MADISON WI - OCTOBER 16: John Clay #32 of the Wisconsin Badgers leaps to celebrate a touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes with teammate Nick Toon #1 at Camp Randall Stadium on October 16 2010 in Madison Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
There are two aspects of film that make it so valuable: 1) It never lies and 2) It never dies.
Unless you destroy it, of course, which some coaches might want to do at times.
Luckily, our Monday Film Sessions do not die. They are forever archived and stored on SBNation and that allows us to take a look back at some of the Badgers' strengths and weaknesses that we broke down this year. It may serve as a friendly reminder of what got the Badgers to the Rose Bowl and what they need to continue to work on to make sure they win the Rose Bowl.
Chris Borland as a pass rusher on third down.
As our film breakdown shows, it worked against UNLV.
Unfortunately, Borland suffered a season ending shoulder injury and the package was never the same without him. We still saw it from time to time in obvious third-down passing situations, but for the most part, its effectiveness died out.
Obviously, Lance Kendricks is no exception. He has one game left in a great career and barring an injury, he will definitely be drafted come April. Something tells me he will find the end zone on a similar play in the Rose Bowl.
It was a play that got some discussion as the play of the year. Wisconsin was struggling against Arizona State and its special teams had already allowed a kick return for a touchdown. Wisconsin managed to take a 13-10 lead with just 10 seconds left in the first half. All the Badgers had to do was kick the ball off, possibly make one stop and head to the locker room.
ASU's Kyle Middlebrooks had other ideas. He took the kickoff, found a seem and went streaking down the sideline toward the end zone as time expired. Luckily for UW, Dezmen Southward and Shelton Johnson never gave up on the play. Southward was able to get a hand on Middlebrooks which slowed him down just enough for Johnson to take him down at the 1-yard line.
No touchdown. Halftime.
Who knows how the rest of the game would have played out if Middlebrooks had scored. But considering UW won 20-19 on a Jay Valai blocked extra point, it's safe to say that was a huge play.
In the film breakdown, I wrote: "There's a good chance we'll be looking at this play at the end of the year and reflecting on its importance."
Had UW lost this game, there's no way it would have won the BCS tiebreaker over Ohio State and Michigan State. In fact, the Badgers would likely be behind both teams in the BCS standings. You know what that means... another trip to Orlando for the Capital One Bowl.
From throwing the ball nine times on first down (and only completing one of those passes) to more bad special teams coverage to bad third down defense, we pinpointed it and the Badgers fixed it from that point on.
This was the game where we realized the Badger Package just wasn't the same without Borland. It was also when we realized that as good as freshman James White is, he's not experienced enough to be on the field the whole game... not yet anyway.
There was one positive spin to take from this game though. We found so many things that had to be fixed, yet the Badgers only lost 34-24 and would have had a chance to win the game if the defense could have gotten a stop on MSU's final drive. As bad as that loss felt, there was a lot of evidence to suggest the Badgers were still a really good football team.
He was right, but it was still not perfect, especially when Valai didn't play. The senior battled some injuries this year and missed the entire Minnesota game. This left some holes in UW's Cover 2 scheme. Luckily, it only cost them a meaningless touchdown in a blowout of the Gophers and UW's secondary was pretty sound the rest of the season as Valai played through a calf injury during the final four games.
It left us all wondering, how could Iowa let that happen?
The Iowa film session also revealed Gabe Carimi's "wow moment" that will certainly be on his highlight film that gets sent to NFL scouts. On 4th-and-1 from the 2-yard line, Carimi took another future NFL player -- Adrian Clayborn -- and drove him all the way from the left side to the right side and then threw him on the ground. It opened up a huge hole for John Clay who walked into the end zone.
Against Purdue, we saw a blocking convoy that made it seem like the Badgers were facing a high school defense, and two weeks later against Michigan, James White went untouched for a 61-yard touchdown run on a similar play in which his blockers executed perfectly.
Everyone wants to talk about Wisconsin's offensive line, but it's not just the big men up front who are doing their job. Fullback Bradie Ewing developed an edge during the season that has him making great blocks, while receivers Nick Toon and Issac Anderson also take great pride in blocking. Add in Kendricks and at least three other tight ends who can block and UW's running backs have it easy.
So there's a run through of what we praised and criticized on film throughout the season. You better believe the coaches are doing the same with their players. We saw the special teams coverage slip up again late in the season and that is probably UW's biggest weakness going into the Rose Bowl.