When the Wisconsin coaching staff breaks down tape of the previous season, one item on the agenda is to take a look at every sack the team allowed. They want to determine why each occurred in an effort to prevent a recurrence the following season. That may be doubly important this year, a year when new quarterback John Stocco is sure to face a variety of blitz packages.
"We take all the sacks and we put them on a reel and we break down why," head coach Barry Alvarez said. "Was it a breakdown of the scheme? Was it an individual back? Was it the receivers not recognizing man coverage and getting their head around to receive the ball? Or just the quarterback holding it too long?"
The Badgers have had plenty of sacks to look at in recent seasons: 37 last year, 46 the year before.
"Many times our biggest fault is the quarterback holding on to it too long not recognizing blitz," Alvarez said. "When somebody is blitzing that you can't account for then the ball has to come out. So, we broke it down. The scheme is not the problem. If I would have to say one thing…aside from anything else it is probably the quarterback not releasing the ball fast enough."
In order to prepare Stocco for the onslaught of blitzes he may receive this season, the Badgers are throwing blitz at him in live 11-on-11 situations, every day in practice.
"I tell you this: he's going to see enough blitzes before that first game," Alvarez said. "What you want him to see is things slowly. You want him to see it as though things are moving in slow motion. He feels comfortable with it…We have blitz period every day where our defense blitzes for 10 minutes…I thought he has made improvement as we get it live."
Alvarez said that they only way to get Stocco up to speed on the blitz is through repetitions.
"The best way to teach anything is through repetition," he said. "You have to see it and see it and see it, so that you can recognize it, know where you go with the ball and doing it at game speed helps. You can walk through all you want but it has to be done at game speed. Everything has to process mentally and the ball has to come out quickly."
Badgers preparing Stocco for blitz
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