Wisconsin 2010

Wisconsin (2009 Statistics)

  • Head Coach Bret Bielema is in his 5th year.
  • Offensive Line.  Until further notice, look to this group of five guys to be enormous year after year. Currently their OL starters average 6-5 ½, 323 pounds.  This is important because the Offensive Line is responsible for using their size and strength to push the defensive line back.  The better they do this, the more time the Quarterback has to make a play.  And on running plays they use their skills to clear a path for the Running Back—without which he won’t be able to move.
  • In addition to their strength and size, the 2010 Offensive line is very experienced with a combined 100 starts. In order to succeed on offense you need a line that gels and works together flawlessly and somehow they were able to do that last year despite all of the injuries.  They had 6 different starting line-ups in 2009.  Why is that bad?  “It’s like you have a dance partner… how is that guy going to react in certain situations?  It’s one of the reasons why the Offensive Line is one of the closest units on a football team, because they are so interdependent upon each other.”[1] The one positive aspect of  last year’s inconsistency is that 9 of the top 10 are back and in the event a starter goes down, there is plenty of experience to go in and take his spot.  In other words, Wisconsin has great depth on its Offensive Line.
  • Another thing to think of immediately with Wisconsin is the running game—specifically individual rushers. Even when the offense isn’t statistically in the top of the nation running the ball, it produces individual players who are.  Wisconsin has had a player rush for over 1,000 yards in each of the past five seasons (Brian Calhoun ’05, P.J. Hill ’06-’08, John Clay ’09).  Clay returns this year after rushing for 1517 yards and 18 touchdowns last year.
  • This team makes the most of their rushing opportunities.  They averaged a very respectable 4.6 yards per carry in 2009.  The effect of this is that the Running Backs look like they are pushing across through the defense and moving the ball forward.  But, for resume purposes, this statistic is accredited to the Offensive Line.  The higher this number is the better they are doing in blocking their opponents and opening up lanes for those Running Backs to go through.
  • Senior cott Tolzien (toll-ZEEN) is their Quarterback, but regardless of who leads this team, the passing game isn’t their strength. They didn’t put up many passing yards in 2009, but then again they never do (this was their highest average passing yards per game in the last 4 years). The negative on Tolzien is that he has had an Interception issue in the past.  He had 11 last year while throwing just 16 Touchdowns. The positive on Tolzien is that he had a 64.3% completion percentage last year. I don’t know the last time the Badgers had a completion percentage even reach 60%, but I do know that it wasn’t in the past 10 years (as far back as the NCAA website goes).   And the main thing you want a Wisconsin Quarterback to do is manage the game, not turn the ball over (that’s why the TD-INT ratio is so critical here) and to be fairly accurate when he throws.  If Tolzien stops throwing interceptions he can be successful (relative to Wisconsin) this year. “It’s always been the case at Wisconsin,” Tolzien said. “That’s how we win games at Wisconsin: ball control and just moving the chains, and moving the chains really is just efficiency.”

[1] Quote from Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen

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