Centering the Ball with Derek Engler Part II

Derek Engler goes inside the huddle and tells us how he thinkgs the coaches are viewing this week of practice. He also talks about the improvements needed for special teams and how the Badgers need to watch out for penalties. Read on.

1) John Stocco is still one of the better quarterbacks against a zone defense in the Big Ten.

As I said earlier, if John Stocco continues to play like he has the past two games he will be one of the top if not the best QB in the Big 10. He did not force anything against Michigan and on Saturday against the Hoosiers he picked them apart reading the safeties, knowing he could get over the top on them. It all starts up front and if our offensive line can continue to provide solid protection for # 7 he will continue to play with confidence and look like the veteran QB he is that has led the Badgers to so many victories.

2) Does Paul Hubbard's breakout performance serve as a warning to the rest of the BT that UW's offense is not to be forgotten?

It was good to see our receivers make some big plays after dropping some key balls against the Wolverines. Hubbard proved that he has playmaking ability on Saturday and now he has to carry on that confidence and become consistent with his game. He will see better secondaries down the road.

3) Where does Travis Beckum rate amongst BT tight ends?

Stocco is utilizing our tight ends very effectively and they continue to make plays. Between Crooks and Beckum they caught 7 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns. The thing that impressed me the most about Beckum was his awareness as a young player to get out of bounds twice to stop the clock in the first half to put the Badgers in scoring position. That is a sign of maturity for a young player.

4) Another dominant offensive line performance, albeit against an inferior ball club.

I had said that I would be very surprised if the Badgers offensive line did not come out pissing vinegar ready to punch someone in the mouth. They did exactly that and if they come ready to play like that every Saturday we will have a very successful offense. This was not Michigan's front four but our offensive line proved Indiana's front seven inferiority by not letting a defensive player breathe on # 7 and rushed for over 200 yards. I am sure the scout team defense front seven were watching at home with pride because it was a lot of their hard work that contributed to getting our offensive line prepared for this game.

5) Does the UW defense matchup good with the (not so) run 'n gun style of Northwestern?

I think after playing SDSU and their spread offense it has given our younger defensive players a taste of playing against this type of offense. Under the new coaching staff at Northwestern it appears they have strayed away from a lot of what they have done in the past. It may be that they are just having less success with it. The speed of our LB's allow us to do some things this season against a spread passing attack that we may have not been able to do in the past. The defensive lineman must stay in their lanes and get their hands up on quick three step drops. Our secondary is turning out to be one of the strengths of the team and I do not see why this will change on Saturday.

6) Which of the other offensive lineman besides Thomas has what you feel to be pro technique?

I think they all do. Coach Palcic coached a long time in the NFL and he is not going to change his coaching style or technique just because he moved back to the collegiate level. He is teaching them all the same thing. Individually he may give different lineman or positions different techniques to put in their tool kit because it may suit them better physically or by athletic ability. The University of Wisconsin will continue to be one of the top programs that puts offensive lineman in the NFL.

7) Does the performance on Saturday give the Badgers a shot of adrenaline in the arm for the rest of the season?

I think it was more of taking some frustration out from the Michigan loss. They went into Bloomington with an intense workman-like attitude. They had an aggressive gameplan and they were completely focused on execution. This being said there are definitely some things to improve on from that game. Our return game in special teams must get better. We also had too many penalties, 10 for 93yds, with a costly one coming from Joe Thomas on a holding call negating a touchdown pass. This game is already long gone in the minds of the players and staff with all focus on the Northwestern Wildcats. They have traditionally been a thorn in our side and they are not to be taken lightly. If the Badgers have a week of practice like they did last week look for a similar performance of this past Saturday.


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