Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for: Bill Connelly previews Wisconsin. SB Nation's advanced metrics guru hits on everything in this preview, detailing Gary Andersen's offenses, defenses and overall tenure at Utah State, and how we can expect things to carry over to Wisconsin. There's also a lot of data to support the arguments we've made ourselves here over the past year; namely, Wisconsin could've and probably should've been a heckuva lot better than 8-6. In fact, Connelly calls the 2012 Badgers the best 8-6 team ever. TAKE THAT, COLLEGE FOOTBALL.
Connelly also loves Dave Aranda and thinks the 3-4 defense will be a terrific fit for the Badgers. The negatives? A certain lack of depth at wide receiver and along the offensive line. But hey, that's no surprise at all. Here's the greatest takeaway, noting that Connelly also isn't as on Ohio State as essentially everyone else (his OSU preview was posted this morning):
Wisconsin was better than its record last year and returns more than enough pieces to threaten for a fourth straight Rose Bowl. And instead of drawing, say, Michigan and Nebraska from the other division, the Badgers get Iowa (on the road) and Northwestern (at home). Everything is winnable ... except, perhaps, for the trip to Columbus on September 28.
Ahh yes. Back to the receivers. Jeff Potrykus continues his look at the receivers, which he sums up perfectly right at the top: "Different season, same predicament."
As Wisconsin enters preseason camp and prepares for the 2013 season, the new offensive coaches face the same nagging question that perplexed their predecessors regarding the team's wide receivers:
Will anyone develop into a consistent threat to complement Jared Abbrederis?
"We've got a long way to go," first-year wide receivers coach Chris Beatty said. "We're just not consistent enough right now."
Andersen made the ESPN rounds yesterday, and while that link above is to an ESPN Big Ten blog interview, media bros ESPN and non-ESPN related covered what Andersen had to say. I spent the full day yesterday moving to a new apartment, so that's my excuse.
Perhaps the greatest takeaway, if there is one from Andersen's TV, radio and print interviews? He's concerned about the wide receiver depth, and that's why I'm placing this here after Potrykus' preview.
Andersen definitely concerned about finding help at WR. Mentioned incoming freshman Robert Wheelwright as potential impact guy #ESPNB1G— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) July 31, 2013
Andersen says finding No 2, 3, 4 receivers will be big priority in camp. TEs also expected to step up to help Abbrederis. #ESPNB1G— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) July 31, 2013
No surprise that this is a high priority for Andersen entering camp, but it speaks well to Wheelwright's early progression that he's a candidate to be an early impact guy.
As the headline suggests, Ryan Groy is the leader for this o-line that's young, inexperienced and still, as always, talented. This is a quality preview, including interesting quotes from first-year offensive line coach T.J. Woods, who also lends some insight into recruiting the position that is worthwhile.
"To me, the key is the offensive line staying healthy, because the numbers are thin," UW coach Gary Andersen said. "They're good players, but those numbers are thin."
New offensive line coach T.J. Woods said in the spring that he would like to be at 16 scholarship linemen. The Badgers had 10 in the spring - and frequently had only eight healthy linemen practicing - and should have 12 scholarship players and six walk-ons when preseason camp opens.
Alums, the sixth edition of the Red Shirt is out. It's a good way to keep that alumnus spirit flowing, and the designs are usually pretty cool. I do indeed like this "By The Light of the Moon" one.
Note: The preseason USA Today coaches poll will be released around 11 a.m. CT today. As soon as it is, hit @B5Q for reaction and a link to the full poll. Where do you think should Wisconsin be ranked?