by Andy Schaaf
The only thing more desperate than an Akron preview is and Akron review, so that’s where we’re at today. The Badgers took care of business on a day when not everyone (hello Clemson and Georgia!) had it so easy.
These games are ultimately silly to draw much in terms of conclusions -- remember, Tanner McEvoy owns the Badger record for consecutive completions -- but they do add to what we saw last week and give us more to work with as the Badgers move on to face Michigan State in a couple weeks.
So with that said, let’s overreact to some stuff:
Hornibrook throws a pretty deep ball, Houston does not
This isn’t breaking news as it is in line with what we saw at the Spring Game and in Fall practice reports. Bart Houston seems to have one trajectory on his passes - a line drive, while Alex Hornibrook showed some nice touch on a ball to A.J. Taylor and on a deep ball to Quintez Cephus that drew a pass interference penalty.
That was the perfect time to use Hornibrook
Facing a MAC defense with eight or nine in the box loaded up for the run in the 3rd quarter is the perfect scenario for Hornibrook. At this point he at least seems like the ideal guy to run play action and chuck it deep or go through one or two reads in a progression.
That’s the type of stuff that’s wide open in these early games but works much less when Michigan or Ohio State can stop the run with seven or even six in the box and force the QB to get the ball into much tighter spaces.
Throughout camp we heard how close the two QBs were and there seems to be a lot of truth to that, but what we saw yesterday from Hornibrook doesn’t change much.
There’s a big drop off between Clement and the rest of the RBs
Again, not breaking any news here but the running game looked a lot like last year in the first half when Clement was out. The coaching staff clearly saw it too, which is the only way one can explain why Clement got 21 carries in the first half. Speaking of RBs…
Bradrick Shaw is the future at the RB position
I kid, I kid, but it was nice to see some burst from him when the game was over. If you’re like me, you’re slightly worried about the RB position in a post-Clement world, so it shows they at least have something to work with.
The Badgers finally have some WRs
They aren’t at that level yet, but for the first time since Toon and Abbrederis manned the position the Badgers have two legit WR options with Peavy and Wheelwright.
We’re even a full third of the way to the over on the prop bet competition with the Freshman WRs! It is hard to read too much into their performances, but as I mentioned in the Akron preview, it was a good chance to get them some reps, and that’s what happened on Saturday. Both Cephus and Taylor look like good players down the road, if it's too much to project much for them this year.
The loss of Natrell Jamerson is significant
This is a much bigger deal than losing linebacker Chris Orr. Jamerson had a unique role on the defense where he was tasked with playing up on the line and making tackles while also guarding WRs out on the edge - before his injury, he was matched up on Jerome Lane on the outside quite a bit while Sojourn Shelton took the slot guy.
There’s often a big learning curve with DBs and the Badgers don’t have an experienced guy who can fill in for him. It won’t affect them against all teams, but Jamerson was basically a starting DB against spread teams.
Let’s end on a lighter note. Kickoff specialist P.J. Rosowski had 5 touchbacks on Saturday to bring his season total to 8 - UW had 13 touchbacks all of last year. This will be an over/under next year.