Overall, I think it was a decent start to the year. The OL had its challenges, and I wasn’t thrilled with the running game, but it’s hard not to be excited about Mertz and the possibilities going forward.
The Badgers have decent weapons on offense. Davis and Pryor and Ferguson are all experienced guys that can make plays. Stokke is intriguing because he’s not really a FB and he’s not really a TE but like Groshek he’s a versatile guy and he seems to have a knack of getting open and running after the catch. The running game is a real question mark. Groshek is solid but teams aren’t going to fear him. Watson just doesn’t seem to have good instincts or vision and for guy that’s almost 230 he doesn’t run with a lot of power. He reminds me of a less talented PJ Hill. Guerendo is supposed to be their home run hitter but he was awful. Not sure if Jalen Berger is ready to play but he’s a playmaker and has breakaway speed. Not the most physical guy but neither was Anthony Davis or Brian Calhoun.
Defensively, they did some good things and if the big guys up front can stay healthy that’s an elite run defense. On the back end, they looked the part breaking up passes and keeping things in front of them. If there’s a concern I’m not sure the LB group is as talented as years past and the middle of the field could be exposed in the passing game but teams will not run on this group.
Great to see college football in Madison but man it just seems odd with no fans in the stands. On a normal game day (at night) Camp Randall would be electric. The Badgers have a distinct HFA and they rarely lose at home. Will be interesting to see how things go.
We'll see where the RB position goes from here. Taylor had great vision in the hole to turn plays blocked that go for 2 yards with an average back into 5-6 yard gains. He also had the speed and shiftiness to turn plays that he got to the second level without being touched into long TD runs. Groshek has the first part (turning 2 yard runs in traffic into 5-6 yard runs) but isn't going to take things to the house that often. But maybe if you get a lot more chunk plays in the passing game with Mertz, Groshek is good enough to get you by. He's also one of the best RBs they've had in a while in terms of a feel for being in the right place on checkdowns in the passing game.
Two unusual things I saw last night from Badger football- stellar play at the QB position and relatively mediocre play at the RB position. Groshek was the best back but Bucky really needs more juice in the running game than he provides. Suspect Berger will get his opportunity sooner rather than later.
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