really in position to be playing our best football as a group getting into Big Ten play and then, as you’d like to, in October and November, so I’m excited about that.”
What was the point where you saw Devin Asiasi emerge? He’s obviously right there as one of your top guys so far.
“Uh, last January when I watched his junior high school tape, probably.”
What is it about him, is it that he’s physical?
“He’s a guy who plays fast, he’s physical, he’s capable of playing very nasty. He weighs somewhere around 270 pounds and still moves very well, so it’s a rare physical combination. Then he has a good football awareness about him and he learns well. Once I got a sense of the fact that he’d be able to pick things up fast enough to contribute it was kind of a no-brainer that he’d be part of the group.”
Speaking of playing nasty, it seemed like Tyrone [Wheatley Jr.] had that kind of week last week blocking. Is he becoming that kind of a mauler out there at that position?
“Yeah, certainly He’s definitely improving. Every week has been better than the previous, and looking for that to continue.”
Devin said that you had a big role in his recruitment and getting him here. I know for him it was a lot of last minute stuff and getting hot late in his recruitment. Can you touch a little on what it was like to build that relationship with him?
“Shoot, it was just kind of steady. He’s the kind of guy who could have gone wherever he wanted to go and it was just kind of always being there and building that relationship over a long period of time. I think he might have been the first guy I offered when I got the job here last January or February or whatever it was. Always loved him and it was just a long time, and luckily it paid off at the end.”
[After THE JUMP: pick your punt-return poison]
What are your thoughts about this week’s game?
“Well, it’s a big game, obviously. It’s the next game. It’s a very well coached, good football team. Got a big offensive line. They take pride in running the football. They’re, like I said, well coached and good running back and quarterback’s done very well, the freshman—redshirt freshman. They’ve got a number of tight ends that are all good football players, so this’ll be a big test.”
MGoQuestion: Wisconsin’s offensive style is fairly different from what you’ve faced the last few weeks. How does that impact your line rotation, if at all?
“Well, we’ll always rotate, you know, because the guys have earned the right to rotate, and we feel like they’re playing to be able to go in there. It always helps if you’re fresh. You always can benefit from what one guy tells you when he comes off, how they’re blocking you. But it is, you’re right, it is different. The fast pace of spread offense and then go from that to this style of offense is totally different.”
Your thoughts on getting Taco back and how he looked?
“It’s great to have him back. I’m very, very proud of him. I’m proud of our training staff. I mean, he worked so hard at getting back. Spent countless hours in the training room and you could see out there it was good to have him back.
“He’s had a good week of practice and he’s a senior now. He’s got things to prove and that’s what he’s working for. I was really proud of how much time and how much effort he did to get himself back. That tells you how important it is.”
How do you look at Rashan Gary as far as his progression over the first four weeks?
“He’s getting better every game. He’s getting better. He’s working really hard. And again, I mentioned this once before but one of the key things with Rashan is to have role models like Chris Wormley and Taco. He sees them do it right, and if he doesn’t—not that he doesn’t—but if he doesn’t do it he sees, okay, this is how it’s supposed to be. It’s not having to pull up a highlight tape or something like that to show him. He’s working very hard, and I’m very proud of him also because he knows how important this is for the seniors and the kids ahead of him and he’s doing everything he can to help this team.”
[After THE JUMP: Bryan Mone is practicing,Chase Winovich sneaks into the weight room, and Jourdan Lewis is Jourdan Lewis]
Wisconsin's 30-6 blowout of Michigan State was one of the more surprising results from last weekend despite UW's opening-week win over LSU, which it's safe to say has lost some of its shine. After an uninspiring win over Georgia State—which is not Georgia Southern in name or football ability—the Badgers switched quarterbacks from senior Bart Houston to redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook, and the results were better than expected.
The results also weren't quite as good as the final score would have you believe. Wisconsin's drives in non-garbage time:
- 17-play, 65-yard TD drive requiring two fourth-down conversions
- six-play, 28-yard TD drive set up by an interception
- one-play, five-yard TD "drive" after MSU's punter dropped a high snap
- ten-play, 54-yard drive for a 41-yard FG
- six-play, 31-yard drive ending in a fumble on 2nd-and-ten
- seven-play, 45-yard end-of-half drive ending in a Hornibrook interception with one second left
- ten-play, 57-yard drive ending in a punt
- two three-and-outs
Both fourth-quarter drives, after UW already had a 30-6 lead, were three-and-outs. The defense added another touchdown on a fumble return. Meanwhile, one could argue their best drive of the day averaged 3.8 yards per play. Even taking out the two garbage-time drives, the Badgers only averaged 5.0 yards per play.
Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
Yes, Wisconsin rotates two fullbacks who are both quite good, which would be the most Wisconsin thing if Harbaugh hadn't come along.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Beef. Wisconsin rarely goes into shotgun or fields more than two receivers unless faced with an obvious passing down. And, again, two-fullback rotation.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? MANBALL, as you probably guessed. Paul Chryst is very much a part of the Barry Alvarez coaching tree; before a three-year stint as Pitt's head coach, he was Wisconsin's offensive coordinator from 2005-2011, and he played QB for UW in the late '80s. While Chryst has largely been an inside zone guy, he called a lot of power in this game for reasons I'll get into later.
Hurry it up or grind it out? A surprisingly quick grind? UW huddles between most snaps and don't ever try to tempo the defense, but they're an above-average 45th in adjusted pace. I'm honestly not sure how to explain that. They're a good deal slower than UCF and Colorado, and despite what David Jones would have you believe, much faster to get plays off than Penn State.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
SPONSOR NOTES: Getting a mortgage with Matt is a matter of collecting your documents, getting them uploaded to the secure server, and then checking out a set of rates while wearing whatever you want, like pants. Or... not pants.
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
FORMATION NOTES: Okay. Breaking things into front and cover look seems to be mostly functional. By "press" I mean that the two outside corners are in press. Usually the slots are still a number of yards off. This was a 4-2-5 package. The front is nickel over—Peppers is playing S and the line slides towards the run strength—and the cover look was press two high:
Goal line package was called 4-4 press zero:
When Michigan went to a dime package they had a couple of different approaches. This is a 3-man front like you'd see in a 3-4 with OLBs flanking it and just one ILB:
I called this front 3-3 split. They also did some wacky stuff, like putting all three DL to one side of the line:
"Heavy slide 3-3-5." Taco Charlton, the nominal nose tackle, will help tackle an outside run to the top of the field.
And as a reminder I'm lumping all fronts with a bunch of dudes at the LOS under "okie":
BTW, "half press" or "off" looks are usually zone so far.
PERSONNEL NOTES: Just 57 defensive snaps and a ton of rotation on the DL. Charlton seems all the way back and in fact took the most of any DL(39); Godin, Glasgow, Hurst, Wormley, and Gary all had around 30. Winovich got 22.
The two ILBs got every snap until the final drive; McCray was lifted a few times when Michigan went to passing down packages. Furbush debuted for the final two drives. Stribling, Hill, Peppers, Thomas, and Lewis were near-omnipresent. Clark got just 15 snaps before his exit; Kinnel got 23.
[After THE JUMP: this is turning into the usual Penn State game.]