September 5, 2008

Offensive line bullies opponents

MADISON, Wis. - Finishing a game with 400 combined rushing yards just is not an everyday occurrence in the game of football. Sure, the Badger's made it look easy last Saturday while cruising to a 38-17 blowout win over Akron, but in can not be expected week in and week out as the season progresses.

Or can it?

Entering their week two match up with Marshall, the Badger's will once again outweigh their opponent by more than 40 pounds in the trenches. However, the Thundering Herd, who play the more traditional 4-3 style defense, might make it more difficult for the offensive line and consequently UW's backs.

"The great thing about that is that we play against the four down so it's familiar," sophomore center John Moffitt said. "Obviously they do a little more, they do the corner crashes and stuff like that, but we play against that so it's a familiar defense.

"The nice thing is that they do go into an odd look, a three down every now and then, and now you're not going to walk up and get all frazzled cause you've seen the three down before."

Against Akron, the Badgers were introduced to the 3-3-5 defense, one that is not primarily played within the Big Ten. With the size advantage UW boasted and the fact that only six players were ordinarily stacked in the box, the cardinal and white ran all over the Zips.

"We kind of feel proud of ourselves because it's our job to make the running backs look good," senior right tackle Eric VandenHeuvel said. "They're real good backs, but we do our best to try to help them put on as many yards. When they get a lot of yards, we know that we've done a good job too."

This Saturday, when the Badgers and Marshall take to the field, the Thundering Herd will attempt to clog up the middle with their defensive tackles both over 300 pounds, something Akron was not able to display. Plus, backup sophomore Brandon Bullock who will see game action, measures out at 6-foot-3, 355-pounds.

"That's the thing that you've got to keep in mind too," Moffitt said. "We're not going to face a team…we took them (Akron) seriously and they were a good defense, but there's going to be times when we're not going to be 45 pounds heavier than everybody else.

"I think this game coming up, Marshall, they've got some big boys up front, so that's something we've taken account of and taken them seriously when we prepare."

In all seriousness, once Big Ten play begins, the Badgers and opposing defensive lines will match up somewhat well. However, in early season games against teams not used to seeing such a mammoth line of man, the Badgers can and must take advantage of it.

"Playing in a game when the (opposing) guys are breaking down is pretty fun," VandenHeuvel said. "Although it is kind of nice to get a break after a while too after a long game.

"At the same time, it's just knowing when we're winning the game and we're going we're going we're going, you want to keep going and going and going and see how much you can rack up."

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