What does the “N” on the side of Nebraska’s helmet stand for? Knowle–err, never mind. I did, you know, promise myself I wouldn’t make any Husker jokes this week. But man, it’s been tough…
Anyways, all sad attempts at humor aside, let’s jump right into it. Yesterday we discussed how important it will be for the Badgers to contain Taylor Martinez. For today’s Big Thing we turn our focus back over to Wisconsin’s offense.
The Big Uglies: Wisconsin’s Offensive Line
Russell Wilson gets all the media attention. James White slashes defenses and Montee Ball is a scoring juggernaut. And nobody gets a stadium to scream in unison like Nick Toon. But what these play-makers have in common is that all of their success starts in the trenches with the offensive line.
Week One of the NFL saw three of last year’s Wisconsin offensive lineman start for professional teams. A pretty amazing stat. What makes it more amazing? So far, this year’s version of the Badgers haven’t seen much of a drop off. Yet. Gabe Carimi played phenomenally last year against elite B1G players like Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn and Ohio State’s Cam Heyward. This upcoming game against the Huskers will once again test the Badgers. Nebraska’s Jared Crick is a monster-of-a-man and Wisconsin’s interior lineman will have their hands full.
With Nebraska’s secondary being its biggest concern (so far, at least) look for the Badgers to once again feature a very balanced air vs ground attack–but one that’s willing to take some deeper shots at the Huskers. This means it’s going to be crucial for the offensive line to hold its own pass-blocking the Huskers as wide-outs work longer routs. Protecting Wilson must be paramount. Also look for Nebraska to bring some of their talented linebackers on a variety of twists and stunts to attempt to slow down the Badgers.
But let’s not forget about that running game. And oh yeah, the Badger running backs are only as effective as their blockers up front.
So the Badger offensive linemen will have their hands full as they face their first real challenge of the year. Between run-blocking for Ball and White, slowing down Crick and Company, and picking up the Huskers’ very athletic linebacking corps, the Badgers’ Big Uglies–as the coaching staff calls them–will have quite the hand in how the Badgers fare on Saturday. Here’s to hoping they’re up for the challenge. That is all.
Go in peace, Badger fans. May the force of Carimi and Moffit be with you.