Biggest disappointment from last year's Big 10 season? Not Michigan or Juice Williams, but the struggles of the highly hyped Wisconsin Badgers, a preseason top 10 team that lost 5 conference games, almost fell to Cal Poly, and was blown out in the Champs Sports. Quarterback play failed to be a steadying influence on the offensive side of the ball, allowing defenses to stack the line against John Clay and PJ Hill.
Wisconsin had had a nice streak of quarterbacks who weren't just play action machines, but who put up excellent stats in the run-focused offense of Barry Alvarez and then Bret Bielema. Brooks Bollinger (NFL backup), Jim Sorgi (clipboard holder for Peyton Manning), John Stocco, Tyler Donovan...And then 2008 happened, with a horrendous senior Allan Evridge proving ineffective against the meat of Wisconsins schedule. He was replaced mid-season by Dustin Sherer, who won big games versus Illinois and Minnesota. Let's take a look at the mechanics of the expected starter for the 2009 Badgers squad.
Dustin Sherer (Wisconsin)
- Security/Ball Placement (B-): Fumbled against Florida State because he was getting smashed, not because of some defect in ball security. Holds the ball a little low on his chest.
- Retreat Speed (B-): Slow from under center, but not awkward.
- Footwork (B): Didn't dance much in the pocket, which is usually the favorite move for quarterbacks under pressure. Actually moved forward to make throws instead of backpedaling backwards out of the pocket.
- The Fake (B+): Nice natural pump fake, but nothing spectacular.
- Adaptation (C-): Probably the worst in the Big 10 quarterbacks here. Doesn't throw on the run well, which is key for a Wisconsin quarterback who needs to throw the play-action rollout ball. Takes a long time for him to get into throwing position on the rollout. Also - doesn't run well.
- Survey (B- / Incomplete): Didn't have to survey much last year, but didn't really look past his first read.
- Stance (C+): His body opens up too much, unlike say Ricky Stanzi, who has a compact set up.
- Step (A-): Good step through on throws, always follows through with his body.
- Wrist/Throw (C-): I don't want to be negative, but his throw appeared to be the worst of all the quarterbacks I looked at. Doesn't throw an impressive ball, lofts it too much. Has too long of a windup.
Big Ten Report Card: