10.12.12

RUN TO WIN.

The Northern Illinois University Orange Bowl bid has provided a welcome opportunity to procrastinate distraction from exam week work.  That's not the only football story that matters to Cold Spring Shops.  It's encouraging to see other teams succeeding by returning to the fundamentals.  Hand off.  Block.  Run.  Cloud of dust.  Repeat.  Wisconsin, either the best 7-5 team or the least likely 12-0 team in the B1G 14, makes a third straight return to the Rose Bowl, and former Detroit Lion quarterback turned sports analyst explains the formula.
"The job that Barry (Alvarez) and now Bret (Bielema) at Wisconsin have done is something many people thought could not be done," Danielson said. "It was thought you will never beat Ohio State or Michigan at their game. You have to go more like Northwestern and Purdue and finesse them. Barry went the opposite way. He said no, we will beat them at what they do. That was brilliant. Nobody believed that, by the way. Lou Holtz did not believe that. I think that is what Arkansas is buying into."
Yes, Wisconsin is also riding the coaching carroussel, but because the winner of the B1G 14 title game automatically qualifies for the Rose Bowl, the coaching search came after the selection show.

But for years there was no secret to the Wisconsin victory formula (see above).  I attended that first Rose Bowl in forever with a UCLA graduate who wondered who "Moss" was carrying the ball on every play.  I explained (inside joke) it was the football version of "get a good start and sail on the lifted tack."  But others understood it as well.  In the season that followed, Wisconsin starting quarterback Darrell Bevell was injured prior to the Northwestern game.  A Chicago sports broadcaster noted that a replacement quarterback was not any big deal, as all he had to do was "hand off to Moss and Fletcher."  That was at the beginning of Northwestern trying to be not-Northwestern, and the formula worked to perfection.  (It got harder later, but more recently Wisconsin coaches have figured out how to deal with the finesse.)  Jumbo packages and Zebra formations and Barges are simply ways to conceal where the Blocks go in front of the Run.

Despite some early-season setbacks, the Packers have returned to first place in the Black and Blue Division, in a way that must please Vince Lombardi.
It was early in the fourth quarter of a game that was tied, 17-17. The Packers took possession of the ball at their 41-yard line following a missed field goal attempt by the Lions’ Jason Hanson. Seven plays later, the Packers had the lead.

They were more than just seven plays. They were seven running plays. Yeah, the Packers, the poster child for finesse football, shoved it down the Lions’ throat with a three-headed running game.
The blocking in front of the runners looked pretty good.  Will the Zebra and the Barge be next?

The Lions?  Was Gary Danielson the last Lion quarterback to win a game in Wisconsin?

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