Five ways the Wisconsin Football Offense can improve in 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Alex Hornibrook (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 25: Alex Hornibrook (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Wisconsin Football - Bradrick Shaw
MADISON, WI – OCTOBER 14: T.J. Jallow (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

2. More contribution from backup players

This wasn’t much of an issue for the receivers last year. When the leader went down with an injury, the underclassmen stepped up just fine. A.J. Taylor had over 100 yards receiving in the Orange Bowl, and Danny Davis caught three touchdown passes in the same game. The talent is plenty deep from that group and has added even more talent from recruiting.

Where the problems lie is in the backfield. Bradrick Shaw went into 2017 as the starter. There was a lot of hype surrounding him, and for good reason. In reserve minutes in 2016, he put up promising numbers. It was easy to project him as the next great Wisconsin running back. Chris James transferred in and was also expected to be a big contributor to a relatively inexperienced backfield. Neither Shaw nor James met expectations. It was only because of Jonathan Taylor the running game was as good as it was.

Taylor ran for way more yards than Corey Clement did in 2016, but the rushing attack was more balanced with Dare Ogunbowale and a healthy Shaw. It’s fun to see Taylor put up monster numbers, but it’s better in the long run if there’s at least one other back able to break 400 yards rushing behind him. Both Ogunbowale and Shaw did so in 2016.

That contribution can come from one of many places in 2018. Shaw may get back from his injury a bit late to start the season, but James, Garrett Groshek, and true freshman Nakia Watson are others that could help reduce the load on Taylor.