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Wisconsin and LSU, the wait is over (AUDIO)


GREEN BAY WI- JANUARY 01 Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers leaps into the stands after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field

You could say the last 12 months have been…eventful around here. Wisconsin may be headed for a lean year by their standards if for no other reason than an absolutely merciless schedule that includes this meeting with the Tigers and later matchups against Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa (Have I mentioned that those are all in a row and three of the four are on the road?) but the possibility is that although that schedule is daunting, the Badgers may be better than their record and the consensus thinks they are.

And the curtain comes up in… But this one is pretty cool. Let’s all enjoy it together.

Having Dave Aranda on the LSU sidelines has to help the Tigers game planning.

Chryst has always been a classic “pro-style” type of coach.

Two of the nation’s premier running backs will face off at one of football’s most iconic stadiums. “LSU needs to make sure Wisconsin RB Corey Clement doesn’t get going; if the Badgers are forced to throw, this will get extremely ugly”.

Now, though, Houston gets his first college start; he is the first Badgers quarterback to make his first career start as a senior since 1999.

Neither Aranda nor Valentine have talked to the media this August, but one needn’t speak to them to understand what their impacts could be on the Tigers in 2016.

“We’re all competitors”, UW linebacker Vince Biegel said. And there’s some bulk in the middle in 340-pound nose tackle Olive Sagapolu. “With that said, what a great matchup”. It fell out of fashion in the National Football League in the 1990s, largely because offensive lines got bigger and bigger and workhorse tailbacks became the big fad as everybody tried to copy the Dallas Cowboys.

On Monday, UW coach Paul Chryst called the games great opportunities for the players. That makes other movement blockers, particularly tight ends and fullbacks, very important. Wisconsin has plenty of returning players on a defense that ranked seventh overall in SP+, 13th against the run and eighth against the pass. Chikwe Obasih, Conor Sheehy and Alec James are all back as is nose tackle Olive Sagapolu who did well last season. Here’s a video from the Philadephia Eagles on some of the principles of the blocking – embedding was disabled for it.

“Here is what you know: He’s a big, strong, very talented thrower, and he can run the football”, LSU coach Les Miles said earlier this week. The line steps right and the defense flows hard with the direction of the blocking. But, before you watch this match up at Lambeau Field, here are seven things to know.

The split-zone nearly creates a natural counter for a back like Fournette with great vision. “We had one big play on offense in the second half and we obviously wore down on defense”.

Teams can also gain leverage on that back side by putting the player in conflict, either with zone-read/bootleg action in the shotgun or pistol, or with some sort of motion, like a jet-sweep or with a bubble-screen set when aligning a trips receiver formation to that side.

It sounds like what LSU faces almost every week in the SEC.

Today’s game is another chance for the Badgers to create some genuine buzz.

LSU heads north for Wisconsin with a full head of steam returning 17 starters and a lot of insider information. The game presents many memorable storylines. “Wisconsin lost a number of key performers on defense from last year’s 10-3 team and it must replace starting quarterback Joel Stave”.

Tigers starting quarterback Brandon Harris has been put through the proverbial wringer about his play, or lack thereof, in the pocket. Will a rebuilding Badger team have enough in the tank to break that streak?