Tag Archives: Jonathan Taylor

Badger Thoughts 2017: Game Two Victory Versus Florida Atlantic

Jonathan Taylor had an excellent rushing game against Florida Atlantic with 223 yards and 3 touchdowns. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images North America)

Badger Thoughts 2017: Game Two      Victory Versus Florida Atlantic

The Wisconsin Badgers have opened the season 2-0 after a 31-14 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon. Like the opening game versus Utah State, there were bright spots and some concerns. We provide our notes and takes on both this game and the 2017 season.

1. Jonathan Taylor makes his case to be starter going forward – Taylor got the start against FAU after an injury sidelined Bradrick Shaw and Taylor showed the coaches the decision was an excellent one. Taylor showed both his power and speed on his two first half touchdown runs.

Taylor finished the game rushing for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns on 26 carries. His backup, Chris James, also showed some good rushes after a tepid first game. James finished with 101 yards on 16 carries and the Badgers averaged 6.6 yards per carry. There are plenty of positive things to say about Taylor and his touchdown runs have been great to watch over and over again.

A few things that are worth bringing up:

  • Taylor is just a freshman, which is great for the Badgers if he continues at this pace. However, solid production from a healthy Shaw and James will be key to keep Taylor fresh at the end of the season.
  • The first two games were against Utah State and Florida Atlantic, teams the Badgers should dominate and look good against. The competition the rest of the season will be much stronger.
  • Injuries and poor quarterback play could make it an uphill battle for the entire rushing attack. Taylor lost a fumble as well in the third quarter, which, at this point, appears to be more of the exception.

Based on what we have seen in two games, Taylor should be the starter at running back with Shaw and James getting plenty of touches as well. It is a long season and three different options behind the offensive line will help the entire offense.

2. Alex Hornibrook struggled to see the field – It was clear that Alex Hornibrook was not having a good day. The timing was not there as he constantly threw behind his receivers and then there was the horrendous interception. On that particular play, he was going backwards with a defender in his face and he forced a throw without even seeing the defender that made the interception. It was a throw that should not have happened and it led to a touchdown for FAU.

Late the second quarter, Hornibrook threw another pass on an out route to the sideline that was woefully short and nearly picked. Luckily for him, it was dropped, but another example of his timing and arm strength being not good enough.

Overall, Hornibrook has to get better if he wants to stay the starter. The timing, precision, arm strength, and general awareness all are a concern though he is just a sophomore. There is time for improvement, but how long does he have before Jack Coan is called on for a bigger role?

3. The secondary gets torched – Florida Atlantic had 142 yards passing, yet it felt like it was far more. FAU’s DeAndre McNeal had catches of 35 and 63 yards with the latter going for a touchdown. There was also another 35 yard pass play to McNeal in the third quarter following Taylor’s fumble, but that was negated due to a holding.

Given the memories of 2016 when Penn State moved up and down the field on the Badgers at will in the Big 10 Championship, it is worth watching this unit to see how they respond going forward.

4. Injury concerns are mounting – The defense was already short due to the losses of Jack Cichy and Zack Baun for the season. During practice on Wednesday, Chikwe Obasih suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for a few weeks.

Now, the offense has some injury worries with Shaw ruled out and then right guard Beau Benzschawel left the game in second quarter and did not return. There is currently no news on the severity of the injury, but the loss of a starter on the line does not bode well.

5. The overall performance felt mediocre – The Badgers dominated this game on offense with 564 yards compared to 248 yards for FAU. They had just one penalty and held the ball for over 38 minutes. However, it was an inefficient game.

The Badgers turned the ball over twice, were stopped three times inside the two yard line early in the second quarter, several passes were dropped, and even Rafael Gaglianone missed a 37 yard field goal. The first half against Utah State and most of this game was nothing like the Badgers we expected to see in 2017. The entire team will have to improve quickly because the non-conference schedule ends next week with a road trip to BYU.

Next week’s game at BYU will be at 3:30 PM Eastern Time and can be seen on ESPN. The Badgers will have a bye the following week before starting Big 10 play against Northwestern at home on September 30.

