Happy Labor Day everyone! Here are your Badger Bits for Monday, September 6th.
There were plenty of emerging story lines after Wisconsin's 41-21 win over UNLV last Saturday, including a stouter than expected defense, but none more important to the success of the offense than the emergence of the Badger's three-headed rushing attack. Wisconsin gained 278 yards on the ground: John Clay picked up 123 with two touchdowns, Montee Ball gained 79 with another two scores, and true freshman James White ran for 59 yards in his collegiate debut.
Given the success of all three running backs on Saturday night, its not hard to see why senior running back Zach Brown will be redshirted during the season. The triple threat of Clay, a potential Heisman trophy candidate, Ball and White kept UNLV's defense on their toes and allows Clay to share the workload without the team suffering from a loss of production, according to Tom Mulhern of Madison.com. Clay has been working hard to gradually work himself back into game shape after having offseason surgeries on both ankles- he only rushed 17 times during the game. He had also been fighting off an illness during the last couple of days. Clay's limited touches allowed both Ball and White to firmly establish themselves as solid backup tailbacks. Ball and White ran for 16 and 11 caries, respectively.
"White, he's a big curveball because people are used to having to get down and tackle someone who is heavy (Clay) and so much bigger than them," senior left tackle Gabe Carimi said. "All of a sudden you get a little James White in there and poof! You've got a 20-yard sprint. It's awesome."
I am of the opinion that a nickname must be created for the three way rushing attack. Potential names include: Cerberus (after the 3-headed mythological beast), or Ghidorah (after the main antagonist of the Godzilla series). Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments- I'm sure someone out there is more creative than me.
Madison.com was also able to talk to head coach Bret Bielema after the game on Saturday. Bielema gave the media some minor injury notes as well as his take on the road win.
More Badger Bits after the jump!
You can find a detailed game wrap up from UNLV's perspective over at Mountain West Connection. MWC was still able to find a small silver lining in UNLV's loss, and Wisconsin will next face the Rebels when they visit Camp Randall next year.
Chris Borland left the game on Saturday with an aggravated shoulder, but doesn't think that it will cause him to miss any games. He mentions that his shoulder is still working its way back from offseason surgery.
Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has given the Badgers a report card from the season opener. Highlights include the team's defensive performance and the coaching.
Michael Hunt of the Journal-Sentinel thinks that despite the miscues by the offense last Saturday, the team will be able to learn some valuable lessons from the UNLV game.
Andy Baggot of Madison.com is reconsidering his initial take on Wisconsin's position in their newly created division, and thinks that it will provide the team a chance to move from a 'good' football team to a 'great' one.
5 days until the home opener!