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COACH LEIPOLD WEEKLY RADIO SHOW ON ESPN MILWAUKEE
Coach Lance Leipold will have a weekly radio show again this year on 540 AM, ESPN RADIO MILWAUKEE. You also have the option to subscribe to, listen to, or watch the podcast by clicking HERE.
Rating the Hawks: UW-W at Franklin College
This is a feature in which I rate the UW-W performance of the various position groups in the most recent Warahwk game. Disclaimer: The evaluations are done based on what I saw and without the benefit of consultation with coaches. Because I'm not 100% aware of specific assignments on every offensive and defensive set, it is possible that I could assign responsibility to the wrong position group on occasion.
5 Hawks- This is a rarity. It’s a gem, a Stagg Bowl winning type performance. These should be handed out rarely.
4 Hawks- This is a winning performance. If all units grade out at 4 Hawks, UW-W walks off the field a winner.
3 Hawks- This is in the range that I would call solid. It is probably above average for most teams. A 3 Hawk performance will not lose a game for a team unless the opponent is of the highest level and plays an excellent game. In most games, UW-W can afford several 3 Hawk performances as long as they are supplemented with some 4 Hawks and not 2 Hawks.
2 Hawks- An average performance in which no particular advantage was gained against the other team. This would be a rating that is lower than the Warhawks have for themselves. Needs improvement. Not necessarily a bad performance. Just one in which mistakes were made that need correcting.
1 Hawk- A rare and surprisingly poor performance. One of these could cause a loss if not made up for in other facets of the game.
Offensive Line and Tight Ends: 4.5 Hawks
The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage on Saturday as the Warhawks had three ball carriers average over 10 yards per carry and quarterbacks Matt Behrendt and Chris Nelson were sacked only once between them and were rarely pressured other than an occasional designed naked bootleg when the defensive end stayed home. There was a play or two that one of the linemen missed an assignment allowing a defender to rush untouched.
Other than end of the game kneel-downs, the Warhawks had only 4 negative yardage plays in 61 snaps. On the rare occasion a play was disrupted in any way by the defensive line of Franklin, more often than not the culprit appeared to be a missed assignment rather than a lineman losing a battle on the line of scrimmage.
Particularly encouraging for UW-W is that some of the largest holes of the day were created by the second team offensive line who, for the second consecutive week, played a significant number of snaps.
Wide Receivers: 4.0 Hawks
Four wide receivers caught balls Saturday with Jake Kumerow leading the way with 9 catches for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns. The chemistry between Kumerow and QB Matt Behrendt is exceptional. On numerous occasions Behrendt threw the ball as Kumerow was making his break and before he turned around. At 6’5”, Kumerow is a beast in the red zone and trying to cover him with a shorter corner is simply not going to work. Behrendt is too adept and throwing the corner fade and Kumerow is too good at high pointing the ball. Joe Worth showed fantastic determination and athleticism on his touchdown catch and both he and Marcus Hudson showed an ability to sit in the dead spot of a zone and make a catch with their back to the safeties and linebackers. Justin Howard continues to show exceptional acceleration after the catch. This unit also does a good job of blocking downfield. Only a couple of drops by this unit prevents the grade from being higher.
Quarterback: 4.5 Hawks
There is a high likelihood that this paragraph will look pretty much the same every week. Matt Behrendt has become that good and that consistent. Beyond his stat-line, 19 for 25 for 224 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions, Behrendt demonstrates the composure and leadership skills that are so important at the QB position.
One play that exemplified Behrendt’s poise occurred with 2:39 remaining in the second quarter. Whitewater held a slim 14-13 lead and were backed up at their own one yard line after a defensive goal line stand thwarted the Grizzlies. Behrendt went back on a 5 step drop and calmly looked over the middle before throwing a 44 yard strike to Jake Kumerow down the right sideline. The fact that the coaches trusted Behrendt and the offensive line with that play in that situation speaks volumes. The way the offense handled it cranked the volume even louder. Only a desperation pass-interference grab and push by the defender forced Kumerow out of bounds after the catch and prevented a 99 yard TD pass.
Behrendt also shows a great ability to keep plays alive and a knack for gaining yards when he chooses to pull the ball down. Chris Nelson completed 2 of 4 passes in a back up role. He throws a really nice ball and demonstrates the poise of a starter when he is out there. I actually changed this rating from a 5.0 which I first posted. Not because of anything Matt did wrong in his performance as much as wanting to keep the 5.0 category for performances truly rare. I have a feeling we will see Matt do what he did Saturday quite often this year. Perhaps had his yardage total been closer to 300 the quarterback position would have gotten the first 5.0 rating of the year.
Running Backs 4.5 Hawks
The three running backs with the most carries all averaged over 10 yards per carry, with Nick Patterson leading the way with 141 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Dennis Moore (7 carries for 85 yards) and Ryan Givens (7 carries for 74 yards) also helped carry the load. With last year’s leading rusher Jordan Ratliffe not making the trip due to an injury, UW-W is surely running back rich this year. Patterson showed a rare combination of vision, power, and ability to make cuts on a dime. Both Givens and Moore also had runs of 30+ yards. Patterson had no negative yardage carries and only 3 carries in 14 attempts that were less than 4 yards. Moore was the only back to catch a pass with a 14 yard fourth quarter reception on 3rd and 19.
