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Wisconsin Badgers Football: Gary Andersen Wants to Add Sizzle to Offense


Wisconsin Badgers head coach Gary Andersen wants to add some diversity to the playbook this season, something fans have not seen since Russell Wilson came to town.

Now this is not going to be a full on spread offense. Melvin Gordon, one of the most explosive players in the country, will still be the focal point of the offense. But there will be some wrinkles of the spread incorporated at Camp Randall Stadium this season.

Via FoxSports.com, Andersen was quoted as saying, “we have pieces of that … and they did it with Russell.”

I get that the Badgers were highly successful with Wilson under center with Bret Bielema on the sidelines. Although personally I think that the Badgers could have been more successful if Andersen was coaching then, but that’s another story for another time.

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But how often does Wisconsin get a high-caliber, future NFL starter and Super Bowl champion quarterback like Wilson land in Madison? Not very often, and the options that Andersen has to work with are limited.

Last season’s starter Joel Stave is coming off a shoulder injury suffered in the Capital One Bowl, was very limited in spring and is now starting to feel 100%. Not to mention Stave’s inconsistencies of last year, throwing six touchdowns and five picks in the final three games of the season. That includes the loss at home to Penn State in which Stave threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw three picks as well on senior night.

The other quarterback competing for the starting job is Tanner McEvoy, who gives Andersen the mobility he is looking for. However McEvoy, who came to campus as a quarterback and then moved to safety last season and now back to quarterback, doesn’t has yet to show what he can do at the position.

With opposing defenses keying in on the running game and no real go-to receiver, it will be interesting just how well this spread wrinkle will be effective. McEvoy seems to be the clear cut choice to win the starting job, but Stave could surprise people in fall camp now that he seems to be fully recovered.

Hopefully this wrinkle works out and takes away a lot of the pressure that will be facing Heisman Trophy candidate Melvin Gordon and provides him with plenty of scoring opportunities.

Tags: Featured Football Gary Andersen Popular Wisconsin Badgers

  • sadashell

    I think we know the story here. If Stave wins the job as expected he’ll still have to visibly erase the erratic throwing of last year or face the bench in short order. Not sure how well our schedule will prove this out though, with the LSU trial by fire right out of the gate followed by a relatively soft schedule where we’d be expected to dominate or at least win with any of our options behind center.

    While playing the pocket, we could find an option or two for Stave, who could occasionally take advantage of a cheating defense (even if he’s no Russell Wilson). But if he’s going to be more than a footnote he needs to earn the requirements of (especially) a very dependable short passing arm and fewer downfield mistakes .

    • Taylor Johnson

      If Stave wins the job, then he would have to really show the coaches that he has improved on his inconsistency from a year ago. With no real go-to receiver, I feel that there will be a lot of short passes to be made and Stave better be able to complete them.

      Just a threat, even if it is a small one, of a passing game will really alleviate some of the pressure off of Gordon. And if he is the guy that Andersen goes with and they are able to add some wrinkles with him, then I’m all for it. But like you said, if he’s not able to make the short throws or limit mistakes it could be a short time before he’s riding the pine.