Blog: Sideline Whispers

After earning its seventh victory, equaling its mark from the 2008 season, Wisconsin football heads into its final home contest of the season against Michigan. Badger Nation takes you down to the field for whispers from the bench.

The Injury Bug: Again! The injury of the most immediate concern has to be Josh Oglesby's. Josh wasn't looking very happy on the sideline, and though reported as a probable for the Michigan game, this seems doubtful to me. A possible injury to his knee, specifically the patella, is the rumor. The silver lining is that Jake Bscherer played well in the second half against Indiana, mostly going up against the Hoosier's star defensive end Jammie Kirlew.

John Clay left the game the game near the end of the first half as a precaution against concussion. Clay came out of the dressing room after the second half started. His interest in the game certainly picked up as the half went on and it is much easier to believe Bret Bielema when he says Clay will play against Michigan.

This is the broken record part of the blog: Garrett Graham's issues continue. No need to go further into that which we previously blogged.

Stubborn Tendencies: No secret that both Antonio Fenelus and Niles Brinkley each had a poor game against Indiana. It will be interesting to see changes the Badger coaches make. Both were left to their own devices for most of the game, safeties rarely doubled. Additionally Devin Smith didn't see as much playing time as might have been indicated against a team that threw for 323 yards. Michigan is another pass happy team, we'll see if Doeren sticks to his patterns.

The Bulldog: What more can be said about Chris Borland? Probably not much by the media or by fans. But an otherwise laconic set of coaches could be heard to shout "Unbelievable!" and "He's amazing!" and "Everywhere!" as Borland came off the field after his first career interception. As for Borland he made sure to acknowledge O'Brien Schofield, OB had hurried Indiana QB Ben Chappell on the play.

All Quiet: Why don't we hear more about wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander? A late addition to Bret Bielema's staff after the injury to the highly regarded Henry Mason, Alexander has proven a worthy successor. The development of Nick Toon and Isaac Anderson was on display in Bloomington. Even after factoring the rarely called offensive pass interference penalty against Anderson, the skill level could be seen in every play. This group runs tight patterns, blocks like demons and has an instinct for coming back to the ball at the right time. Maybe that isn't all instinct, might be partly coaching.

With Maurice Moore gone from this unit, it will be very interesting to watch the development of Kraig Appleton. Toon was clearly the most improved player between the Champs Bowl and spring practice. If Appleton can make similar strides during the 2009 bowl practices, it will be fun to watch him catch a touchdown pass in the bowl game.

Speaking of Bowl Games: The men in the funny jackets have been at just about every Badger game this season. Were they were scouting snake bitten Indiana? Taking advantages of Bloomington as a travel destination? The range of bowl games represented gives an indication of the usual guessing game. I do hope the Insight Bowl rep enjoyed the hot dogs in the press box, as I suspect the victory certainly eliminated that destination for this Wisconsin team.

The Home Team: Why is there a significant home field advantage in college football? Many little things. Like the placement of play clocks. In most Big Ten stadiums, they are fairly high up. At Indiana they are closer to field level. The one in the north end zone can be especially difficult to locate. Next time, watch the visiting QB's eyes as time runs down during a drive to that end zone. The Indiana QB will be used to it.

Or know how to avoid looking into the sun, especially on cloudless days like last Saturday.

Or knowing ahead of time that Indiana's field has a significant crown to it.

A disturbed routine can account for some of the home field advantage, knowing your way around the place counts for more in my book.

Child's Play: A marketing wiz for the Hoosiers decided to turn an area just beyond the south end zone into a miniature football field for kids. Probably a good idea, but very poor execution. Toy footballs kept flying on to the field, even into the end zone. Wouldn't want to be that marketing wiz if Indiana got a 15-yard penalty or, even worse, if an injury resulted.

Indiana's band and the piped in noise/music continued to play well into the ‘live action' of the play, much longer than is either allowed by the Big Ten or heard at other stadium.

Count Down: Indiana coach Bill Lynch knows math and the rules very well. He was walking onto the field to congratulate the Badgers while others were doing some figuring.

And for the Badger fans wondering why they didn't snap the ball and take a knee on the final play, you might wish to rethink, that would have stopped the clock and given the ball to Indiana on downs!

On to Michigan week!

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