MADISON, Wis. – Sometimes after a tough stretch, it’s best for a football team to go back to the basics and make sure they are covered first. After two tough road losses to Michigan State and Ohio State, that’s what the Badgers’ offensive line is focusing on.
In his weekly press conference, Bret Bielema said the offensive line was losing the battle in the trenches, and it was apparent after Tuesday’s practice that sophomore guard Travis Frederick agreed with him.
"I think that they did a few things that they hadn’t shown on film," Frederick said. "I don’t want to say that they were playing harder, but it was different during the game than it showed on film."
Frederick attributed that surprise to the Buckeye’s bye week, which gave Ohio State a whole week to work on preparing for the Badgers without giving them any tape to study.
"You can tell that in their bye week there was a lot of talk about playing us. So things were a little bit different," Frederick said.
Frederick spoke plainly about how the offensive line played, but he thinks the mistakes from Saturday were technical, and easier to fix than if they were making mental errors.
"We did not play well on the offensive line, no bones about it," Frederick said. "Assignment-wise, we did ok, but just technique things. We weren’t getting our second step in the ground, or we were tripping, guys were on the ground, so it was just a lot of little things. We went over it on film on Sunday, and we saw how that kinda adds up. The focus this week is going back to technique."
Center Peter Konz thinks the time is now for the line and the team to take another look at what the practiced in fall camp, so they can fix technical mistakes for the stretch run. Konz also mentioned that they can’t look too far ahead and think about the situation in the rest of the Big Ten, because if they don’t take care of their own business now they won’t have a future to worry about.
"Now you’re just focused on every game because every game is important," Konz said. "Now we have to get back to the basics, get back to focusing on this week, because there really is no future. It’s just what we have ahead of us."
News and Notes
-- Frederick spoke a little bit about how the Badgers’ mentality changes when they move into the redzone. The Badgers have gotten a touchdown in 34 of their 40 trips to the redzone this year, good enough for to lead the nation in touchdown percentage.
"That’s something that we really focus on," Frederick said. "We say ‘That’s where we make our money,’ because … if you don’t take advantage of a redzone opportunity, then you’re just wasting opportunities."
The Badgers have been more efficient if you add in field goals, but the offense is coached to not settle for three points.
"When you’re that close to the endzone, you have to put it in," Frederick said. "And field goals aren’t acceptable, and that’s the way we’re coached."
Just don’t tell Philip Welch that.
-- Montee Ball stressed how important it is for the Badgers to start fast, so they wouldn’t have to play with such urgency in the fourth quarter. The Badgers are averaging 11.6 points in the first quarter, with the highest amount coming against UNLV, when the Badgers scored 20 points.
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