Wisconsin Football: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Through 4 Games
Wisconsin's cupcakes may have given the team some indigestion, but the Badgers' non-conference schedule revealed some signs of hope.
Above all, the team is 3-1 after falling to an Oregon State team that may have not been as bad as originally thought. Its wins, though, still leave much to be desired.
Now, Nebraska waits in the wings for redemption after the Badgers ruined their Big Ten welcome party. By all accounts, most people, including the handicappers, are not giving Bret Bielema and his team much of a chance in Lincoln.
Just like the Cornhuskers, though, Wisconsin is not perfect, nor is it as bad as the media leads fans to believe.
The Good: Defensive Tackles
As the offense sputters, the Wisconsin Badger defense is giving opposing offenses fits, especially running backs.
To date, Wisconsin ranks as the 13th best rushing defense in the country, allowing a paltry 80.75 yards per game on the ground with only one rushing touchdown allowed so far this year. That effort is anchored by junior defensive tackle Beau Allen who has often attracted double coverage, yet still causes chaos in opposing backfields.
The rest of the line has seemingly taken Allen's cue and are showing a gear last year's squad was lacking.
Admittedly, though, the team is not racking up the sacks or the interceptions like previous teams. Unfortunately, the start of conference play may not pad those stats, but it should not stop the defensive tackles from attacking the line of scrimmage.
The Bad: Wide Recievers
There is Jared Abbrederis, and then there is a depth chart fall off of epic proportions.
While the offensive line play definitely contributed to the anemic performance in the first few weeks, the wide receivers did not help. Coverage sacks plagued quarterback Danny O'Brien as no players behind the veteran Abbrederis seemed to gain separation, and it shows.
In fact, Abbrederis' 257 receiving yards are almost three times as much as tight end Jacob Pedersen's 95, who is second in the team in the category.
By contrast, Nebraska has three receivers with triple digit reception yards. Joel Stave is going to need a breakout effort from his corps of pass catchers if the team will have any luck this Saturday.
The Ugly: The Coaching
Bret Bielema's new coaching staff's transition was rougher than most expected.
The team looked disjointed and confused in its early forays into the field. Short yardage situations and quarterback sneaks felt more complicated than quantum physics. A difference in offensive line philosophies led to an unexpected pink slip and a touted transfer quarterback looked more like Allan Evridge than Russell Wilson.
Through it all, though, the staff may finally be getting a makeover and might even get asked to the big dance.
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