You have to focus on the positive things and learn from the mistakes in the game and go forward. I read a quote from Joe Thomas in the State Journal about having a lot of inexperienced young guys playing in their really first big game on the road. What our defense and our first half offense did against a great Michigan defense was very positive. There are a lot of positive things they can take from this game and gain confidence going to Indiana to come out victorious with the Badgers, and gaining the first true road victory this season.
People always talk about special teams making the difference. Zack Hampton had a rough day - what does he need to do to bounce back?
As I wrote yesterday, I felt special teams needed to be consistent and we were not on Saturday. There were too many mental errors and that can blamed on inexperience or just lack of mental focus. I think Zack Hampton is a very tough and mentally strong player and will have no problem bouncing back from his performance on Saturday. It was not just him that had a rough day out there on this unit. Remember that special teams, like the offensive and defensive units, are never about one individual. It is eleven players that need to act as one in order to be successful. This is the beauty of the game of football. There is not another sport that places so much importance on the value of teamwork and cohesion as a unit.
The secondary seemed to give up the deep route more than usual. Of course they had not seen many deep routes all season.
Allen Langford got beat by a very good receiver twice on a double move both times. What can you say, they recruit good players over at the Big House, too. Langford also made two great plays with two interceptions, one being a great over the shoulder catch in the back of the end zone when the game was tied at 10. It was good experience for Allen playing against quality receivers like Manningham and Breaston and I am sure he will learn from the film and get better because of it.
A tough loss - but, the schedule, on paper, is pretty friendly in the next three weeks. How will the Badgers fare?
I am going to take the players response on this question. You truly cannot get caught up looking too far ahead at the schedule. Such is life, focus on the task at hand and you will put yourself in the best opportunity to achieve success. There are no gimmes in the Big 10. The Badgers will have to put out their best effort in every game to come out on top in the end.
If you had to predict the rest of the year right now, how do you see the team ending up?
I like to think that Badgers have a chance every game that is on the remainder of their schedule. I will be the eternal optimist and go on the record that the Badgers will be 11-1 potentially heading to a BCS bowl.
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.