By TOM LEA
MADISON – The wheel route that buried the Badgers defense twice in as many drives during the season opener against Northern Iowa two weeks ago reared its ugly head yet again in Saturday night’s game against Utah State.
Head coach Bret Bielema made it clear how opponents have targeted his team for continued shoddy defense against that particular play following Saturday’s game. Considering senior Mike Taylor once again missed the coverage that allowed the Aggies tailback Kerwynn William to soar free down the sideline for the 39-yard touchdown score is somewhat alarming.
It’s time for the Badgers to make some stiff adjustments.
“He can’t cover that,” Bielema said. “I don’t have to stress that enough. If we put him in that position again we have problems. So we’ve got to protect him in that scenario and make sure that we don’t put him in that because he’s a really good football player.
“But we’re asking him to do too much in that situation and take care of the problem.”
Taylor finished the game with a game-high 15 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. It was his ninth-career game with double-digit tackles, but it was his second mix up in three games trying to cover that wheel route.
Following week one Taylor said he hesitated slightly when the wide receiver masked the wheel route by coming across the middle. He followed the receiver across the middle with his eyes, thinking he was going to be picked on the play.
By the time he realized he needed to cover the wheel route it was simply too late.
“It was something that we actually went through this morning in coverage,” Bielema said. “So it’s something we have to protect him on. We’ve obviously exposed ourselves enough there.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.”
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