Wisconsin Football: Four Badgers who need more playing time

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 11: Bradrick Shaw (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 11: Bradrick Shaw (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Wisconsin Football
LINCOLN, NE – OCTOBER 07: Quarterback Alex Hornibrook (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

Chris James

The Badgers are running the ball well with the backs they have in rotation. There isn’t much to complain about with how Jonathan Taylor is running this year, with Taiwan Deal and Garrett Groshek handling secondary carrying duties. The only criticism I have of the running game is it might be a bit too predictable.

When Taylor and Deal are in the game, the offense usually lines up in a traditional power running formation. That’s where the carries come from for those two. On passing downs, Groshek comes into the game and the Badgers line up in the shotgun. The guesswork is eliminated for the defense whenever it sees No. 37 come into the game.

Sometimes Groshek gets carries out of the shotgun, but it’s not enough of a threat to matter to the defense. The offense needs to spice things up.

Enter, Chris James. He was supposed to be a large part of the offense last year with Bradrick Shaw until Taylor broke out. This year he was a likely candidate to spell Taylor until Deal had a great showing in non-conference play. Maybe there’s more to it, but James is a senior and has to be able to work into this offense somehow.

With a team that runs as often as the Badgers, there’s no excuse to not find more carries for James, or even Shaw when he comes back from his injury. Their running styles are unique to those already in the offense and they can add more wrinkles to the game plan for opposing defenses.

This team is spoiled with how many viable running backs it has. Paul Chryst needs to use them.