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September 20, 2013

BadgerBlitz Mailbag: Week 4





Welcome back to my 2013 football mailbag! I'll answer your questions every week from the Badger's Den and take questions over Twitter and through plain old email, so if you have a question you'd like me to feature go right ahead and send them in.

Today we'll take questions from my inbox, Twitter and the Badger's Den, our exclusive message board for BadgerBlitz.com subscribers.

BadgerBlitz.com member Jay in Toronto writes: Are the coaches concerned with any players looking past the Boilermakers and ahead to the OSU game and if so, how are they managing that?

I actually don't think the coaching staff is overly concerned about a post-loss hangover, or looking ahead to Ohio State. The players that I spoke to this week seemed like they were obviously still bothered by the way the game ended, but Andersen and the players said that practices were pretty crisp. It doesn't sound as though anyone needed to be reminded that the Badgers still have a lot to play for this season.

I think it's actually pretty convenient that the Badgers have a Big Ten game this week. Usually week four is filled with FCS games and other MAC-like teams, which I think are easier opponents to overlook than a division and conference rival. Non-conference games are fun to watch, but they really only matter for national title contenders, which the Badgers aren't. This game against Purdue probably means enough to them where they wouldn't need a whole lot of extra motivation anyway.

BadgerBlitz.com member Boomer_Badger writes: Do you have any info on Tanner McEvoy's wrist injury, and how long before we could expect him to be available to see game action at quarterback or wide receiver?

My guess is that this is the same wrist injury that McEvoy was dealing with in fall camp, the one that originally eliminated him from the quarterback battle (if you believe that he hadn't been eliminated already at that point). He didn't suit up for their game against Tennessee Tech, and to my knowledge did not play against Arizona State.

However, I did see McEvoy taking a rep or two with the first and second team defenses at safety on Tuesday during the open part of practice. He was obviously well enough to play in practice at that point, but it's impossible to say if that has changed at all since then. My guess is that if McEvoy gets on the field any time soon, it's going to be at either safety or wide receiver. It's even possible that it's safety before wide receiver, but it's possible that he's been getting reps there too during the closed parts of practice. I'll keep an eye on McEvoy during this week's pregame warm ups to see where he gets the most reps.

BadgerBlitz.com member CC Manhattan writes: Should we expect to see some new wrinkles in our offensive game plan or are we limited in what we run due to a lack of personnel? Interesting comments out of ASU's coach Graham after the game in that he didn't feel we ran anything overly exotic and they knew what we were running out of the sets we were in. After the initial upchuck in my mouth at his comments and arrogance, he made a valid point and it showed on several corner blitzes his defense ran that blew up several run plays of ours.

And Is that on the coaches or on Stave as the QB in reading a blitzing corner off the edge and hitting that wide-open hot route for an easy 8-yard gain?


First of all, I think the Badgers are slowly showing us more and more of what they want to do on offense. They were pretty conservative in their first two games, but we saw Gordon get a few handoffs on the jet sweep, and I think some of the more complicated passing plays are still sitting in Andy Ludwig's back pocket. I've been surprised that they haven't gotten more of their tight ends involved. For how much the Badgers talked them up during fall camp, but three of them have only combined for 11 receptions. Look for them to get more involved as the season goes along.

As for the corner blitz, to me that's on Stave. College quarterbacks don't have headsets in their helmets like the pros do, so the coaches don't have quite as much communication until the drive is over. That's probably part of Stave being so young still- quarterbacks tend to get a better handle on things like that as their season moves along. Since Arizona State had some success with it, my guess is that another team will try it again. It'll be Stave's job to take advantage of that the next time it happens.

BadgerBlitz.com member Oscoe writes: When will Gordon be made the starting RB?

Probably after James White graduates, is my guess. Technically they're both starting running backs, at least that's how the coaching staff looks at it. But I get what you're saying, and I don't think we're about to see Gordon's touches spike up any time soon. The Badgers think Gordon and White are very complementary pieces. Gordon has been a monster on the outside, and White's definitely a more experienced pass-blocker. That's why you didn't see Gordon in on Wisconsin's final drive- they needed to pass for most of that drive, and White's easily the better blocker. I do think Gordon will probably end the season with more touches than White, but I don't think he's going to be the sole "featured back" until this time next year.

For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter.



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