been pawing through many message board posts, as well as pre-season
publications. I have noticed that the consensus for NOT picking
Wisconsin to contend for the Big Ten title is their "lack
of an experienced QB".
can say is... whaaat??? Jim Sorgi is not your average "take-over"
QB. This guy has started five games in his previous three
years with UW. He's completed 55 percent of his passes for
16 TDs (against 12 INTs) for a pass efficiency rating of 134.9.
His career total of 2,247 passing yards is 14th all-time at
UW- a ranking that is CERTAIN to improve after this year.
THAN JUST MOP UP DUTY
It wasn't just garbage time he played, either. As I mentioned
earlier, he started FIVE games, and here is what he did in
each of them:
vs. Purdue: 21-of-29 passing (74%), 243 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
vs. Oregon: 16-of-32 (50%), 231 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
vs. Fresno State: 13-of-31 (42%), 246 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
vs. Michigan State: 10-of-19 (53%), 191 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs)
vs. Illinois: 13-of-23 (57%), 162 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
been as much of a part of the Wisconsin offense as a third-down
receiver. He gave the Badgers that downfield passing presence
Brooks Bollinger simply could not. When UW needed him, there
he was- right next to offensive coordinator Brian White and
head coach Barry Alvarez. A quiet, modest guy, he never barked
for playing time. He knew well of his own talents and knew
the coaches would turn to him at just the right time.
IS THE TIME
Since the last three years are gone, and though they have
been fruitful for young Sorgi, all anyone will remember is
this ONE, potentially magical season. Everyone should soon
remember him as the guy who either 1.) Brought the Badgers
another Big Ten title, or 2.) Couldn't quite get it done.
Now is go time for all to decide, the time to step up. NOW
is the time.
THE RIGHT TOOLS
Look at what he has to work with:
the best bunch of receivers in the Big Ten. Former All-Big
Ten pass-catcher, Lee Evans returns (supposedly better than
ever) along with Jonathan Orr, Brandon Williams, Darrin Charles,
and a few noteworthy tight ends. These guys are stars in their
own right. Sorgi on the passing end will only make them shine
- He has
a running game that can keep secondaries at bay and freeze
a defense to a degree of honesty. This "decoy" will
allow him to work his way through the middle and deep parts
of the field, dispersing the ball to his stocked arsenal of
aforementioned receivers. Remember Darrell Bevell's success
in 1993's magical season? He had two great runners to take
some pressure off his arm, and it worked wonderfully. Expect
much of the same from Sorgi.
the offensive line brings back only TWO starters from a year
ago, Madison has been a haven for breeding big uglies (linemen
that is). Barry knows what to look for in the trenches and
seems to recruit NFL-caliber linemen every year- something
they seemed to lack in their "dismal days". They
should be well adapted by the time Big Ten play starts.
intangibles. This is Sorgi's fifth year in the system. He
also has had four years of practice and game experience that
have systematically instilled proper decision-making abilities.
He is also an EXTREMELY smart student, and carries his wily
intelligence over to the football field. He does not beat
you with jaw-dropping physical ability - he utilizes the greatest
tool any good QB has, his mind. Once he starts to beat you
mentally, that's when his physical gifts start to kick in
and you don't care about anything except how to stop him.
Sorgi will win games, likely enough to come close to (or just
outright) win the Big Ten title and take the Badgers to Pasadena
(New Orleans?). The key will be how he fares in those big
games. The Badgers have seven home games, including three
against rivals - Ohio State, Purdue, and Iowa. If he establishes
control in these outings, Wisconsin will be in for a big season.
And, by year's end, Sorgi's experience should come full circle,
shaming naysayers for such doubtful justification (even if
it is only his own stats that impress).