GREENDALE – Thoughts and opinions on Menomonie 2017 offensive lineman, and Wisconsin and Alex Fenton, whose Mustangs team’s valiant comeback came up just short in a 45-40 defeat to Greendale in week one of the Wisconsin high school season.
Listed at 6-5 and 282 pounds, there’s no question that Fenton proved he’s versatile. Not only did Fenton play both ways, he worked at both left and right tackle, even switching between positions throughout a series. The senior also did work on the defensive side of the ball, usually lining up at defensive end and occasionally lining up at nose tackle.
Offensively Fenton’s size was a huge edge for him. Like many college-bound offensive linemen in high school, Fenton didn’t go up against many defenders who could match him physically. As a result Fenton pushed aside a number of defenders with relative ease. When he really followed through, he couldn’t be blocked.
On defense Fenton finished around five tackles and was active at times. Although Greendale put up 45 points, the majority of the damage was done through the air, as the ground game didn’t get many big chunk yards. Whether by design or not, Greendale didn’t challenge his side of the field often.
Areas of Improvement
Fenton’s footwork still needs some tweaking, as there were times that his flat-footedness made him susceptible to pressures and blitzes. He appeared to have the toughest time blocking players who were lined up against him on a severe angle, coming at him with some speed or had some pass-rushing moves. Any of those instances caused Fenton to be slow to react and put his quarterback at risk.
Throughout the first half Fenton went on a number of releases toward the linebackers, but there were a handful of times where he didn’t put a hat on anybody.
Like any young lineman, technique, hand placement and finishing plays consistently will be a big key for him as he develops.
When we saw Fenton during one of Wisconsin’s high school summer camps, he looked rough, sluggish and a multi-year project. While he’ll still need some time to develop, it’s evident that Fenton took the coaching given to him by Wisconsin’s Joe Rudolph and has worked on shoring up his game. Fenton got better as the game wore on with his play, especially when it came to his aggressiveness in his blocking.
After not having many run plays called to his side, Fenton unleashed a solid seal block at right tackle that opened up a big running lane that started a 40-yard touchdown. That seemed to energize him, as he was more aggressive with his first punch on offense and was quicker in his pursuit on defense. When he ran across the field and 15 yards down field to chase down a ball carrier, it was evident that he could handle being a pulling guard in college. Although he plays tackles, his game and skill set at this point signal playing on the interior.
He’s still a work in progress, and while he didn’t face any division 1 talent on the defensive side of the ball, it’s evident that the groundwork has been laid for Fenton to be a success lineman at Wisconsin.