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October 29, 2011

UW not overlooking OSU offense

MADISON - As a fifth-year senior, free safety Aaron Henry has seen just about anything and everything the Big Ten can throw at him from a quarterback perspective.

To say Braxton Miller is much different, aside from the old amalgam of clichés that state something along the lines of each individual being unique and different, wouldn't be fair.

He's a heck of an athlete, but at this stage in his career he's very raw and unproven. He has natural ability, sure, but he hasn't put it all together.

That's to be expected.

But don't think UW is going to sit back and let him feel comfortable Saturday night.

"You rattle him," Henry said. "It's how you get any quarterback out of their comfort zone. You've got to rattle him.

"You keep after him and when the opportunity presents itself you've got to tackle him in the open field."

Bret Bielema, who like Henry has seen most version of quarterback throughout his football career as a player and coach, is also aware of the talent Miller is. From all accounts he's a great kid, he works hard and he has the desire to be great.

He's smart and utilizes his speed and shiftiness to his advantage.

"He would remind you of Taylor Martinez a little bit," Bielema said. "Martinez might be 10 yards faster, but Braxton has got a lot more wiggle to him. He's very gifted with what he can do with the ball."

So that seems to have the ability to force an interesting dynamic. Wisconsin was shoddy with its open field tackling a week ago. Ohio State, in its last time out, hardly ever threw the ball. It's apparent OSU will look to establish its running game against the Badgers with hopes of setting up the pass, even though Miller has a quant 51 percent completion mark.

"He's very, very gifted," Bielema said. "He can definitely throw the football. It's not like they're not going to be able to throw the football or try to throw the football. That's the part where you'll really see him gain strides going into this game."

The Buckeye's currently possess the 110th ranked offense in the country. Passing-wise, OSU checks in at 115th nationally, averaging just 127 yards passing per game. On paper it seems as though UW would be in great shape if it shut down Ohio State's rushing attack (42nd nationally) and force Miller into passing situations.

But there have been stranger occurrences inside Ohio Stadium. Look at the 2009 game, for instance. UW doubled-up Ohio State in total offense, but three non-offensive touchdowns helped guide the Buckeyes to victory. When there is talent on the field, as there certainly is for Ohio State, a lot needs to go right for the opposing team.

Wisconsin is well aware of that. While limiting the OSU run game might go a long way in helping guide UW to victory, it's not the end-all-be-all for victory.

"We know Ohio State is going to be a really good football team," Henry said. "They're going to come prepared and we know they're going to have a great game plan. It's going to be up to us to go out there and fulfill the things we've been working on all week.

"It's going to boil down to us tackling in the open field, making plays and communicating right."


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