Note: Badger fans, please do not share the contents of this blog post with anyone associated with the Corn Nation. Cornhusker coach Bo Pellini may have been a Packer assistant but he is no friend of Bucky. The following information is confidential.

Part of the “strategery” (thank you George W) of college football is to not show too much of your offensive and defensive repertoire prior to playing a top-of-the–line opponent. After four impressive wins against not-so-tough competition, the Badgers play a very quality Nebraska Cornhusker team. The Badgers have played well and have been able to do so without sharing too much of, what we used to call in high school basketball coaching circles, their “stuff”.

That will change this Saturday. Following are a few things that we will likely see against Nebraska that we have not seen, or have rarely seen, during the season to date:

1 – Middle Tight End Screen: The play that made Owen Daniels a pro prospect has not been seen in the early going. The play involves keeping the tight end in to help pass block, then having them slip to the middle of the field to receive a screen pass after the rushers have extended themselves at the quarterback. Look for Jacob Peterson to receive a pass on this play at a key second or third and long on Saturday. Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst loves this play.

2 – Chris Borland at rush end/3-3-5 defensive set: The Badgers have been very vanilla in their defensive sets, maintaining a 4-man front and using a conventional nickel set when faced with multiple receiver sets. Borland is hands-down the Badgers best pass rusher and is very difficult to block when rushing off the edge. Look for the Badgers to go to a 3-3-5 set and move Borland away from middle linebacker in passing situations to have him serve as a rush end.

3 – Fly Sweep: The Badgers have in a couple of situations had Jered Abbrederis receive the ball on a flanker “fly” sweep early in the year, a very effective play against teams that stack the interior of the line. David Gilreath was far more effective running this play than he was a receiver. Look for this play a couple of times on Saturday early, with perhaps Nick Toon or Kenzel Doe serving as the runner.

4 – Kickoffs into the End Zone: Bret Bielema gushed in the preseason about Alec Lerner’s abilities as a kickoff specialist. To date he has been poor, yet he maintains his role. My guess is that he has a much stronger leg than he has shown and will be looking to boom his kickoffs out of the end zone.

5 – Ryan Groy at Tight End/H-Back: Badger reserve offensive lineman Ryan Groy is a terrific athlete that does not move like an offensive lineman. If the Badgers can get up by a couple of scores, look for Groy to appear at tight end/H-Back/Fullback and serve as a lead locker for Montee Ball and James White.

6 – Fake Punt – Brad Nortmann wouldn’t run another fake punt…and Bielema wouldn’t call for it…would they? Bielema isn’t as reckless as he was early in his career, but don’t be surprised to see some type of gadget play with the Badger special teams.

  • Ceallaigh

    The thing about the fake punt is once you do it, every team expects it. I can’t remeber how many years ago the Bears tried to pull it, but now I am always expecting some sort of shenanegans on 4th down (case in point, the fake fair catch last week.)

    Or the Badgers could just be bold, take a page from McCarthy’s playbook, announce their presense with authority and try an on-side kick on the opening kickoff. Man, that was just a great FU to Bill Billicheat. Would be a great welcome to the Big Ten as well.