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Stock up, stock down from 1st half of Badgers vs. Georgia Southern

Who’s stood out, both good and bad, so far in the first half of Wisconsin’s Week 3 game?

The Wisconsin Badgers came into the season with significant hype, starting off with a comfortable 38-17 win over the Buffalo Bulls in Week 1.

After a disappointing 31-22 loss in Week 2 to the Washington State Cougars, the Badgers have significantly underwhelmed in Week 3, going into halftime tied 7-7.

Whose stock is up and down through 30 minutes of action between the Badgers and the Eagles?

Stock Up

S Hunter Wohler

Being my lone “stock up” player through the first half, Badgers safety Hunter Wohler has continued the strong start to his season in Week 3.

Wohler has seven tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, and one interception in the first half, consistently wrapping up and flying to the ball when working in space.

Wohler’s instincts continue to shine, and his trigger is quick, allowing him to make plays ahead of the chains for the defense.

Wohler had two huge first-half plays, getting quick to the ball on an early tackle to force a 3rd & 1, although Georgia Southern converted on a deep slot fade.

Then, with the Eagles deep in Badgers territory, Wohler made a big tackle on quarterback Davis Brin, potentially saving a touchdown, as Jason Maitre was beaten on a crosser going the quarterback’s way as he rolled out of the pocket.

Stock Down

DC Mike Tressel

Through one half, Mike Tressel has been flat-out out-coached by Eagles head coach Clay Helton and offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis.

I’ve been very impressed by Helton, specifically with his usage of motion, as it has clearly slowed the game down for quarterback Davis Brin.

The Badgers have been predictable with some of their coverages, and Helton’s usage of motion has dictated man or zone coverage, allowing Brin to quickly get rid of the ball to the correct target.

Additionally, the Eagles have moved the ball with ease on several drives, as Tressel has deployed softer coverages, even when lined up in man-to-man, which makes those quick reads much easier for Brin to deliver and get yardage.

Tressel has dialed up a few blitzes, but needs to be more aggressive with his coverages, otherwise, the quick-game and up-tempo offense will be too much for the Badgers defense, as seen thus far.

Currently, the Badgers are lucky to be in this game, forcing three turnovers, which have stalled promising drives for Georgia Southern. Apart from that, their defense has been outmatched, and it starts at the top with Tressel being outcoached by Clay Helton and Bryan Ellis.

QB Tanner Mordecai

Tanner Mordecai saw the majority of the offensive load to begin, throwing for 100 yards on 10/18 passing, while rushing for 17 yards and a touchdown on four attempts.

In the air, Mordecai has just missed on a few throws, which was the case in Week 2 with some of his accuracies, and has been antsy at times in the pocket, getting off reads too quickly, with the timing being a work-in-progress.

Now, Mordecai has seen a really good drive, Wisconsin’s lone scoring drive, where he maneuvered the up-tempo offense well and got the ball out to his receivers, but the offense has been flustered on every other drives, especially on third downs, where the Badgers are 1/7.

It’s definitely not all on Mordecai, as the run game has struggled to take off, while the offensive playcalling has been questionable and the snaps have been delayed at times, messing up the timing.

But, it hasn't been the most accurate performance for the Badgers, who was hoping to build off his Week 2 performance, quarterback in the first half, and the offense has fully stalled, especially in attempting to move the chains.

OC Phil Longo

Phil Longo started the game off with questionable playcalling, going the casual run-run-pass, which led to an early three-and-out.

Overall, Longo’s offense has been stagnant through 30 minutes, as the Badgers have significantly struggled to move the chains.

But, it’s been a pass-dominant day for the Badgers, and a lack of early usage for Braelon Allen, who could've helped set the tone physically, potentially providing Wisconsin with some much-needed early momentum.

Instead, Allen didn't see much early action, and he may be injured, but I’m not the biggest fan of getting the running back out in space for touches in the passing game, as it has struggled to work through three weeks, with there not being a single catch over 10 yards thus far.

Allen has also struggled in pass protection, which takes away from some of what the Badgers want to do, but it’s been a questionable balance offensively, and too predictable with the run-run-pass philosophy when Wisconsin does go to the run game.

One main positive: I do like what Longo is doing with incorporating some of the quarterback runs, which should help continue opening up the offense as the season goes on.

Run Defense

Now, this hasn't been a major topic in Week 3, as the Eagles have only run the ball ten times for 45 yards.

But, in regards to the run defense, I’m specifically talking about runs up the middle, which have been an issue for the Badgers.

Wisconsin was already inconsistent at times with their run defense on the edges, but the middle had been a strength in the past.

While the Badgers have gotten some much-needed pressure from that area, Wisconsin hasn't looked great with runs over the middle, as some explosives have been generated there.

Wisconsin will need to find a better solution there, especially with conference play coming soon, but first starting in the second half.

CB Jason Maitre

Jason Maitre has been heavily targeted early, and the results have been up and down.

Maitre was burned on a slot fade early for a major completion, while being called for pass interference on the same type of play later in the game.

The cornerback did bounce back with a pass breakup, but it was a struggle early that led to big-time offensive momentum.

Later on, Maitre was also beaten on a crosser deep in Badgers territory that could've resulted in a touchdown, but Hunter Wohler saved the play with a huge tackle on quarterback Davis Brin.

The constant chunk plays for opposing offenses can’t occur, and the coverage lapses have been constant for the Badgers.