Happy Tuesday, Badger fans. Before we get to the Wisconsin links, the situation at Michigan worsened overnight and is worth a mention here. Athletic director Dave Brandon issued a press release just before 1 a.m. ET that attempted to explain how the Wolverines left quarterback Shane Morris in Saturday's game vs. Minnesota even though he was quite clearly concussed after a big hit. The 1 a.m. news dump is PR stank at its worst/finest, intended to sweep bad news under the rug by imagining/hoping fans prefer to wake up to news other than the latest case of student-athlete exploitation.
Alas, that's not the case, of course. Fans were always going to tear into this statement, especially considering Michigan's struggles on the field. SB Nation's Wolverines site, Maize n Brew, is all over the story and put together a rundown of everything wrong with Brandon's release. The gist:
It all adds up to a lot of misdirection and slight of hand in an attempt to hide the truth (similar to the Coke promotion "accident" that conveniently sold out the tickets before being stopped). All of it points to Dave Brandon wanting you to believe the following:
- Nobody on the sidelines saw the play, replay, crowd reaction or Shane reaction to the hit, nor did the referees or any player on the field close enough to speak up.
- A team neurologist did see that Shane was limping and went to examine him (yet he says nothing of the actual examination)
- At least three doctors assigned to Shane Morris did not realize when Morris was called on to the field
What a joke. It's getting more difficult by the day to imagine Hoke keeping his job for long. Same goes for Brandon, as well.
Well, the big thing is they've got to show it in practice," Andersen said. "And consistency in practice leads to opportunities on game day. There's no, ‘Hey, I'm ready. I'm a gamer.' We don't use that word. There's no such thing in this program as, ‘I'm a gamer.'
"So when they deserve to be on the field and in practice, then they'll find themselves out on the field. And, again, the effort is there, the want-to is there, but it's got to consistently show up. And then at that point you're going to see those young men come in in opportune times when the game is highly contested and they'll be allowed to make some plays in that spot."
The teams have been playing one another since 1890, but the past eight installments have been remarkably entertaining.
Each team has won four times and each has prevailed as an unranked underdog over their top-25 neighbor.
The Badgers won one of the meetings by scoring 70 points, but lost not once, but twice, when putting up more than 40.
UW won a game by 47 points only to have lost four times by a combined 17 points.
"I think I'm being a little too hesitant," Clement said. "I know what to do but I'm just being too hesitant. I'm making the wrong reads. I'm becoming too nervous some times.
"I was looking at my numbers and last year I had a great start, but I can't really pay attention to that. I've just got to keep playing.
"Hopefully we can keep getting the wins because I'm not a selfish player."
Through four games, the exchange between Dan Voltz and quarterback Tanner McEvoy has resulted in four fumbles.
Fortunately for Andersen, the opponent has recovered only one.
"I think communication is very much the key to talking it out and figuring that out," Andersen said Monday during his weekly news conference. "There's not a certain way that Dan is going or a certain play where he is really trying to get out of there where it takes place.
"Our want-to to make big plays," Caputo said. "We've got a guy that catches a wheel downfield and is running down and we've got guys chasing him, causing fumbles. Those are things that you can't really coach. You can't really teach those things. That's the good thing about our defense, that we have that edge and that we have that will and want-to."
The Badgers beat South Florida, but it wasn't a cakewalk. They need to find some consistency on offense though or their slow starts might trip them up in Big Ten play. A trip to Northwestern is next.