As a blogger (boy, sadder words have never been written), it's pretty dangerous to write through circumstances like these where your beloved team and alma mater blows it again on a national stage. So in the interest of lending some clarity to the variety of issues striking us all -- why didn't we see more Melvin Gordon? How long of a leash does Tanner McEvoy have? Who's the scapegoat for all this?!?! -- let's run through the first round of late-night reactions, including the post-game quotes from Gary Andersen.
First off, the best and most important news of the night:
Happy to report that senior DL Konrad Zagzebski has been released from the hospital & will travel home with us on the plane. #Badgers— Badger Football (@BadgerFootball) August 31, 2014
Great news for Konrad. That hit was super scary, so I hope he gets the time he needs to recover.
Yards gained by the #Badgers on their last five drives: 5, 8, -2, 23, -2— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) August 31, 2014
I generally have a solid streak of, "Hey, the sky isn't falling" in me, but I can't mess around here -- that freakin' sucks.
Easily the most terse press conference of the Gary Andersen era, I'd say. Video will be posted later on the @journalsentinel site.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) August 31, 2014
I am not in Houston; rather, I'm dusting off yet another beer and embedding these tweets. But I would temper any reactions you have when seeing how Andersen, Gordon and the bunch didn't really have answers in this post-game media session. Nobody does, because this really sucks and I don't believe the people at the forefront of this debacle -- the players and coaches -- have been able to fully process anything.
Yeah Gary Andersen isn't happy. Mentions #Badgers only had one big play on offense and defense wore down.— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 31, 2014
Andersen: Really tough loss. Wore down on defense in the second half. All the credit goes to LSU. They made one more play than us.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 31, 2014
Now here's where it gets interesting (sadistically speaking)...
Gary Andersen said Melvin Gordon wasn't hurt by his knowledge, but had no reason why he only got 2 carries in the second half. #Badgers— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) August 31, 2014
Gary Andersen said Melvin Gordon was fine. Doesn't know why he didn't carry the ball more than two times.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 31, 2014
Gordon: "I was good. Little sore. Obviously you get hit, big hits in the game. That’s what type of game it is. But I’m A-Okay, man."— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 31, 2014
Melvin Gordon said he, "was all good. All good." in the second half. Said he didn't tweak anything. Doesn't know why he didn't get carries— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) August 31, 2014
Melvin Gordon didn't elaborate on any injury questions. Kept saying he was fine and that nothing happened at halftime. Very odd postgame— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) August 31, 2014
To recap: Gordon averaged 8.8 yards per carry and was Wisconsin's best offensive player by far, yet he received just 16 carries and was scarcely seen in the second half. Many people on Twitter during the game thought Gordon must be hurt or nicked up; he wasn't seen limping or anything, but why else wouldn't you pound the rock with Melvin Freaking Gordon? At least he is, in fact, not hurt.
I was quick to jump on Andersen for saying he didn't know how Gordon didn't get more carries, but let's remember what I said above: post-game press conferences are super weird events that happen way before coaches and players ever have the opportunity to just chill. That's why they get weird like this. I'm sure Andersen could've gone nuts on Andy Ludwig and insisted Gordon get the ball on every play until the end of the game, but you don't manage a staff like that, right? Perhaps this should just be our mode of thinking until, like, Wednesday: it's still only Week 1.
Andersen says he never thought about putting Stave in. Said McEvoy was running for his life.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 31, 2014
I really thought that by Wisconsin's last drive or two, McEvoy had zero chance of being an effective quarterback -- especially the one that the Badgers needed to pull out a miraculous comeback. He really was running for his life by the end of the game, so I'll continue to argue that he's not the sole scapegoat for this loss.
Wisconsin's passing game was super weak, and it needed much more than life support by the end of the game. I fully recognize that this isn't a Madden video game, and in real life, quarterbacks need time to settle into a rhythm. Heck, all athletes need that opportunity, especially in huge games like tonight's.
But wouldn't you say that things couldn't get any worse with Joel Stave coming in as a last-ditch effort? Maybe he chucks a deep ball that Reggie Love finds a way to pull down? Then you can give Gordon/Clement the ball and see if they can manage to punch it in, or at least get a first down while not pinned down within their own 20-yard line?
Andersen said he didn't see much separation from WRs.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) August 31, 2014
Warren Herring leaves locker room on crutches and immobilization brace on right knee #Badgers— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) August 31, 2014
Get well soon, Warren. You're a good dude, and this team needs you.