Badger Thoughts 2017: Game 1 Win Versus Utah State

The Wisconsin Badgers visited the end zone frequently in the second half against Utah State. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images North America)

Badger Thoughts 2017: Game 1 Win     Versus Utah State

The Wisconsin Badgers opened the season with an emphatic 59-10 victory over Utah State. While it was not very attractive in the first half, the ninth ranked Badgers cruised to an easy win with a suffocating second half performance. Below are some thoughts, and observations noticed in the Friday night win.

1. The offense starts slow – If you happened to read this column in 2016, one of the constant worries was the offense starting slow. Well, 2017 started no different as the offense needed nearly 2 full quarters to even get points on the board. There were fumbles, drops, penalties, sacks, and mistakes that are not typical of Wisconsin. That begs several questions:

Was this performance just first game jitters? Did the Friday night lights play a role? Is the offense too predictable in the early stage of games?

We are leaning to the fact it was the first game where timing can be an a bit off. It is unwise to make a conclusion based on a single game, but this is worth keeping an eye on to see if this trend becomes a mainstay as it did in 2016.

2. Jonathan Taylor has a breakout game – He is only a freshman, but a good one at that if this game was any indication. Taylor showed speed and the ability to keep the legs churning. He finished with 87 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown.

It was an impressive showing and it never hurts to be running behind an offensive line that the Badgers typically employ. Continue to watch the progression of Taylor as he splits carries with Bradrick Shaw (84 yards and 1 TD on 18 carries) and Chris James (5 carries for 16 yards).

3. Scoring production was evenly spread out – The Badgers had 8 touchdowns against the Aggies. And 8 different players scored a touchdown. How about that for spreading the production around? Shaw, Taylor, Garrett Groshek, and Austin Ramesh provided the rushing scores. Troy Fumagalli, Quintez Cephus, and Zander Neuville had receiving scores as Alex Hornibrook had a highly efficient passing game going 15 for 23 with 244 yards and the 3 touchdown passes.

The penultimate score was probably the most fitting. Joe Ferguson, grandson of current Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown.

4. The defense rose to the occasion – Utah State had a strong start with 88 yards on offense and a 10-0 through one quarter. After that, the Badgers defense imposed their will. While many will point to the ejection of Utah State’s Jalen Davis as the turning point, this defense was hitting their stride about the same time and it is usually devastating for opponents when that happens.

While the Badgers gave up 304 yards (219 passing and 85 rushing), nearly half of those came on the final three Utah State drives when the game was no longer in doubt. The Badgers forced 4 turnovers including interceptions on back-to-back Utah State drives to end the first half and start the second half. That led to a tie game at halftime and then a two touchdown lead early in the third.

The most noticeable part of the defense was their hunger to keep the Aggies to only 10 points. They stopped the Aggies once on downs in the third quarter, then they had the pick six midway through the fourth quarter, and finally ended the game with a pass breakup in the end zone.

This Badgers defense, despite the loss of Jack Cichy for the season, looks just as good as the defenses of the previous few seasons. Keep in mind that the Badgers are on their third defensive coordinator (Jim Leonhard) in as many seasons.

Wisconsin will play at home next Saturday against Florida Atlantic. The game is scheduled for 12 PM Eastern Time on the Big Ten Network.

Alabama Running Back Tyren Jones Arrested, Dismissed

Tyren Jones scores against Western Carolina in 2014 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
Tyren Jones scores against Western Carolina in 2014 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Alabama Running Back Tyren Jones Arrested

The bad news simply will not stop for Alabama. Running back Tyren Jones, already suspended by head coach Nick Saban, has been arrested for possession of marijuana according to al.com.

From al.com:

“A Tuscaloosa police report states Jones was in a car stopped on 10th Avenue with the smell of marijuana. Officers found digital scales in the Dodge Challenger belonging to Brandon Lee Hansberry, who was also arrested.

A small amount of marijuana was found in the pants pocket of Jones. 

Jones was charged with second degree possession of marijuana. He was released on $1,000 bond. Two other unidentified passengers were in the car but were not charged with a crime.”

Jones was suspended by Saban on February 10 for “conduct not to the standard of the Alabama football program.”

After redshirting in 2013, Jones played in 11 games during the 2014 season. He had 224 yards and 2 touchdowns during the season while finishing as the fourth best rusher.

