Friday, October 3, 2008

Featured Match-Up: Buckeyes @ Badgers


WISCONSIN TIGHT END Travis Beckum possesses great hands and the senior isn't afraid to sacrifice his body to make a play—he rarely drops the easy ones. His pass catching ability and speed allow him to stretch opposing defenses, much like a wide receiver. Beckum makes moves that typical tight ends simply do not make. Very dangerous in the open field, Beckum displays the ability to run precise routes. This may be why he can also line up as a wide out, working his way down the field with ease. The 21-year-old senior is a natural pass catcher, who made a seamless transition from defense. He has fallen just short of reaching 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons, but is off to a slow start in 2008 due to a hamstring injury.

AS BECKUM LOOKS to work downfield, he’ll run into Mr. James Laurinaitis. There are not many players who are as instinctive as this Buckeye. This is due in part to a studious attitude that sees Laurinaitis spend a great deal of time watching game film. The workout warrior has added weight and significantly increased his strength since his breakout season of 2006, but has done so without losing any of his valuable speed. Laurinaitis has the complete make-up to be an every down player—he owns the middle and knows how to lead the defense. The MIKE also has good hands, leading the club with his five interceptions as a sophomore. Highly productive, Laurinaitis is a two-time All-American.


TWO TIME HEISMAN Trophy winner and Buckeye legend Archie Griffin has taken to comparing a current OSU tailback to the great Jim Brown. Chris “Beanie” Wells is an explosive, compact runner—he is the complete package. The junior combines speed, strength, and acceleration with the vision and patience to let holes develop. He is willing to handle a large workload and his bruising running style can wear on opposing defenses, evidenced by several late, game-changing plays Wells has rattled off early in his career. There’s nothing not to like about this talented tailback. Wells missed two games earlier this season due to a foot injury, but returned last week to top 100 yards.

BEFORE BEANIE BREAKS one, he will have to get by Wisconsin defensive end Matt Shaughnessy. The powerful senior has excellent length, but lacks ideal bulk for a down lineman, which is why he uses his quickness to get into the offensive backfield against the run and the pass. He uses his hands well and effort is never an issue with this Badger. Shaughnessy also plays with his head—getting his hands up when he can’t reach the quarterback. The Connecticut native has excelled against top competition, including an impressive showing in the 2008 Outback Bowl (five tackles and two tackles for loss) against Tennessee.

What Do the Numbers Say?

Travis Beckum: 6’4, 221, 4.69

2008 Stats: 6 rec., 68 yards, 11.3 YPC; Career: 142 rec., 1953 yards, 13.8 YPC, 11 TDs

Chris Wells: 6’1, 237, 4.40

2008 Stats: 217 yards, 8.0 YPC, 1 TD; Career: 2,402 yards, 5.9 YPC, 23 TDs

James Laurinaitis: 6’2, 242, 4.59
2008 Stats: 47 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack; Career: 292 tackles, 18.5 TFLs, 10 sacks, 7

Matthew Shaugnessy: 6’5, 245, 4.74

2008 Stats: 11 tackles, 0 TFLs; Career: 145 tackles, 33.5 TFLs

Photo Credit: Collegiate Images