Tag Archives: Marcus Cromartie

Grading the Defense: Week 4

26 Sep

Just another day in the life for the nation’s third-best scoring defense.

The Badgers played well enough up front and essentially made the Coyotes one-dimensional. The secondary was stellar, the linebackers made plays, the front four brought pressure, and the collective defensive unit finally began recording take-aways. Here are the individual grades:

Defensive Line: A-

I’m a bit torn about the line’s performance. While they did bring constant pressure and recorded three sacks, they seemed unable to stop the run game, at times. Granted the Coyotes were very one-dimensional in their play-calling and ran the ball 37 times, it still hurts to see 124 rushing yards under the Coyotes’ stat line. Call me a perfectionist, but while it only averages out to 3.4 yards per rush, I think the Badgers front four can improve. And they’ll need to next weekend against the dynamic rushing attack of Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead.

Linebackers: A-

This would be a straight A, but I pass part of the blame for South Dakota’s 124 rushing yards to the linebacking corps. But besides that, the linebackers were effective. Borland continues to demonstrate his knack for making big plays while recording his first interception of the year. The unit also featured the Badgers’ top three tacklers of the day in Mike Taylor, Borland, and Kevin Claxton.

Secondary: A+

Any team who can hold their opposition, no matter how bad, to less than 50 yards through the air deserves mad props. When Nick Toon can out-gain the Coyotes in one play, you know the secondary was on top of their game. Cromartie seems to be fitting in well with the unit and they collectively appear confident to move on to their next challenge.

It’s awfully hard to complain about a defense that has given up 8.5 ppg through the first four match-ups, but the Badgers must continue to improve before their anticipated match-up with the Huskers. Can’t wait.

On Wisconsin.

-Mitch Larson

Players to Watch: Wisconsin vs Northern Illinois

15 Sep

All right, I bought a new Ethernet cord for Saturday afternoon. Here’s to hoping my computer doesn’t crash before then.

Ok, back to business. Here are your Badger players to keep a close eye on this Saturday:

Offensive Player to Watch: James White, RB

James White, simply put, is too good to stay under the radar for three weeks in a row, especially when his next opponent has as hard a time stopping the run as Northern Illinois does. Now you may be saying, “whoa, whoa, Larson, James White has not been ‘under-the-radar,’ Montee has just been that dominant.” I get that, but I also get that Nebraska comes a-knockin’ in two weeks. I doubt Bielema is going to want to lean too heavily on his TD machine, Montee Ball. I also know that, with a flashy, quick scoring offense like the Huskies have, part of Chryst’s game plan will feature a lot of time-eating, run-heavy drives. Now, it’s not rocket appliance that Wisconsin leaning on the run + Bielema using Ball more sparingly = (to the dismay of the Huskies) James getting plenty of touches come Saturday. And I expect James to fully take advantage of the opportunity. Expect big things from number 20 come Saturday.

Defensive Player to Watch: Marcus Cromartie, DB

Ummmm, could it have been anyone else? It’s been well-documented (initially through the awesome-ness of Twitter) that senior corner back Devin Smith has been forced to miss the remainder of the playing season. Here’s where the importance Continue reading