Sunday, August 12, 2007

Devastating defense ...

... or a devastated offense?

That's one of the great things about scrimmages: it's freakin' impossible to tell. We have this much to go on:

Reserve cornerback Ben Strickland intercepted one pass and broke up another.

Freshman linebacker Blake Sorensen showed effort and athletic ability to break up a pass near the goal line.

Cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu saved a touchdown with a break-up.

Even reserve defensive tackle Jeff Stehle got in on the action with an interception.

Those were most of the memorable plays from an extended red-zone session during the University of Wisconsin football team's fourth pre-season practice Thursday.

Lots of defense, which is excellent and to be expected, until you realize that:

The offense did not score a touchdown until its 14th play, on a 3-yard completion from Allan Evridge to Travis Beckum.

Tyler Donovan missed his first six passes and was sacked in the No. 1 offense's first seven plays. It included a drop by Hill in the end zone.

Fourteen tries? Holy cow. It's still early, thank goodness, but fourteen tries? Seriously.

Allan Evridge and Dustin Sherer enjoyed the most success of the quarterbacks.

Evridge had the first score, a 3-yard strike to tight end Travis Beckum. He fired arguably the best pass of the day, a 15-yard bullet to Xavier Harris for a touchdown.

Sherer fired a 12-yard touchdown strike to Beckum.

Tyler Donovan should have had a touchdown throw in the first segment, but tailback P.J. Hill was unable to hang on to the ball in the end zone.

P.J.'s hands were one of his assets last year. I'm sure he'll be back in rhythm in short order.

And finally ... well, let's just say that this would be fun as a change of pace:

Donovan and Evridge, both gifted runners, began running the option. "It's just playing to players' strengths," Bielema said, adding that UW's defense would face some option this season.

If they got good, I mean really good at this, wouldn't it be ridiculous to see them come out during a stalemate or even when the Badgers were behind and run the option? Get a big play out of that, move into a no-huddle, go for a quick strike, try a direct snap to Hill or a reverse to Hubbard or a flea flicker ... the mind boggles. Bielema's got a lot of potential to work with here; some creativity on offensive coordinator Paul Chryst's part, and the offense could be just as dangerous as the D.