View Gallery (3 Photos)Every week Herald Sports will analyze the most recent Wisconsin football game and hand out grades for each position group on a scale from zero to five. Let’s take a look at how the Badgers fared in their homecoming game against border-rival Minnesota.Quarterbacks: 3.5 out of 5It was a steady, efficient game for quarterback Scott Tolzien. The senior captain completed 17 of his 23 pass attempts and fired a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jared Abbrederis for the first score of the game. Tolzien threw for a respectable 223 yards and helped the Badgers’ cause by avoiding any turnovers. There were a couple arid throws that were tipped and nearly resulted in interceptions but luckily for UW those balls fell harmlessly to the ground. Tolzien showed off great accuracy on deep throws to Lance Kendricks and David Gilreath and Wisconsin is going to need to see more of those plays to stretch the defense.Running backs – 5 out of 5250 yards and 5 total touchdowns on the ground are deserving of a perfect score. The Badgers went into the game looking to attack the weak Minnesota rush defense and they did exactly that. Freshman tailback James White ran for 119 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also showed off his impressive agility with a juke that wowed everyone at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday and set up a one-yard score. White also made his presence known in pass protection as he picked up a number of blitzes to give Tolzien the time he needed to survey the field. Clay ran for 111 yards and racked up three touchdowns and both he and White averaged over five yards a carry.Tight ends – 4 out of 5Kendricks didn’t have a monster day on the stat sheet – 5 receptions for 75 yards – but the senior tight end continues to make an impact in the running game. When Kendricks leads the way on an outside run, opposing defenders don’t seem to stand a chance as evidenced by two pancake blocks from Kendricks on one play. Kendricks’ 75 receiving yards did lead the team and he continues to be the most reliable target for Tolzien. Jacob Pedersen, who made some nice plays over the past couple weeks, was held without a catch.Wide receivers – 3.5 out of 5Abbrederis finally got the wide receivers started in the touchdown category. The redshirt freshman’s short touchdown grab in the first quarter was the first by a UW wide receiver in 2010. Nick Toon took a step forward with six receptions for 52 yards, but all of his production came on quick, safe passes. The Badger wideouts came into this season with an eagerness to make big plays downfield and so far we are still waiting to see them on gameday,Offensive line – 5 out of 5The highly regarded Wisconsin offensive line finally dominated the way their reputation suggests they should. Against a Gopher defense that loaded the box to stop the run, UW ran the ball at will and opened up plenty of holes for the Badger running backs. Tolzien also got terrific pass protection from the big boys up front throughout as the Gophers failed to register a sack. In fact, Wisconsin only had two plays that resulted in negative yardage on the day.Defensive line – 3.5 out of 5UW’s defensive line put in a solid performance against the Gophers. Junior defensive end J.J. Watt picked up an explosive sack and tallied six total tackles on the day. Minnesota was held to just 96 rushing yards on 32 carries, and that’s a credit to the D-line who kept DeLeon Eskridge under wraps. UM quarterback Adam Weber was able to get free on a couple designed sneaks and the defensive line better adjust to that quickly with the elusive Terrelle Pryor coming to town this week.Linebackers – 4 out of 5Head coach Bret Bielema awarded defensive MVP honors to linebacker Mike Taylor after the game and for good reason. Taylor was unblockable at times and the UM rushing attack suffered dearly. The sophomore had three tackles for loss (a career high) and was constantly disrupting plays in the Gopher backfield. Senior captain Culmer St. Jean did his part as well, recording a team-high 10 tackles. The linebackers were extremely effective against the run but there were some breakdowns in pass coverage that still need to be addressedSecondary – 2.5 out of 5The Badger secondary played without senior captain Jay Valai Saturday and if not for a couple late breakdowns it would have graded out as a stellar performance. Unfortunately, UM wide receiver Da’Jon McKnight victimized UW’s secondary with two highlight-reel catches that resulted in touchdowns. Bryant Allen was also able to find plenty of space on a 60-yard reception, and Eric Lair came down with a 33-yard catch as well. The Badgers know they have to limit big plays to be successful and they didn’t do that Saturday.Specialists – 1 out of 5With the Badgers only up by five after a late second quarter Gopher score, UW quickly marched down the field to set up a last-second 49-yard field goal attempt. A conversion would have been a nice momentum boost heading into halftime but Philip Welch’s attempt was off line as soon as it left his foot. That was Welch’s only attempt and it’s a field goal he has to make when UW squares off against stiffer competition. Punter Brad Nortman had another subpar day with just a 39.5 average.