This weekend was a particularly bad one for Alabama players and arrests. It started early Saturday morning with the arrest of Geno Smith for DUI. It got worse on Sunday when defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor, already a risky signee of Saban’s, was arrested for domestic assault and then kicked off the team.

Nick Saban’s nightmare is only getting worse right now.

Update 9:04 PM EST – Jones has been dismissed from the football team by Nick Saban.

“He was dismissed from the team when he refused to follow the parameters given to him for reinstatement,” Saban said.

Alabama WR Cam Sims Tears ACL

Cam Sims catches a touchdown against Western Carolina in 2014 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
Cam Sims catches a touchdown against Western Carolina in 2014 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Alabama WR Cam Sims Tears ACL

The bad news for Alabama will not stop this weekend. The latest news is that wide receiver Cam Sims tore his ACL in practice, according to Matt Zenits of al.com.

Early Saturday morning, defensive back Geno Smith was arrested on a DUI charge. Then on Sunday, it was reported that defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor was arrested for domestic assault. Nick Saban  subsequently kicked Taylor off the team.

Sims posted an ominous Tweet about an injury, but offered no specifics.

As a true freshman in 2014, Sims played in 12 games finishing with 7 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown (pictured above). He was expected to see a lot more playing time with Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, and Christion Jones all moving on. Those three were the top three receivers on the Tide.

Recovery time for a torn ACL can be as quick as 6 months or as long as 12 months. That would mean Sims could be back as early the game at Georgia on October 3, but that would require everything goes correct in his rehab.

Another option would be to redshirt in 2015 with Sims coming back in 2016 as a redshirt sophomore and still have 3 years of eligibility.

Alabama’s spring practice comes to an end on Saturday, April 18.

Alabama DT Jonathan Taylor Arrested, Kicked Off Team

Jonathan Taylor with the Georgia Bulldogs in 2013 (247 Sports)
Jonathan Taylor with the Georgia Bulldogs in 2013 (247 Sports)

Alabama DT Jonathan Taylor Arrested

Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor has been arrested for domestic violence and criminal mischief according to Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News.

This is not Taylor’s first time in trouble and he was arrested before on domestic violence charges in July 2014 while a member of the Georgia Bulldogs. That incident facilitated his exit from Athens and he eventually ended up at Alabama as one of Nick Saban’s “second chance” signees.

The following is a statement released by Alabama regarding the signing of Taylor:

“Jonathan Taylor was admitted to The University of Alabama following the same procedures that the UA Admissions office uses to evaluate any student who has dealt with legal issues. The admissions process includes representatives from academic, legal, student affairs, student conduct, UAPD and counseling. Athletics is not involved in the admissions process. Taylor’s continued enrollment depends on his ability to fulfill all requirements the University has specifically mandated for him during his time as a UA student.”

As for this most recent incident, Taylor is in jail on two $500 bonds. Below are the details of the incident, per ESPN:

“According to an incident report, police officers responded to a call near Alabama’s campus to speak with a victim who told police she was assaulted by her boyfriend at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday.

After speaking to the victim about an altercation that took place at her residence, officers located the suspect at the victim’s residence and spoke to him about the incident. Officers found probable cause to arrest the suspect.

The 24-year-old victim had minor injuries to her neck from the assault, according to the police report. The officer also noted in the report damage to a bedroom closet door with a hole punched in it.”

As a Georgia Bulldog in 2013, Taylor played in 10 games and recorded nine stops. He also had 1.5 tackles-for-loss and a sack. He redshirted in 2012 as a freshman in his first year at Georgia.

Taylor’s arrest marks the second time an Alabama player has been arrested this past week. Previously, defensive back Geno Smith was arrested for DUI on early Saturday morning.

Update 11:14 AM EST: Alabama is aware of the incident regarding Jonathan Taylor.

Deborah Lane, associate vice president for university relations, released a statement Sunday morning saying: “UA is aware of the incident. The student has been referred to Judicial Affairs.”

Update 2:43 PM EST: Nick Saban has kicked Jonathan Taylor off the team in light of his arrest.

“Jonathan Taylor has been dismissed from the team and is no longer a part of our program,” Saban’s statement began. “This will still need to go through the legal process, but when he was given an opportunity here, it was under strict guidelines and we made it clear there was a zero tolerance policy.”