Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Wisconsin's offensive coordinator begins to find his groove.
I think we are all still in shock from the fiasco that was the Packers-Seahawks game last night, so it's difficult to think about anything else sports-related at this point. But the Badgers are 3-1 and heading into a major showdown with Nebraska on Saturday evening.
Before we begin breaking down the X's and O's of the matchup with the Huskers, I want to credit offensive coordinator Matt Canada -- who had been highly criticized up to the UTEP game -- for his playcalling and involvement of Melvin Gordon and James White in Saturday's game.
The "vanilla," unimaginative, playcalling from the first three games played a part in the Badgers' lack of running success. Sure, the struggles of the offensive line and Danny O'Brien did not help, but the offense -- particularly on the ground -- was extremely predictable.
In the UTEP game, Canada utilized a nice mix of motions, shifts and misdirections, forcing UTEP to play much more disciplined on defense. When Montee Ball left the game with a head injury in the second quarter, Canada integrated Gordon and White very well in the running game. He often used both backs in the backfield, making the offense much less predicable and, consequently, more successful on its way to 213 total rushing yards.
Canada and the rest of the Wisconsin football team still need to make great strides in the coming weeks if they want to be taken seriously in conference play. However, it is promising that the offense is finally finding success on the ground, which helped open up the passing game for new quarterback Joel Stave. I thought Canada made great adjustments for the UTEP game, but he'll have to bring out all the stops for the Badgers to have success at Lincoln.
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It's not just the offensive lineman, as the tight ends also improved their blocking against UTEP.
Despite suffering a concussion on Saturday, Montee Ball is hopeful he'll be ready to go against Nebraska.
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