Special Teams: 2.5 Hawks
Lake Bachar has a special leg. Here is a listing of where he kicked his seven kickoffs. The Grizzlies resulting field position is listed in ().
4 yard line (25).
Out of the end zone on the fly.
Goal line (21).
4 yards deep in the end zone (16).
8 yards deep in the end zone (14)
7 yard line (25)*
Out of the end zone on the fly.
The kick to the seven yard line was clocked to have a hang time of 4.13 seconds. As a point of reference for that hang-time, according to Prokicker.com, of the Top 25 ranked high School kickers in the Nation in 2014, only 2 of the top 25 ranked kickers in the Country had even one kickoff with a hang time greater than 4.13. Also, in August of this year, Arizona Cardinals’ Head Coach Bruce Ariens declared that the battle of his two pretty equal kickers would be won by the kicker with the best kickoff hangtime during preseason. The two kickers competing for the job were veteran Jay Feeley and rookie Chandler Catanzaro. Feeley’s average kickoff hang time was 3.8 seconds and Catanzaro’s was 4.1.
Punts- High Snap, Bachar’s only punt got the benefit of the roll and ended up as a 39 yarder with no return.
Field Goal: Bachar missed a 31 yard fourth quarter field goal that bounced off the left upright.
Punt Return-Marcus Mclin and Justin Howard both had nice 17 yard returns.
Kickoff Return-Justin Howard returned the opening kickoff from the goal line to the 11. Marcus Mclin returned the other two kickoffs. One he returned from the 4 to the 18. The other he returned from the goal line to the 23, but a block in the back moved the ball back to the 6.
There is plenty to clean up here. The following were all part of UW-W’s special teams day: A missed 31 yard field goal, a high snap on a punt, a kickoff return to the 11, and a penalty on another kickoff return resulting in a possession starting at the six yard line. The punt returns, Bachar’s booming kickoffs, and a decent job by the kickoff coverage unit is what pushes the overall special teams rating up to 2.5 Hawks.
Defensive Line- 4.5 Hawks
The defensive line held firm in anchoring the Warhawks defensive effort on Saturday. As usual, their deep rotation and game long pounding wore down their opponent. The threat of defensive line dominance reduced the bulk of Franklin’s attack to read option counters, screen passes, and short drag passes. Defensively, UW-W held Franklin to 2.6 yards per carry and the D-line holding firm was a big part of that. Mykaell Bratchett had a big game for the Warhawks with 2.5 tackles for loss and 2 QB sacks. The interior of the Warhawks defensive line held firm and gave up nothing up the middle. It was as if Franklin College knew better than to even try.
Linebackers- 3.0 Hawks
This was an excellent test and learning experience for the young Warhawk linebackers. They were given all kinds of different looks and Franklin attempted to attack the linebackers in both the passing game as well as the running game. There will obviously be some growing pains with this group, but that’s to be expected. At times guys out of position a little bit. Over-pursuit and missed tackles were issues at times as well. This things occur in almost every football game at every level. But keep in mind also that these ratings are based on very high championship standards. To expect this group to duplicate the performance of last year’s group would be absurd. That group was one of the greatest group of linebackers in school history. The starting group Saturday consisted of a freshman, a sophomore, and a junior.
But here’s the other side of that. This group may have been the “most valuable unit” on the defensive side. Not that they outperformed the more experienced defensive line or the experienced secondary. But the defensive line and secondary were not going to lose this game. And while the linebackers came in unknown, it turns out, they were not going to lose it either. After allowing 150 yards in the first two series, the Hawk defense gave up only 153 in the final eight Franklin College possessions. After giving up 13 points in the first two drives, the Warhawks shut out the Grizzlies the rest of the way. The linebacker play was pretty solid for such a young group, especially as the game wore on. Justin Dischler led the unit with 6 tackles, a sack, an interception, and a forced fumble.
Secondary- 4.0 Hawks
Led by cornerbacks Brady Grayvold and Marcus Mclin, the secondary played a solid game. The number of balls caught by receivers guarded by Grayvold and Mclin can be counted on one hand total. Grayvold showed himself, as always, to be an able and willing tackler and also got his first interception of the year. Mclin provided his usual tight coverage and for the most part, Franklin didn’t even bother.
The safeties played pretty well. Zach Nellis had eight tackles and Ryan Winske had five. While there were a couple of times alignment and over-pursuit were issues, as with linebackers, that will happen in almost every game.
Coaching- You didn’t seriously think I would have the gall to grade our coaches did you?
Note: These are just my opinions on performances based on my evaluation of the game. They are not in any way reflective of the opinion of anyone else and certainly not the coaching staff. My hope is simply that it provides interesting reading for fans. None of the evaluations are meant to demean any player or position group. Heck, I’m not even saying they are right! I just hope for them to be interesting.
HAWK FACT OF THE WEEK: After two games, the Warhawks already have four different running backs who have long runs of 30 or more yards.
Upcoming Content This Week:
Wednesday Night: A "Stock Up/Stock Down" look at the WIAC Conference and which teams look more and less promising than expected based on their first two games.
Thursday Night: A Preview of Saturday's game at The College of New Jersey including a prediction on the final score.