Bielema makes case for Clay, Borland

first_imgWisconsin head coach Bret Bielema gives an inspiring speech to his kick off coverage unit after a Badger touchdown Saturday.[/media-credit]Following a 26-carry day that produced 151 rushing yards and a touchdown against Michigan, Wisconsin football head coach Bret Bielema pointed out the finer points in the maturation of redshirt sophomore running back John Clay.“I really thought John Clay probably would be our premier back,” Bielema said. “I really like what he’s begun to do, preparation-wise. Everyone wants to pay attention to his statistics, (but) he had a couple really nice blitz pick-ups Saturday on some play-action passes.“Sunday … I went to my coaches about All-Big Ten nominees … you know, offensive player of the year — John Clay has just as good [of] a right to say that he has that as anybody.”Clay has 12 touchdowns on the season and 1,124 rushing yards. He’s averaging just over five yards per carry in a strong second-year campaign.Michigan looked vulnerable against the run Saturday, allowing two touchdowns on 229 net rushing yards.“At Wisconsin, we really believe we should be able to run the football,” Bielema said. “It’s one of the keys to our success.”Badgers Facing Former CoachSaturday marks the first time UW faces former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz. Hankwitz served on the Badger coaching staff during the 2006 and 2007 seasons before being let go. He signed with Northwestern in January 2008.“We knew this day was coming,” Bielema said. “It’s something I addressed to the players … it’s definitely something I know is being brought up down there and is up here as well.”Northwestern’s defense has improved since the addition of Hankwitz. They went from allowing 31 points per game in 2007 to just 20.15 last year, ranking fourth in the Big Ten and 27th in the nation.While at Wisconsin, Hankwitz led the Badgers in 2006 to remarkable numbers. Wisconsin ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just above 12 points a game, and fifth in total defensive yards, yielding 253.1.The following year, however, the Badgers saw marked increases in both numbers. Opponents scored 23.2 points and gained 356.6 yards per game.“Whenever you decide to make a change like that, it’s a very difficult situation,” Bielema said. “Business is business and personal is personal. I really felt at the time I needed to make a change … but I’m sure I’m not very popular in the Hankwitz household.”Bielema Praises Bscherer/Oglesby Will Need SurgeryRedshirt junior Jake Bscherer got the start against Michigan Saturday at right tackle, filling in for the still-ailing redshirt sophomore starter Josh Oglesby. Bscherer started the season at left guard but lost his spot when Big Ten play started. He returned to starting when Oglesby went down the week before at Indiana with a left knee injury.Bielema asserted that Bscherer was set to start Saturday because the team doctor advised against playing Oglesby.“If Josh looked really good, (we would have played him),” Bielema said. “But [Bscherer] did enough positive things in a tough match-up and, actually, did the week before when he was called into action. I wasn’t at that point ready to take [Bscherer] out of that role.”Bielema also said that Oglesby will need surgery following the season, on both the left knee he injured at Indiana, and the right that had been nagging him going into that game.“I give [Oglesby] credit,” Bielema said. “He’s a guy who’s going to need surgery at the end of the year … but he’s a guy who’s really sucked it up.”Bscherer and the rest of the offensive line held their own against Michigan, opening up the running game and keeping the opposing front to just two sacks.Chris Borland — Freshman of the Year?Bielema praised freshman starting linebacker Chris Borland for his play this year, naming him as his choice for Big Ten freshman of the year.“Chris Borland, if there is a freshman in the league that has had more of an effect on a team, I would be surprised,” Bielema said. “He’s been a defensive MVP of the league, special teams MVP of the league, he’s one of two or three players in the entire world of college football that has three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, in addition to a blocked punt and a kickoff return. Probably to seal the deal, I should probably let him kick a field goal.“If there’s a freshman in this league that has had more of an effect on a team that’s in the upper half of its division, then I’d be surprised.”Borland led the Badgers with 11 tackles Saturday, with seven solo tackles. He also had half a sack.last_img read more

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No. 4 ranking for Oregon in BCS polls travesty

