Wisconsin's Abbrederis Outshines Ohio State's Roby
It’s easy to forget about Jared Abbrederis.
He’s the redshirt senior receiver at Wisconsin, the best receiver on a team known for bone-crushing offensive lines and bruising 1,000-yard rushers. If Robin had a sidekick, his name would be Jared Abbrederis.
Not every role player is meant to stay hidden in the shadows, and Abbrederis found a way to shine on primetime TV last Saturday against the top collegiate cornerback in the country.
His name is Bradley Roby.
Roby runs a 4.39 40-yard dash, led the nation with 19 pass break-ups last season and is widely touted as the next shutdown corner in the NFL.
So, he’s good, arguably great, but he had his spotlight stolen in Columbus as Abbrederis abused him so much through three quarters that Ohio State coaches decided to stop lining up Roby across from Abbrederis during Wisconsin's last two drives.
What follows is a breakdown of every play that Abbrederis was thrown to while being covered, and that term is used loosely, by Roby.
FIRST QUARTER, FIRST DRIVE
Second-and-8, Badgers' 19-yard line: Abbrederis receives a quick screen on the left sideline. Roby tackles him for no gain.
Third-and-8, Badgers' 19-yard line: Abbrederies runs a quick slant. Roby stays with Abbrederis the whole way and breaks up the pass.
FIRST QUARTER, THIRD DRIVE
First-and-10, Badgers' 23-yard line: Abbrederis runs a 12-yard out route. Roby is caught backpedaling too far downfield and can’t break on the pass. Abbrederis gains 18 yards.
Third-and-6, Buckeyes' 36-yard line: Abbrederis runs a deep wheel route. Roby has good inside positioning, but is a half-step behind Abbrederis, who hauls in a 36-yard touchdown reception.
FIRST QUARTER, FOURTH DRIVE
First-and-10, Badgers' 23-yard line: Abbrederis runs a deep post route. Roby begins the play lined up across from Abbrederis, but halfheartedly jams him five yards downfield and bites on play action. Abbrederis finds a soft spot in Ohio State’s zone coverage and gains 64 yards.
SECOND QUARTER, FOURTH DRIVE
Second-and-11, Buckeyes' 14-yard line: Abbrederis runs an eight-yard out route, but Roby has tight coverage. The pass leads Abbrederis too far and there is no chance for a completition.
Third-and-11, Buckeyes' 14-yard line: Abbrederis runs a quick slant, and Roby tackles him just as the ball gets there. Abbrederis drops the pass.
SECOND QUARTER, SIXTH DRIVE
Second-and-6, Badgers' 48-yard line: Abbrederis receives a quick screen as Roby had begun to backpedal into a deep zone coverage. Abbrederis, uncontested for six yards, gains eight yards. Roby does not assist in the tackle.
First-and-10, Buckeyes' 44-yard line: Abbrederis runs the same wheel route that barely beat Roby earlier in the game. This time Abbrederis beats him by several steps for a 33-yard gain.
Second-and-10, Buckeyes' 11-yard line: Abbrederis runs a six-yard out route, but is tightly covered by Roby. The pass leads Abbrederis too far, falling incomplete.
FOURTH QUARTER, NINTH DRIVE
First-and-10, Badgers' 36-yard line: Abbrederis runs a 13-yard drag route and Roby begins to tackle him before the ball gets there. A 13-yard penalty is assessed to Roby for pass interference.
First-and-10, Buckeyes' 27-yard line: Abbrederis runs a go route, but puts a double move on Roby, who bites 10 yards downfield. Roby grabs Abbrederis’ jersey to prevent getting beat for a potential touchdown. A 10-yard holding penalty is assessed to Roby.
FOURTH QUARTER, 10TH DRIVE
Second-and-8, Badgers' 10-yard line: Abbrederis runs a quick slant and is immediately tackled by Roby for a six-yard gain.
Ohio State relieved Roby of his single man coverage duties on Abbrederis and played deep zone coverages during Wisconsin’s last two drives.
Abbrederis was targeted 13 times while being covered by Roby. Abbrederis caught seven passes for 165 yards and a touchdown against Roby and also drew two penalties for an additional 23 yards. Roby defended one pass, and Abbrederis dropped another while being hit by Roby.
NFL Draft Implications
Abbrederis isn’t the biggest receiver, nor is he the fastest, but he’s a reliable, talented and smart player that just helped his draft stock a lot. He understands how to find the soft spots against a zone coverage and is extraordinarily precise in his route running.
Roby showed that he is susceptible to being set up by early short routes that eventually turn into combination routes. Roby bites hard on everything he sees, from the run game to the first cut a receiver makes, causing him to get beat by lesser athletes.
Abbrederis has a potential future in the NFL as a number two receiver, and Roby needs to show that he can play more disciplined before he is touted again as the best cornerback in college football.