Dominant as ever, Badger ‘D’ still lacking turnovers

first_imgChris Borland leads the Badgers with 27 tackles this season, including three tackles for a total loss of four yards.[/media-credit]After dispatching its first three opponents by a combined score of 135-24, the Wisconsin football team has been forced to get a little picky in terms of keeping with the old sports saying of “never be satisfied.”But for the defense, there’s still one important ingredient missing: takeaways.Despite playing three weaker opponents so far this season, the Badger ‘D’ has managed to force just one turnover, down from four takeaways at this point last season.And according to sophomore linebacker Chris Borland, it’s become a bit of a concern for the defense lately in practice.“Yeah, it has (become a concern),” Borland said. “We want to get more turnovers. One in three games is unacceptable, and we’re just working on it in practice. Hopefully –  and we think it will – it’ll start to come in bunches.”Thanks to a frugal offense that has only given up one turnover itself – the first in nearly five-and-a-half games – Wisconsin’s turnover margin rests at an inert zero.With their natural ability to steal momentum for oneself and turn a game upside down, if the defense can start turning that ratio into a positive number, the Badgers could enter a new realm of efficiency.But pinpointing the cause of a takeaway drought is tricky business. The Badgers have certainly been able to get their hands on the ball and jar it loose at times this year, forcing four fumbles – recovering one – and deflecting 12 passes.Co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Chris Ash, for the most part, felt as though the defense hasn’t missed any opportunities in terms of interceptions.“Not necessarily interceptions,” Ash said. “There’s a couple that, you know, a little better break here or there and somebody could’ve made an interception, whether it be a DB or a linebacker.”Fumbles, on the other hand, is an area where UW has seen some results – but little profit. So far this season, at least one member from all three lines of defense has been able to pop the ball away from the carrier, but unfortunately, it has only bounced Wisconsin’s way once.The standard process of preying on the ball involves the first defender hitting the ball carrier with every intention of bringing him down. And as he does go down, a swarm of defenders rushes to wrest the ball free.Even for a defender who lines up the furthest from the ball – like safety Shelton Johnson – and has more time to read and react, he almost never thinks of attempting a solo effort.“Honestly, almost never,” Johnson said. “My first thought is to get them down. That’s like icing on the cake (to force a fumble), but the first thought should be to get them down.”And although the reliable process is ingrained into the minds of Wisconsin defenders, defensive end David Gilbert would still like to see improvement in focusing less on the big hits and zeroing in more on the ball itself when it comes to that swarm.“If you’re the second guy there, just having that awareness that it’s not all about just the hard hit,” he said. “The ball’s not just going to come out when you hit somebody; you got to rip at it, get ferocious in there.”“I think we just need to emphasize a few more things for a few more weeks and then this turnover talk will be over.”Even though the offenses of Wisconsin’s three opponents place in the middle or the lower half of the FBS rankings in scoring and total yards gained, neither of them has let go of the ball easily in this young season.Oregon State has lost the ball the most, with three turnovers, while Nevada-Las Vegas and Northern Illinois are two of just 20 teams in the nation who’ve lost possession only two times or less.But while the defense has seen noticeable improvements in tackling and run support since the season opener, the unit isn’t prepared to consider itself a finished product until it emerges from the pig-piles and downfield passes with the ball in hand more often.“We have a lot we can do better; turnovers are probably at the top of the list,” Borland said. “We’re not going to say we’re a great defense and just won’t get turnovers. We’re going to continue to improve at every aspect and add turnovers to the mix, I think that’s when we’ll say we’re a good defense.”last_img read more

Yet again, Messi and Ronaldo thriving when it matters most

first_imgLights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano View comments No slaughter? Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo heads the ball to score his side’s first goal passing PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola during the Champions League round of sixteen second leg soccer match between Paris St. Germain and Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)MADRID — One is keeping Barcelona in contention for a treble, and the other is putting Real Madrid in position to clinch a third straight Champions League title.Of course, it’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo — and it’s not the least bit surprising that they are stepping up at just the right time for their teams.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Messi has scored 32 goals in 41 matches for Spanish-league leader Barcelona this season, while Ronaldo has 31 from 33 for two-time defending Champions League champion Madrid.Ronaldo has been the more lethal one in recent weeks, scoring 11 goals in his last six matches as the league title slips away but the Champions League becomes all the more important. Three of his latest goals came in the 5-2 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkScoring goals in Europe’s most prestigious club competition is nothing new, however. Ronaldo is the all-time leading scorer in the tournament with 117.FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi kicks the ball to score during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)Messi has been pretty impressive, too. The Argentina forward has scored five goals in his last five matches, including the lone strike in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea in the first leg of the last 16 in the Champions League. The second leg is Wednesday at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano “There is no player like Messi in the world,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, perhaps even understating the value of a guy who has helped the club win eight league titles and four Champions League titles in his 14 years with the team.Barcelona leads the Spanish league and is still alive in the Copa del Rey. Madrid, however, trails the leaders by 15 points in the league and has already been eliminated from the cup competition.That leaves the Champions League as the main head-to-head competition for the two players who have split the last 10 FIFA player of the year awards.ADVERTISEMENT It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson LATEST STORIESlast_img read more