2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Wisconsin Offense
The O line needs to be the real deal. It’s hard to dog an offensive line with two NFL drafted players in G Michael Deiter and OT David Edwards, and another who’s better than both of them in current C Tyler Biadasz. It’s also tough to get nitpicky about a line that paved the way for a 2,000-yard rusher. But it didn’t always take over games like it was supposed to, at least for Wisconsin.
It rose up and rimrocked Miami’s defensive front in the bowl win, and it had its moments where it did the Badger thing of wearing down defenses as games rolled on, but now it has to be better despite the loss of four starters.
More than anything else, this group is responsible for keeping the chains moving. It’s subtle, but one of the biggest differences last season was time of possession. The Badgers had the ball for over 35 minutes a game in both 2016 and 2017. Last year, too many drives fizzled as the Badgers controlled the clock for barely over 32 minutes a game.
Biggest Key To The Wisconsin Defense
Get behind the line. The Badger defense was hardly bad, and it was able come up with turnovers, but it wasn’t the force it should’ve been on third downs, and that came from not making enough plays in the backfield.
Tackles for loss were a given for Bucky year after year, but the D dipped below the 70 TFL mark for the first time since 2013, and the quarterback pressures and sacks weren’t there, either.
Oddly enough, two of the better pass rushing performances came in the blowout losses to Michigan and Penn State, but this year, the pressure has to be steadier.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Graham Mertz, Fr.
The rest of the skill parts are there, and the quarterback has to take advantage of the supporting cast, and has to keep his poise behind a rebuilding O line.
Jack Coan did what he could in place of Alex Hornibrook, and it’s very, very possible he gets the call at USF to kick things off, but to be a major player in the Big Ten chase. the Badgers might be better off living through the growing pains sure to come from their great get from the recruiting class.
Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State … everyone wanted the 6-3, 216-pounder out of Kansas, but the pure passer with next-level tools pulled off a slight surprise when picking Wisconsin. He was fine in spring ball, but he didn’t do enough to take the job by the horns.
This August, he either needs to step up and look like the franchise guy he’s expected to become, or else Coan has to rock.
Key Game To The Wisconsin Season
Michigan, Oct. 21
The Badgers have to go to Ohio State and host Michigan State. They have to deal with Nebraska and Minnesota on the road, and have just enough dangerous other Big Ten games to deal with, too. Lose at home to Michigan
– Wisconsin Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Wisconsin Fun Stats
– Penalties: Wisconsin 74 for 657 yards – Opponents 44 for 421 yards
– Average Yards Per Carry: Wisconsin 6.2 – Opponents 4.4
– Red Zone TDs: Wisconsin 37-of-53 (70%) – Opponents 23-of-44 (52%)