**First off I would like to apologize to #yall as well as my pal Drew Hamm who is doing a v nice job running this website and this article is like three days late so, I’m sorry.
The Wisconsin Badgers had a heck of a time in Tampa as they drubbed the Bulls 49-0 in somewhat (to me at least) unexpected fashion.
The Badgers overwhelmed the Bulls up front on both sides of the ball and ultimately miscues and mistakes from South Florida allowed this game to get out of hand by the middle of the second quarter; a hole that a team breaking in a new offense wasn’t able to get out of.
I’ve picked a couple of plays from both sides of the ball that stood out to me and that bear some elaboration on.
Jonathan Taylor’s 37 yard touchdown run
The Badgers didn’t take long to pick up where they left off in 2018, as Jonathan Taylor found pay dirt on the first drive of the season.
Two things really stood out to me about this sequence. First, Tyler Biadasz’ cut on the middle linebacker is far from the most devastating block he’ll have this season, but occupying the MIKE just long enough for him to not be able to fit the run correctly allowed Taylor to be able to sneak out through the play-side B-gap.
Secondly, and probably most importantly, was Kendric Pryor’s block. Pryor’s job here is to block the most dangerous defender during the play between the corner and the play-side safety. The cornerback is in man coverage, and because he never crosses Pryor’s face, it allows KP3 to get up to the safety, which really springs this run for the touchdown.
If at any point the corner had played across Pryor’s face, he’d have to take him because he’d become the most dangerous threat to the play. He doesn’t, and it’s 7-0 good guys.
Jack Coan sacked early in 2nd quarter
On their first possession of the second quarter, the Badgers faced a 3rd and 4 just outside of field goal range.
The Badgers are in a six-man pass protection scheme here, where Garrett Groshek flares into the flat but Jake Ferguson stays in to block. (If you want to read a more comprehensive article about six man pass pro schemes, you can here.) This is a half-man, half-slide protection, with the right tackle and guard in 1-on-1 match-ups on the front side and the center to left tackle are all out to the right, along with Ferguson for extra help.
Sometimes the defense makes the right play call for the offensive call, and this is one of those instances. This sack is on Jack Coan, as he has to get the ball out. Both Tyler Beach and Jason Erdmann have defenders cross their face and threaten their inside gaps, so they have to latch on. That allows the free rusher on the outside, and Coan doesn’t account for him quickly enough. Punt.
Scott Nelson plays 4-3 WILL linebacker
Now, admittedly there’s nothing overly special about this play. It’s a tackle for a gain of a yard.
However, Scott Nelson is the starting free safety, and here he lines up as the WILL linebacker on 1st and 10. The Badgers are in their nickel defense on 1st and 10, and instead of running a 4-2 box like they did a lot of on the night, they brought Nelson up, and he made a nice play here.
South Florida is in 20 personnel here, which means that they’ve got six guys to block seven. That’s not gonna work very often, especially when you run right at the unaccounted-for defender. Just thought this was an interesting look from Jim Leonhard.
The next play: Zack Baun strip sack to Matt Henningsen for a TD
This was a huge play and really swung the balance of the game.
Zack Baun is a player that Wisconsin is going to need to be dynamic if their defense is to reach its former status, and it looks like he’s on his way. He made Billy Atterbury’s life hell all night, not an ideal matchup for Atterbury, who started at right guard last season for the Bulls.
While obviously the play itself is huge and impressive, what really impressed me was Baun’s: 1. ability to dip and bend in order to get to Blake Barnett. That’s NFL level athleticism. 2. Watch Baun’s left foot at the top of the rush. His ability to get his foot pointed back towards the quarterback is what lets him flatten to the quarterback. That’s going to make the NFL and Senior Bowl pay attention.
THE WISCONSIN BADGERS IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 2019 RAN A RUN PASS OPTION!!!
Guys, it happened. It finally happened.
All kidding aside, this is a huge addition for the Badgers’ offense. The ability for the quarterback to get the team out of a bad play or get the offense into a more advantageous position post-snap is huge. The Badgers are just running a lead sweep pin & pull concept run here, and the corner fires at the run fake. Jack Coan simply dumps it off to Kendric Pryor for the first down.
These plays do a couple of things.
1. They help keep the offense on schedule and out of 2nd and 3rd and longs.
2. They force the defense to play honest and not over commit to the run at all times.
3. It gets the ball in the hands of the Badgers’ playmakers on the outside more often, which I think everyone agrees is actually #good and not #bad.