Beckum shut down by Vols defense

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoTAMPA, Fla. ? After scorching opposing secondaries to the tune of 73 receptions and 960 yards during the regular season, UW tight end Travis Beckum looked into the possibility of foregoing his senior season in favor of making the jump to the National Football League.Beckum eventually elected to return to Wisconsin for one more season, meaning the Outback Bowl won?t be the last time pro scouts will have a look at the tight end.And that?s probably something he?s happy about.Using a variety of coverages, including bracketing him with an athletic cornerback matched up man-to-man on him with a safety helping over the top, Tennessee was dead-set on doing whatever it could to limit Wisconsin?s leading receiver.That plan worked, as Beckum was held to a season-low two catches for 22 yards.?A lot of times when we were breaking the huddle, there were one or two (Tennessee) guys pointing at him,? Bielema said. ?He?s a tremendous football player, and we?re going to take this game forward and hopefully learn some things.?Tennessee?s ability to limit his effectiveness clearly started to wear on the Wisconsin junior. Beckum was visibly angry several times in the second half, and after quarterback Tyler Donovan missed seeing Beckum open and waving ferociously on the failed fourth down attempt, the tight end slammed his helmet down on the sidelines.?I know he was frustrated,? Bielema said. ?I grabbed him at halftime at a time he was really frustrated coming off the sideline. When you?re a big playmaker and you don?t get the chance to make those things, that can be frustrating.?After the game, Beckum chose to measure his words about that fourth down attempt.?I think we left things on the field. I think we could have scored on that play, but ? we didn?t,? Beckum said, adding he thought he was open on the play. Rusty after layoffFor Wisconsin, it had been 44 days since its exciting victory over Minnesota to close out the season on Nov. 17. For Tennessee, meanwhile, the layoff was only one month after having played in the SEC Championship Game Dec. 1.?In the first half everybody including myself was kind of going through the motions, just kind of dragging along,? linebacker DeAndre Levy said. ?It had been a long time since we?d played live football, I think everybody was a little out of the loop.?The flat-footedness came as somewhat of a surprise, especially considering the Badgers had won six of their last eight bowl games, including their last two.?That was a shock,? Levy said. ?Usually we?re the team that comes out swinging first. It doesn?t matter how good you finish if you don?t start at all.?In this season, as in years past, Big Ten teams had been barred from playing games after Thanksgiving. That will change next year after conference presidents approved the playing of conference games after the holiday. UW has already begun looking into moving its game against Iowa, currently scheduled for Oct. 18, to after Thanksgiving or playing its remaining unscheduled non-conference game during that same week. Doing so would mean a shorter layoff between the last regular season game and a potential bowl game. Donovan stands tallIt was a trend that seemingly replicated itself in every game the Badgers played this year: quarterback Tyler Donovan takes a ton of big hits, either after delivering a pass while standing in the pocket or making a desperate attempt to pick up extra yardage at the end of a run, and gets back up every time.That continued against Tennessee, when Donovan needed to be helped off the field twice, but returned both times and missed only two snaps.?Tyler, he?s a really brave dude,? wide receiver Paul Hubbard said. ?He?s got a lot of courage, and he?s just a playmaker. He wants to play.?last_img

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