Badgers headed back to square 1

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoAfter a 38-16 beatdown courtesy of the Iowa Hawkeyes, many questions floated through Badger football fans’ heads. Two of the more prominent concerns were of the inconsistent quarterback play, despite a change in the starter, and the surprisingly poor fundamental play of the team in all aspects of the game.“All phases of the game need to be better in their details, their physical nature and their finish for us,” Bielema said.On several occasions Saturday, Wisconsin struggled tackling Hawkeye running back Shonn Greene. The UW special teams unit also had its lapses as Iowa was able to block a Brad Nortman punt in the third quarter.This poor fundamental play is becoming a cancer on this Badgers squad, and Bielema has taken a “back to the basics” approach in trying to rectify the problems.“Defensively, we have to line up and be defensively sound,” Bielema said. “In the secondary, we have to be much better tacklers. Offensively, we have to understand the design and concept of the play, and everyone has to execute their assignment.”The other concern after the loss, a much more familiar issue, was the play at the quarterback position. Junior quarterback Dustin Sherer, who took over for senior Allan Evridge, completed 17-of-34 passes on Saturday for 161 yards but also threw two interceptions. He was taken out in the fourth quarter in favor of sophomore Scott Tolzien. Tolzien completed 4-of-7 passes for 90 yards and one interception.“Dustin didn’t play a clean game and didn’t by any means set the world on fire,” Bielema said. “There were, however, some things that I liked about his play. He showed the ability to stay alive, scramble, and make some things happen. Obviously, accuracy was an issue on a couple of throws, but he really brought energy to the table.”Iowa game MVPsDespite the outcome of the game, Bielema did find some positives in the way some of his players performed.Senior offensive lineman Eric Vandenhuevel, who opened up many of the rushing lanes available to the Badger running backs, was named offensive player of the game.“[Eric] probably played one of his best games here at Wisconsin,” Bielema said.Senior defensive lineman Jason Chapman was named defensive player of the week after recording four tackles.“Jason Chapman played really well,” Bielema said. “I thought he had been on a comeback trail since his knee injury last season. He played especially well in the second half of the game.”Senior fullback Bill Rentmeester and freshman kicker Philip Welch, who kicked three field goals, were named co-MVPs on special teams.Injury UpdateThough the loss hurts, the injuries that the Badgers sustained may sting even more. Wisconsin lost leading rusher P.J. Hill to an ankle injury in the second quarter, and he did not return.“It’s a situation where we’ve done everything we can with it,” Bielema explained. “We’ve taken X-rays and padded it up, but if it gets hit in just the right way, there’s nothing we can do. P.J. is going to have to determine what kind of tolerance he has for it. I don’t know where P.J. will be at by game day [Saturday].”The Badgers also sustained a few other injuries, none of which were very serious.“[Sophomore linebacker] Blake Sorensen tried to go a little bit on Saturday, but he wasn’t full strength so we took him out,” Bielema said. “[Senior offensive lineman] Kraig Urbik and [sophomore offensive lineman] Gabe Carimi are continuing to make strides. I thought we might get one of them back this week, but we had some setbacks towards the end of the week. [Freshman running back] John Clay is fine and good to go, and [freshman cornerback] Mario Goins, who was slightly concussed during the game, should be back and ready to go.”last_img

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