Sunday, August 31, 2008

Akron Game Notes

A sparkling day in Madison, Wisconsin was filled with drum beats, horn blasts and thousands of smiling faces. Football season had begun and it was still August. Let's delve into the game notes.

It was Hall of Fame day, and one of the days where the UW Marching Band alumni break out their off color instruments and strut up and down Camp Randall Stadium. An absolute swarm. Is their a waiting list? I mean, the looks on the faces of these old-timers, faces 30 years old and 70 years old, exude such joy. 

David Gilreath is the genuine article. In this game he set up his blocks very well on KRs and showed his ability to cut out of the first hole and maintain great speed and balance. He is a natural and fun to watch. He also caught some in-traffic punts, as usual, but as a fan it doesn't make u that nervous. He's got a playground confidence. Now, I don't understand why he played that one bouncing punt into his crotchal pocket before grabbing it with his hands, but it more than likely rolls inside the 5 if he doesn't.

Our QB is 24 years old and he is married. Our last mid-20's married QB took us to the Rose Bowl and won it! The new guy looked solid. He's big and was good in the pocket. His throws were kinda loopy, though. He threw a rainbow in the first quarter that was on target, but was pretty much a 500 ball between Garrett Graham and the two nearest defenders. Graham went up and got it and the play looked pretty good, but the throw lacked resolve. This came back to haunt the Badgers late in the second quarter, when Evridge threw a listless, loopy pass on an out route. The CB gobbled it up like a floating cupcake and almost took it to the house, if not for hustling linemen. A terrible throw at a terrible time. A coachable moment. Evridge is accurate and made mostly good decisions. Need to see improvement in Game 2.

PJ Hill looks like he lost 20 pounds. Someone must have told him that it was embarrassing to be waltzing around with that big granny fanny that he rocked last year. PJ Hill also looked really, really good. He showed great vision and quick feet. He was also really difficult to tackle. Hill ran with great forward lean. On a few plays he would run into the hole and get met 2 yards in by a defender, Hill would engage that defender and take him on a ride for 2 or 3 more yards. This was a very good day for PJ Hill, who looked like an Elite college back on Saturday. 

Zach Brown ran hard, and was very effective on the draw. My section was giddy about Johnny Clay. When 32 came running in from the sidelines we were chattering. "Johnny Clay's coming in!" He lined up in the I, almost mishandled the hand-off , and ran with his head down straight into the muck.  "There he was, Johnny Clay!" Deprecating our own expectations with mock cheers after another 3 yard run,  "Johnny Clay folks!" "3 yards and a pile of Clay!" Needless to say, the debut of the Racine Freight Train was enjoyed by all. Later in the game, Clay showed what made him such a prep standout. When he got loose, he was fast and violent. He held onto the ball and got himself a touchdown on Day 1. Good signs. 

Garret Graham is a stud. Most people know that TravB was preseason All-America. Did you know that GG is ranked #11? He made a great catch on the aforementioned play. I was surprised that we didn't go to him more often, but I think it may have to do with not wanting to tip our hand. We didn't need creative play-action to the tight end, or screen plays on Saturday. We could just outman Akron, so we did. 

Badger fans got more than just Johnny Clay on Saturday, we got Mount Oglesby on the field in the Jumbo package. He is jumbo. He wears #67 and he is 6'7". He can seriously push people around.

The Badgers WRs were just average. Gilreath had the big drop in the end zone and guys were not consistently getting open. Jefferson ran with the ball well after the catch. But today was about the O-line. A dominant performance by them. Crushing the first level, and often moving on to the second level. Akron is not good, but we did not allow penetration on any running plays. Good sign.

I'm not sure how much can be gleaned from our defensive performance. Our young DBs made no major errors, but they weren't making plays either. The first half Akron drives ended mostly because of missed throws to open receivers. That's not good. Especially because only a few missed throws seemed to be caused be D-Line pressure. We took better angles in the secondary and tackled much better that last year. But it needs to be tightened up.


Papa Sal said...

Looked about the same on TV. Everidge needs to throw the ball like he means it. And of that is what our secondary is going to consist of, we are in serious trouble. As you said, most of the drives stalled due to dropped/missed passes, not good D.

Overall, not bad for a first effort. Hopefully PJ will continue to stomp all over people. He even had a few nice cuts.

Mr.Man said...

Let's start a fund drive to send Aaron Henry up to Green Bay to camp out in AJ Hawk's hyperbaric chamber. He needs to heal up fast.

Right now it looks like he won't be ready for Fresno State. And FSU has some pretty darn good receivers. A couple of their guys made some impressive plays against Rutgers yesterday.