first_imgDucky and Oregon fans have had plenty of reasons to smile this season, as a high-powered offense once again rules in Eugene.[/media-credit]With a No. 4 BCS ranking, the Oregon Ducks should feel slighted. Winning the past two games by a total of 78 points should not equate to a drop.But that is exactly what has unfolded. After dominating Arizona State on the road last Saturday, the Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) dropped one spot from No. 3 in Week 9. Then, after destroying Colorado Saturday and then-No. 2 Florida falling at the hands of Georgia, Oregon was again discredited, as Notre Dame jumped ahead to the No. 3 spot behind new No. 2 Kansas State and No. 1 Alabama.Both the USA Today Coaches Poll and the AP Top 25 put the Ducks where they belong – at the second spot – most likely because they have actually watched this team pick apart every opponent.But a soft schedule plagues the team, as Oregon has played just a single currently ranked team, No. 22 Arizona. This is why the Ducks are fifth in the computer-generated ranking that accounts for one-third of the BCS ranking.The problem is there is nothing more Oregon could do to increase its appeal.The offense, led by freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, has scored at least 42 points in each of its first eight games. Sophomore De’Anthony Thomas has rushed for seven touchdowns, tallying three more receiving. Averaging 53.4 points per game should be enough for a higher spot than fourth, right?Perhaps what makes this offense the most impressive is its ability to get things done early, and there is no better example than what happened Saturday in Eugene, Ore. The Ducks outscored the Buffaloes 56-0 — in just the first half. Yes, you read that right, 56 points in two quarters. Colorado is by no means a serious competitor against Oregon, but four touchdowns in each quarter puts a whole new meaning to the word offense.The Ducks’ defensive play makes these early scores look that much better. While the defensive unit is not on the same level as the powerhouse offense, scoring at least 40 points every game means it’s OK to give up a few touchdowns. The team is 24th in the nation in points allowed, averaging 19.4. If you look at each win, Oregon has never truly faced a serious challenge yet this season. The closest game for the Ducks was back in Week 2, when they won by 17 points. The other seven games have been victories of at least 20 points.And against the tougher competition, Oregon looked even better. The Ducks completely shut out Arizona, and against the other then-ranked team, No. 23 Washington, they gave up just three touchdowns after taking a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, going on to win 52-21.However, the marshmallow-like schedule is about to change, and quickly. Heading into Week 10, the Ducks will travel to southern California to play No. 17 USC. And after a trip to Memorial Coliseum, Oregon will take on two more ranked teams in the month of November.It’s a rare situation for a team to want success for conference opponents, but for Oregon that ironically is exactly what they need. Remaining ranked opponents USC, No. 14 Stanford and No. 11 Oregon State will be doing the Ducks a service by winning, as the higher these teams are ranked, the more impressive it will look when Oregon plays, and likely defeats, each of them.Another advantage for the Ducks heading into November is the unimpressive lot Kansas State and Notre Dame will play. The Fighting Irish have a single opponent remaining that is above .500, and it happens to be USC. Not only will this be the team’s 12th game, it will provide a common opponent to the Ducks.Kansas State has two opponents, Oklahoma State and Texas, remaining on its regular season docket, but both are barely clinging onto their spots as the No. 24 and No. 23 ranked teams, respectively. While this means the Wildcats will likely go 12-0, the competition Oregon faces in November should bump it ahead if the team remains successful.It should also not be overlooked that Oregon, unlike Kansas State and Notre Dame, will play in a conference championship game, and if the Ducks win, it will be another quality opponent to add to Ducky’s long list of victims.So for now, the Ducks should feel a bit snubbed, but the prospect of success down the road in this last stretch should not cause the computer rankings any doubts that Oregon is the real No. 2 team in the nation.Caroline is a junior majoring in journalism and political science. What do you think about the current BCS rankings? Let her know by emailing csage@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

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Women’s soccer: Frustrations abound during Badgers opening weekend at home

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin women’s soccer (1-1-2) team battled the Drake Bulldogs (2-0-1) to a 0-0 draw Sunday afternoon at the McClimon Track/Soccer Complex.UW-Madison looked for its second win of the season following a loss at Notre Dame and tie to UW-Milwaukee. But the efforts of Drake goalkeeper Haley Morris and her five saves squashed any hope of victory.The match opened, seemingly one-sided, in favor of the Badgers, yet they were unable to take advantage of numerous opportunities. Throughout the first half, Wisconsin created numerous chances, including nine shots (three on-goal), and spent most of it in Drake’s half, while dominating possession.Wisconsin’s best scoring chance came in minute 19 when midfielder Rose Lavelle followed up a blocked with one of her own that Morris saved. It would not be the only time Lavelle called Morris to action, as the senior tallied eight shots total, three on goal.By turning away Wisconsin’s barrage time and again, Morris increased her scoreless streak to 155 minutes this season.Women’s soccer: Lavelle and Co. welcome Drake in historic first meetingThree games into this 2016 season, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team sits at 1-1-1 with its only win coming against Illinois Read…With so much action taking place at the other end, the Badgers defense had a relatively calm first half and faced just two shots, each of which lacked menace. The more dangerous one was in minute 43 when Wisconsin goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem hauled in a lazy header from Drake midfielder Brooke Salisbury.After the break, UW-Madison did not lose a step offensively and continued to create more chances, but were again unable to capitalize. In minute 56, the Badgers had yet another close call when midfielder Alexis Tye’s shot was brushed over the bar by a diving, finger-tip save from Morris.Despite turning the Badgers away, Drake barely controlled the ball in the the second half and never produced an offensive threat. UW-Madison head coach Paula Wilkins credited her team’s ability to defend against the counter-attack as a major contributor of possession.“[Drake] didn’t get as many numbers forward,” Wilkins said. “They were looking to counterattack us, so we were able to win the first ball coming out and control it that way.”The game would continue into overtime, but with it continuing in the same fashion and neither side finding the back of the net, it continued to be a frustrating affair for the Badgers, who outshot the Bulldogs 24 to 6.“We need to find a way to win,” Wilkins said. “If we get this many opportunities, we’ve got to find a way to do that. I think we have to go back to the drawing board and look at personnel and see what other people can add to our team.”Overtime was not without its excitement though. In minute 98, UW-Madison received a penalty kick, Lavelle poised to take it. Her shot hit the left post, but rebounded back to her where she netted the ensuing volley. Were it not for an offsides call on the play, game would’ve ended on the spot.Freshman Dani Rhodes, who recorded three shots (one on goal), aired her frustrations afterward.“It’s hard to have two overtime games back to back on the weekend,” Rhodes said. “At the end of the day, we have to execute on certain plays. We definitely should have won that game.”With the draw, the Badgers will now travel to California for a tough road trip where they will face No. 3 Stanford University and No. 13 Santa Clara University.last_img read more

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