On an afternoon when sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods’ school-record 17 receptions, three touchdowns and 177 yards set the social media world ablaze in the hours following USC’s 19-17 win over Minnesota, the man directly responsible for the sophomore wideout’s performance had no idea what the fuss was all about. After all, he was too busy making his USC coaching debut.Showing the ropes · USC wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, pictured with senior wide receiver Brandon Carswell, uses a different coaching style compared to others. Rather than yell and scream, Gilmore believes showing respect is important in teaching football. – Chris Pham | Daily Trojan“Honestly, I had no idea he had that many catches,” wide receiver coach Ted Gilmore said. “In the course of a ball game, I don’t really care who catches the ball as long as it’s being caught. I was happy for the young man because of the type of work he puts in on the practice field. That’s his moment though and his moment alone.”Though it would be easy for Woods to bask in his newfound stardom, the second-year wide receiver has not been shy in trying to share the limelight with his first-year receiver coach.“Since the day [Gilmore] stepped on this campus, he has been pushing me to become a better receiver,” Woods said. “People see me making the plays, but he’s the one who takes the time to really teach me. Every thing he taught me was on display Saturday. And the great thing about him, is even after the Minnesota game, he believes he can still get more production out of me.”Gilmore’s name will likely never trend nationwide on outlets such as Twitter like his star pupil’s did Saturday, but in his first season at USC, the 44-year-old position coach isn’t concerned with recognition or popularity. He’s here to teach.“I am just happy to be able to coach [Woods] every day,” Gilmore said.Though he graduated from the University of Wyoming with a sociology degree in 1991, the former college standout — 72 receptions and five touchdowns between 1988 and 1989 — admits he didn’t graduate thinking he would ever enter the coaching world. When he returned to Laramie, Wyo., in 1994 as a graduate assistant, he recalls the move was more or less a chance for him to buy some time before choosing an actual profession. What he quickly found out, however, was that he was born to teach the game.“That fire for athletics was rekindled when I came back,” Gilmore said. “I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young men, and I found that in coaching.”After serving as Nebraska’s wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for the last six years, the Wichita, Kan., native said when USC coach Lane Kiffin approached him last winter to replace John Morton, it was an opportunity he simply couldn’t refuse.Though the pressure of coaching at a tradition-steeped university like USC can be daunting, especially considering what is at stake every Saturday, Gilmore, a devout Christian, coaches the only way he knows how. His teachings require no cursing or screaming, but instead show a rare quality typically unseen on a college football field: a genuine respect for his players.“My philosophy when coaching these guys is to coach them the way I would if they were my children, with respect and in a manner that isn’t degrading,” Gilmore said. “We cannot forget that we are teachers first and foremost.”Freshman wide receiver Marqise Lee, who in three months has leapt from prized recruit to starting wide receiver, believes his progress has everything to do with Gilmore’s passion for making him a better player and man on and off the field.“He just has such a big heart and is always willing to help me in every way possible,” Lee said. “I am not going to lie, I mess up everyday. But he doesn’t give up on me, he keeps pushing me to make sure that I am ready to play come Saturday.”With just a game under his belt, the rookie of the USC coaching staff admits he is still getting his feet wet in Los Angeles. But just seven months on the job, Gilmore’s already proud of the new students he’s had the privilege of working with.“We ask our players to stretch themselves all the time, and I have had to do the same in my first year in terms of learning a new playbook and a new way of doing things,” Gilmore said. “It’s been a good experience thus far, and it doesn’t hurt having young men like we do here, who have such high character.”For some, the thrill of the spotlight makes the grind of coaching worthwhile.In Gilmore’s eyes, whether it’s coaching wide receivers or potentially getting the call to one day run his own program, the joy comes not from Twitter trendiness, but from having a hand in developing great football players and even better men.“If I am fortunate enough, I would love to sit in that head coaching seat one day,” Gilmore said. “But, for the meantime, my job is to do the best I can here under my current position. I just want to continue doing what I am doing, and that’s coaching. Regardless of what capacity that may be in.”