Embarassed two weeks in a row. O-fer in conference. Two more tough tests before Indiana. Minnesota looks like it will make a play for Paul's Axe. New Year's Day? The Badgers will be lucky to get bowl eligible. What now?
It starts at the top. Bielema has to stop pointing fingers in public (he needs to point them in private) and man up. He has done a poor job this season. Period. It isn't about his assistant coaches, his captains, his seniors, his freshman, etc., it's about him. The media asks what went wrong on a specific play, learn to politic, bring it on yourself, Bret. That's what leaders do, and you're supposed to be the leader.
Dave Doeren, get up in the box. You're the defensive coordinator and from the field you can't see what's going on. Get up there, and get your alignments straight.
Paul Chryst, go with what we can do, not with what you'd like to be able to do. Evridge? Sherer? Doesn't matter. Neither is a true game-managing quarterback. We've got to pound the rock. No more passes on first down, at least not unless necessary. Turn the big kids loose and let them wear the bad guys down. Especially in the red zone. Maybe next year we'll have a quarterback capable of running your system correctly (see Stocco, John, 1 each). Right now we don't, but we do have two excellent backs (Brown and Clay, by the way) to carry the load, and a big, strong, athletic offensive line. Play to their strengths.
Players? Time to man-up. Levy and Casillas, you guys have been starters for three years. It's time to act like it. There's no excuse for confusion -- or missed tackles -- in the linebacker corps.
PJ, you've had a good run, but you still haven't learned how to read your blocks and if I want someone to just bowl the other guys over, I'm going with Clay. Zach Brown is the only back who consisently reads his blocks, he should start, with a healthy dose of Clay battering folks. Hill should be used to spell them.
Receivers? You guys are on D-1A schollies. Dropping passes is weak. Very weak.
What's this team missing? The walk-on. Luke Swan, Jim Leonhard, et al. There is a long and distinguished list of top contributers walking on out of a desire to wear red. The key? Desire.
You're playing for the University of Wisconsin, the flagship university of a blue-collar, hard-working state. It isn't hype, glitz, flash or drama. Wisconsin is about hard work, and taking pride in that work.
Don't give up. It's a cliche, but winners are those that get knocked down, but get back up. Things look bleak right now. The media, opponents, and even our fans are all down on the Badgers, the coaches, the players, even King Barry is getting a little heat. If the guys on this team come together and show some fight, that's enough. If they come out firing against the Illini. If they hit MSU right back in a battle for the trenches. If they fight to keep the Axe. As Lou Holtz (good God, am I reduced to quoting him?) said, you're going to get knocked down again in your life. It's going to matter a lot more than football. Someone you love will get sick. You'll lose a job, something . . . When that happens, you'll know what to do.
You'll gather yourself up and take it on, just like you did back in 2008 when the chips were down. It's not the last play that matters, it's the next one.
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