- Nov 4, 2019
- Reaction score
Post of the day!The whole sequence starting with the timeout before 3rd down was huge to me. If Fleck didn't think this was a huge moment in the game, why take a timeout with 4:31 remaining in the first quarter? To me, the Green line is much more effective when it's subbed in during real time as opposed to coming out of a timeout with it. There was no wrinkle to the play that I observed and it failed (some are saying Green missed a hole). This left 4th and 2 from the 35. I don't understand why, at the very least, a second Green line play wasn't called during the time out like "If we get stopped here, we're going with the pop pass on 4th down if we get X look, if not take a delay of game". Another option would have been to put Tanner back out at QB and see what look Wisconsin gave on 4th down and decide whether to try to go for it or try to draw Wisconsin offsides with cadence or shifting. The lack of any sort of creativity here at the very least makes the use of the timeout unacceptable and in my mind the whole sequence was coached and managed about as poorly as it could be.
For those saying the punt "worked" it did not. In a worst case scenario, Wisconsin would have taken over at their own 35 after another stuffed run or an incomplete pass. Wisconsin would drive all the way to the Minnesota 31 before fumbling, so the punt did not succeed in flipping field position as the defense didn't get a quick stop and the Gophers wouldn't get the ball back with the wind again until the 4th quarter. Especially of note here is that Wisconsin went for it on 4th down and 3 from the Minnesota 37 down 7-0. They had a longer distance to go and went for it from slightly further out. On another drive, still down 7-0, Wisconsin would go for a 4th and 2 from the Minnesota 19 and they would get it again.
I think people are underestimating what points on that drive (especially another touchdown) would have done for the game script of both teams. The Gophers disadvantage on both lines would have been neutralized somewhat by the Badgers need to play catchup and the Badgers could have been down 10-0 or 14-0 at their own 25 going in to the wind for their final possession of the 1st quarter.
For me, the decisions starting with the 3rd and 2 timeout felt like huge mistakes in the moment so it wasn't second guessing. That said, the lack of line play in this game put the Gopher coaches at a huge disadvantage. They ran on 2nd and 2 from the 35 with Mo and didn't get and then ran on 3rd and 2 with Seth and didn't get it. The Gophers would have never stopped the Badgers on 2 successive run plays like this. On the flip side, that difference in quality/intensity/whatever of line play should have made Fleck/Staff more inclined to go for it up 7-0 and not less so.
There were plenty of other situations where I hated the play call, but there was also some "what can you do?" moments that could have turned this game as well. The sideline passes to Bateman and Autman-Bell that were incompletions had every bit the chance to be caught as the sideline pass to Taylor that ended up being a touchdown for Wisconsin. Later, you had Morgan miss Douglas for a touchdown and the 3rd and 4th down plays to Tyler Johnson where the first one should have been interference and the second one could have either been caught or been interference again (borderline). Even with, what I thought was terrible decision making, this game easily could have been a 7 point game with nearly the entire 4th quarter to play and the Gophers having the wind advantage.
This loss would have been horrific no matter how it happened, but it's especially difficult to digest when they made so many of the passive/conservative decisions they made against Iowa that came back to bite them. In addition to the 3rd and 2 and 4th and 2 decision making, they had a 3rd and 10 at the 50 trailing 10-7 to open the 3rd quarter and called a run to Mo Ibrahim. Trailing 17-7 in the 3rd quarter and facing 3rd and 10 at the Wisconsin 22, they USE A TIMEOUT and then call a run to Mo Ibrahim. These plays on offense were just baffling and were totally out of character for this staff during the games they actually won. You have those 2 plays plus all 4 failed plays starting with 1st and goal down 24-10 and Bateman doesn't get an opportunity on any of the 6 and Morgan/receivers in general are only given a chance on 2 of the 6. On the other side of the field, Wisconsin pulled out some misdirection to get a huge 4th down conversion, scored on a reverse, got a huge kickoff return off a reverse, and dialed up a pass to Taylor that probably was the longest (in terms of air yards) of his career.
This has been lost in all the analysis. Taylor's running was for the most part, shut down by the Gophers. The Gophers made a choice: Jonathan Taylor or Jack Coan, especially in the weather conditions. Coan & Chryst were really good.Exactly. Fleck only plays to win on and off the field. Disappointed in losing today but proud as hell how far and the way he has brought the program this quickly. Hus hands were tied by having to commit so much to stop Taylor from running and that gave up everything else. UW made plays. Now it is on to a very good bowl. Fleck is wired to learn from losing. Take comfort in knowing he will be hard at work tomorrow. Hell, he probably recruited tonight.