If UW over the last quarter century is known for anything football wise, it's the o-line and the RB's. It's been a steady stream since Brent Moss came to town of one great back after another.
Of course our primary interest is how they perform in Madison. And as exciting as a air it out Texas Tech style offense is, I draw great pleasure from watching our line carve holes for the talented back and their interns on the way to 300 yard games after 300 yard games. A close 4th quarter match is decided by a grind it out 7 minute drive with nary a pass from our normally suspect QB's.
Superlatives have abounded from Ron Dayne and his NCAA yardage record to Ball's TD record to Melvin's short lived single game record to Taylor's 2000 yard outputs per season. We've simply seen the best performances of runners that the college game has ever seen, particularly in the collective sense.
As much as I enjoy our guys in Madison, I always want to see them go on to great success in the NFL. And so I want to talk about the RB's with several disclaimers. I'm not an expert in football. That's why I'm writing a fan post. Not an expert post. Secondly, our RB's still have had decent NFL careers and have made a great amount of money and even have won some Super Bowls. That's exciting stuff, but this isn't the kind of success I'm looking at.
Instead I made a list of the top 10 or all 1000 yard runners in each of the last NFL seasons. Melvin Gordon showed up on the list once. Down at 7th place in 2017. That's it. I didn't go back further because I'm not thinking I'd find any names there. Not that it matters but it begs the question why? Why does Indiana have a back with a name that appears 2 times, Jordan Howard and RBack U only 1? How does Miami show up several times?
Heck as many times as Alabama and Georgia showed up I'd call either of those schools RBU. 3 times in the last 5 years FSU has had an NFL back over 1000 yards. Wisconsin has had 2 in the entire time period, Michael Bennett being the other.
Jordan Taylor is 11th in NFL yardage right now, but is going to need to keep averaging about 65 a game to make it over 1000 in his rookie season.
Melvin Gordon just got arrested. Others have had some legal issues. The battle of the bulge have afflicted some.
Other 'excuses' for relative lack of NFL success may be the Badger O lines have been so far above average defenses in college that good running backs here look great. Another is 4 years of running for 2000 yards a game is punishing on the body, even for a young man at peak NFL conditioning. We have always relied on our backs probably more than most NCAA teams.
In some ways it doesn't matter. We enjoy them for 3-4 years and send them on their way. If smart with their money they're set for life even if they only play a half decade or so. But what is happening to the Badger RB's in the pros? I'd really like to know.