University of Wisconsin Badgers @ University of Michigan Wolverines
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Score: Wisconsin (7), Michigan (14)
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Corey Clement, RB, Senior, #24: Clement faced tough sledding against a Wolverines defense that dominated physically at the point of attack. Unfortunately, the Badger passing offense was never able to alleviate the pressure and open the field; so Clement was forced to make due grinding out tough yardage. I thought overall I thought Clement had a modest effort but a solid one at that; he shows no ill effects of the injuries that hamstrung him for most of 2015. Clement, like former Badger RB Melvin Gordon, is not particularly apt at creating behind the LOS; he regularly finds his success when there is a surge at the point of attack. Considering the game and defense faced, I thought Clement did well to make the most out of his touches and maximize available yardage without a lot of help.
TJ Watt, OLB, Junior, #42: Watt, the younger brother of NFL star JJ, was one of the best players on the field for this contest. Watt was physical; showed pleasant get off at the snap and utilized his length effectively to influence the ball in the backfield. There were a handful of missed opportunities for minus plays forced but Watt’s overall disruption was enough to get plays off the rails early on and corral the Wolverines QB/ball carriers. Watt showed great extension and ability to play with his hands to stack and set the LOS in the run game; where he was most effective. I will need to further monitor his development, particularly as a pass rusher, where he won this past week with primarily power.
Vince Biegel, OLB, Senior, #47: Biegel missed this contest with a foot surgery that resulted with a screw being placed into his foot. I was disappointed to miss seeing Biegel play; as I was not especially enamored with his 2015 tape but continued to see him flashing in my coming and going with the Badgers this season. Hopefully his surgery heals well and we will be able to see Biegel back on the field in a Badgers uniform before the season is up.
De’Veon Smith, RB, Senior, #4: If anyone feels Corey Clement’s pain trying to find room to work, it’s Smith. Just like Clement, Smith had to trudge through high traffic areas to find any amount of space to run. Smith is a more physical runner than Clement and did well to play the role of bell cow; grinding out tough yards with physical running and leg drive. Smith did not get many opportunities to show if he had the same kind of explosion to his runs that he flashed before getting injured in 2015; but it is apparent that he is not going to create much yardage on his own. He’s a little too rigid to cut with the steepness or suddenness necessary to play that style of football.
Jehu Chesson, WR, Senior, #86: Chesson did have a handful of receptions but was largely a non-factor. He was outdone by fellow Senior WR Amara Darboh, who caught the game winning touchdown with a nice deep route that highlighted ball tracking skills and some nifty hand work at the release. Chesson caught the football cleanly and finished with 5 receptions.
Jake Butt, TE, Senior, #88: Butt was active early in the game with a big reception but as the game continued and the Badgers hung tough, Butt spent a lot of time delaying his release by chipping at the LOS. Butt continues to show in the open field running routes why he’s the total package; he’s functional as an inline blocker and pairs it with the overall route running of a man 20-30 lbs lighter. Butt will challenge to be the top TE off the board in the spring and I thought he did a very nice job complimenting what the Wolverine offense needed him to do; whether it was chipping or blocking at the point of attack or occupying defenders in routes to allow the throw to go elsewhere.
Kyle Kalis, OL, Senior, #67: Kalis pairs with Magnuson for the right side of the offensive line. Kalis’ functional skill set is adequate for the position but there are some technical issues that pop up and are the root of some of his negative reps vs. Wisconsin. One issue is Kalis got tunnel vision if left unoccupied in pass protection and was late to work across to keep his gap sturdy in the pocket. Kalis is a people mover and when coming forward he found success; even showing the ability to effectively climb to the second level provided his release angle was not too sharp trying to work across the face of a LB.
Erik Magnuson, OT, Senior, #78: Magnuson was the better half of the right side of the Wolverine offense. Magnuson does play with a narrow base and at times will lose blocks/fail to sustain contact as a result. Additionally, his foot quickness and efficiency leave something to be desired when he is in his pass sets. Yet there’s a physical level of dominance present here against a defense that prides itself on playing a physical brand of football. Magnuson’s overall strength was impressive to take in and he did well to uproot at the point of attack. He put a handful of Badgers flat on their backs and would have even greater power if he weren’t apt to stop his feet at the point of contact in stretches of play. Up and down overall but I was impressed with the tools present.
Chris Wormley, DL, Senior, #43: Wormley continues to be miscast as a Defensive End; I don’t think his skills translate to that position particularly well at the next level. Wormley as a B-gap defender is something that would get me notably more excited; and in the bits and pieces we picked up of him playing there I saw nothing to change my mind. Wormley did register a sack but the play was horribly handled by the Wisconsin QB. Additionally, there were multiple other plays to be made if Wormley were not such a rigid athlete; he was too easily pushed past the point of contact and therefore failed to influence the play at hand.
Jabrill Peppers, LB/DB, RS Sophomore, #5: Peppers had a quiet game in the box score; but it was in large part due to how well he played covering the Badger receivers in space. He was not tested frequently and spent time in space to influence the passing game. Much like Myles Jack as a Sophomore; Peppers’ influence was much more prominent on the field than the box score may suggest. Peppers has an explosive skill set that is apparent after only a handful of reps.
Jourdan Lewis, DB, Senior, #26: Lewis made a number of big plays down the stretch and was a handful for the Badgers from the slot. Lewis’ interception to seal the game was impressive in its own right but I was equally impressed with how well he transitioned and flipped his hips early in the rep. There’s a lot of trunk/hip mobility there and it makes for easy transitions to re-direct. Additionally; Lewis tackled well in this contest. In spite of being a smaller player he did very well to step up and wrap on first contact.
Best Players on the Field:
TJ Watt, OLB; Jourdan Lewis, DB; Jabrill Peppers, LB/DB
Chris Wormley, DL