Our offensive line went to sleep at halftime and did not wake up until the score read Wolverines 27, Badgers 13 with total net rushing yards . . .12. I feel pretty confident that the University of Wisconsin will not win a game when we have less than 15 rushing yards. We have a great tradition at the UW with winning ball games on the ground. Many offensive lineman before my playing days and after my time at Wisconsin take a lot of pride in that great tradition. The bottom line is that besides the first two rushing plays in their first possession the offensive line got smacked in the mouth. That was what frustrated me because we were able to get after them initially and it should have given our guys some confidence up front.
I was very proud of how John Stocco performed on Saturday. He hung in there despite key dropped balls that would have moved the chains during pivotal moments in the game. Our o-line did not protect him well either giving up four sacks. Whether it was bad communication or just getting physically beat the pocket collapsed all day long. #7 battled and did not give the Michigan D any freebies. He did not panic when the protection broke down or the receivers were covered like flies on a pig farm. He scrambled and either threw the ball away or made some plays for our offense. Michigan has a very good defense but I know we are better than that up front. I am critical on our offensive line because I am still one at heart and I know every offensive lineman to a man will take this loss personally and accept the blame for our failure to move the ball on the ground or protect our quarterback.
The best thing about an offensive lineman is that when their pride is hurt they usually come out fighting like a grizzly bear woken from hibernation in his den. I have the utmost confidence that the offensive line will pick up the intensity in a hard work week of practice and come out pissed off and go hunting for some Hoosiers this Saturday. I would not want to play on the scout team defense this week.
BREAKING IT DOWN DEFENSE! We will win a lot of games this season if our defense keeps putting out performances like the past two weeks. The Badgers D was outstanding. They were put in bad situations from special teams with Michigan having a 19 yard advantage in starting field position. They were kept on the field the entire second half with our offenses inability to move the ball. It is really difficult to keep the intensity up on that side of the ball when the offense opens the second half with six three and outs.
The best defenses are a good offense that keeps the D on the sideline rested and fresh. I was really proud how they stayed focused, forced turnovers and put the Badgers in a position to come out with a victory. Although Allen Langford gave up two big plays to Manningham he also made two huge plays with two picks. Manningham will most likely be a first round pick and will be playing on Sundays and oh by the way this just in, Breaston is pretty good too along with the fact that they have a good veteran offensive line, quarterback and Hart is a solid threat at RB. There were a lot of weapons in the air and on the ground our D had to respect and we made the Wolverines offense earn every yard.
Former Badger offensive lineman/center Derek Engler will be joining us each week for "Centering the Ball" for the remainder of the football season. He will give us a look at the previous week's game from the field. Currently, Engler works for Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor. If you have any questions regarding investments, reach him by email firstname.lastname@example.org . Or reach him by phone (800) 776-7797.