AtW returns to the interwebs with a give-and-take from our buddies over at Madtown Badgers. Go check ‘em out.
The Buckeye Battle Cry: Let’s start with your running game; James White and Melvin Gordon are joined by freshman Corey Clement. These lads are averaging 8 yards per carry. How do they do it?
Madtown Badgers: They do it by being really good, that’s how.
No, seriously, they’ve done it by having confidence in the offensive line, which has been producing huge holes and by hitting long gainers all. Each of Gordon, White and Clement have had over a 50 yard touchdown run this season.
The other part of it is that all three backs do something a bit different. James White is more of the between the tackles type, while Gordon can do that and burn you off the edge and Corey Clement can do both of those as well as be a bit more powerful than the rest of the group.
That’s the dangerous part to this offense, just when you think you know what is coming at you in the run game it switches up and most defenses can’t adjust fast enough.
tBBC: Ohio State has not seen a power-run team thus far in 2013. What things do they need to be aware of if they hope to be successful against the Badgers?
MTB: If the Buckeyes want to be successful against the Badgers run game it all starts up front. If they can stuff the middle of the Badgers offensive line the UW run game becomes a bit more one-dimensional.
The problem is that as easy as that seems it hasn’t been that easy for opponents to do as the numbers (8.0 average) suggest. The key guys to watch in this one are Center Dan Voltz (could be making 1st career start) and LG Ryan Groy. Groy has become a focal point in the run game and his athletic ability has given opposing D-Line’s issues all season long.
tBBC: Given that they’ve played a relatively “friendly” schedule thus far, do you get a sense that Wisconsin is fully prepared for conference play?
MTB: You’re going to talk to us about “friendly” schedules? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA……
OK, now that that is out of the way, we haven’t played a great schedule, but at least we took on an opponent worth something in Arizona State. Sure, the result didn’t go the way the rule book said it should, but the response to that loss was impressive and that’s what you like to see.
Wisconsin is more than ready for conference play mainly because they have seen quite a few styles of play on both sides of the ball and have been better off for it. Playing an actual Big Ten game already (even if it was against Purdue) is also an advantage.
tBBC: The Badger defense has had some eye-popping stats so far this season, starting with two shutouts. The run defense is incredibly tough so far this year. How good is this defense? Who are the playmakers for the Badgers?
MTB: You are right, there have been some eye-popping numbers put up by this defense so far this season, but you left out the most eye-popping of them all….. ZERO passing touchdowns allowed.
I don’t care who you are playing against, not allowing a touchdown through the air in four games is ridiculous. Even more so when one of those games happened to be against a pass-happy Arizona State squad.
What has helped change this defense is just how aggressive it is in the 3-4 scheme they use and how little it has mattered who has been in there. The depth of this group along with the experience of the front seven has really made this defense one of the best we’ve seen at Wisconsin.
No doubt Ohio State will test this defense, but so far it has passed just about everyone of them. Chris Borland has been his usual awesome self, but there have been some unsung heroes including LB’s Ethan Armstrong and Connor O’Neill as well as safety Dez Southward.
Freshman corner Sojourn Shelton has brought the level of confidence this DB unit needs and has two interceptions already this year.
tBBC: The Buckeyes are leading the nation in first quarter scoring. What adjustments needs made to your defense to slow and possibly stop them?
MTB: I don’t think they need to do anything they haven’t already been doing because it has worked very well. The best way to attack an aggressive offense is to be aggressive against that scheme and attack it downhill. That’s what the Badgers new defense has done best and getting offenses into 3rd and long situations has been their specialty.
No doubt, it will be difficult to do that against an offense like Ohio State, but realistically getting away from what you’ve done and your identity on defense won’t result in good things, especially since things have worked so well so far.
tBBC: I understand that you have a new coach, this year, karma be damned. How are the Badger supporters taking to Garry Andersen?
MTB: Gary Andersen has been a breath of fresh air and the biggest part has been not the fan reaction, but how quickly and totally the players have bought into the system. It’s one thing if Freshman and Sophomores buy in, but to have a senior like Ethan Hemer say things like “I’d walk through a brick wall for you any day,” says a ton about just how much this team loves their head coach.
GA is no Bert to say the least. It’s like he was meant to be at Wisconsin.
tBBC: What’s the one thing Wisconsin has to do in order to win this game?
MTB: That is an easy one… Make Ohio State pay for putting eight or nine in the box on defense. We all know at some point in time it will happen and when it does Joel Stave needs to hit open receivers to make the OSU defense back off the run. If they don’t respect the pass game Wisconsin could be screwed.
tBBC: Higher on “the list”- PAC12 officials or Jen Bielema?
MTB: Depends on what you mean? Honestly the hate level will be the Pac-12 officials because they were utterly incompetent. In fact, I dare say Ed Hightower incompetent.
As for Jen, her little #Karma dig was one, stupid as all hell…. Your hubby was the one that left, he didn’t get kicked out at Wisconsin…. and two, helpful to the Badgers.
Helpful, in the form of recruiting. Wisconsin has about four or five players that also have Arkansas on their list and to say they weren’t impressed by that little stunt is an understatement. In fact quite a few have crossed the school of their lists because of it. So Thank You Jen and your stupidity.
#Karma came your way last weekend.
tBBC: Do you guys miss Bielema at all?
tBBC: Now do you see what we meant about Bert?
MTB: You mean this: (see picture) Have you seen one of those lately?
Thanks again gentlemen! We’ll see you on the field.
But, before that, I’ve got just one question for you.