Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the Wisconsin Badgers season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Wisconsin Previews 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
2018 Record: 8-5 overall, 5-4 in Big Ten
Head Coach: Paul Chryst, 4th year, 42-12
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WISCONSIN OFFENSE
– It’s not that the offense shut it down after Alex Hornibrook got hurt – the passing game threw it just as often with Jack Coan under center – and outside of the clunker losses against Michigan, Northwestern and Minnesota, it’s not like the running game didn’t work. The problem was that the formula didn’t necessarily work.
The defense wasn’t as strong as the 2017 version, and despite all the returning talent from the team that came within a drive against Ohio State from going to the College Football Playoff, the O wasn’t nearly as effective or efficient.
– Any improvement starts with a quick rebuild of the line that was great, but probably should’ve been better – at least in pass protection. It’s Wisconsin – about ten minutes from now, all parts of the starting five will be all-star candidates. However, even for this program, losing four starters is a big deal.
Tyler Bladasz, though, might be the nation’s top center, there’s plenty of massive next-level talents ready to fill in, and on the way is star recruit Logan Brown, a prototype NFL prospect who might just find a home right away.
– Of course the best running back in college football will do his thing, but Jonathan Taylor is a given. The Doak Walker winner ran for 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns, but with the 545 yards of Taiwan Deal gone, he needs more help. 232-pound Nakia Watson should emerge as a strong No. 2, Garrett Groshek turned into a nice thumper and a strong receiver, and getting back Bradrick Shaw after he missed all of last year hurt helps.
– Last year’s Badger receiving corps was good, and this one might be the best the program has had in a long, long time. The top four pass catchers are good, with AJ Taylor, Danny Davis, Kendric Pryor, and TE Jake Ferguson all good enough to crank up 30 catches or more, but …
– The quarterback play has to be better. Hornibrook is now a Florida State Seminole, but the Badgers have their guy in star recruit Graham Mertz. It’s going to be junior Jack Coan’s gig at least to start fall camp – he filled in late last year and completed 60% of his throw for 515 yards and five scores with three picks – but Mertz is it, with the talent and upside to be a difference-making passer.