The Badger and Bugeater have teamed up to breakdown this week's Nebraska vs Wisconsin match up. In this first post we take a quick look at the defense's.
Nebraska: Jared Crick, Baker Steinkuhler, and Cameron Meredith are really big physical players. They all cause havoc in the backfield on running plays and put pressure on the quarterback. But what’s really impressive is the depth behind them. Ten different players have seen live game action on the d-front for Nebraska, all of which would probably start at any other school.
Wisconsin: Nothing flashy here, consistency has been the key since the early departure of superstar J.J. Watt. Patrick Butrym and Travi Kohout know their job is to occupy the other teams O-lineman. Along with Louis Nzegwu the Badgers have three returning starters from last years line. Watt’s replacement David Gilbert has shown flashes as a pass rusher in this early season.
Nebraska: Defensive Coordinator Carl Pelini says “Lavonte David is the best LB I’ve ever coached.” Lavonte lead the team in tackles in 2010, and has 38 tackles so far this year. Will Compton plays aggressive against the run but has trouble keeping up with speedy receivers.
Wisconsin: Here Wisconsin sports one of the conference’s best in MLB Chris Borland. The athletic Borland was the Big Ten’s Freshman of the year in 2009. Mike Taylor a speedy three year starter that plays the run well is one side, on the other is first year starter Kevin Claxton.
Nebraska: Alfonzo Dennard leads a young and inexperienced group for Nebraska. Dennard has shown potential to be shut down corner but he must shake-off the rust from a preseason injury. Recent position changes by Junior college transfer LB Daimion Stafford to safety and Cory Cooper from safety to cornerback adds uncertainty to how strong this group is.
Wisconsin: The Wisconsin group doesn’t feature a shutdown corner of Dennard’s caliber, but they do possess two All Big Ten selections from a year ago in CB Antonio Fenelus and FS Aaron Henry. UW lost starting CB Devin Smith for the year so they are counting on Marcus Cromartie to step, and stay healthy as Wisconsin is not deep at corner.
Overall Verdict: Nebraska
The edge Nebraska might have in talent on defense, will ultimately be neutralized by a noisy, hostile Wisconsin crowd. Fort Randall is notorious for causing opponents to struggle with communication. Expect the Nebraska vs Wisconsin game to come down to offensive execution. We'll have more on the offenses later this week in Nebraska vs Wisconsin Tale of the Tape Part 2.
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