As expected, Gary Andersen's debut as Wisconsin Badgers head coach was largely a success, albeit with some self-professed "teaching lessons" in the process. Wisconsin racked up 598 yards on 62 plays, averaging nearly 10 yards per snap.
How did the offense manage that? Statistics show the use of five sets of personnel, and a lot of what fans know as the standard brand of "Wisconsin Football," led to nearly 600 yards of offense, all the while not showing many exotic or unique formations to future opponents.
The following table breaks down the various personnel used by the Badgers Saturday afternoon. Personnel is broken down using a two-digit number; the first digit is the number of running backs used, the second the number of tight ends. For example, "21" means two running backs and one tight end in on a particular play. With 11 players on one side of the ball at a time, and a standard of five offensive linemen and one quarterback on the field as well, you can assume there are then two wide receivers with that set of personnel.
|11||0||6||Stave: 2-of-6, 1 INT|
|22||4||1||1||2 big runs, 24 & 70 yards|
|Total 1st half:||23||11||34||2|
|12||4||4||1||Stave: 3-of-3, 84 yards 1 TD|
|13||2||1||1||Stave play-action pass to Abbrederis|
|Total 2nd half:||21||7||28||4|
|Stave rolling out:||4-of-5||42 yards|
|Stave shotgun:||3-of-6||33 yards|
- Wisconsin ran over a third of its plays with the standard two-running back, one-tight end personnel, accumulating over seven yards per play. A lot of two wide receivers to one side of the field ("twins") was also implemented in this personnel group. as well. Simply put, it looked very much like old-school, smashmouth Wisconsin football.
- Those two-running back, two-tight end sets did a lot of damage, with big runs by senior James White (24 yards), Melvin Gordon (70) and Corey Clement (23) all coming from this personnel and collectively averaging about 16 yards per snap.
- One big change from the first to second halves was the reduced number of one-running back, one-tight end sets. Six passing plays out of this personnel group did not pan out as well in the first half as seen above, and one only, a 19-yard completion to Jordan Frederick, was attempted in the second half.
- The 21 and 22 personnels scored touchdowns for Wisconsin in both halves. The one-back, two-tight end sets really provided a spark in the second half, with Joel Stave going 3-for-3 and a touchdown pass.
- Although the coaching staff said they were going to pass more in the revamped offense, over 70 percent of the plays called were rushing. The familiar saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," applies here. There's no doubt the passing game will be utilized more throughout the year for bigger and badder opponents, but UMass could not stop three Badgers running backs from gaining over 100 yards apiece behind Ryan Groy and that Wisconsin offensive line.
- Nothing unique or exotic was shown by the Badgers today, which obviously helps them down the road. Their old bread-and-butter plays got the job done. It should be interesting to see what's shown in two weeks versus Arizona State and thereafter.