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Wisconsin Badgers news, 9/23: UW sets goals for improvement

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Andersen met with reporters Monday afternoon for his usual early-week press conference, laying out a few goals for the week after the Wisconsin Badgers thrashed Bowling Green on Saturday.

Get better on third down

Better 3rd down efficiency high on Gary Andersen's list |

One of the trends Andersen would like to see addressed has to do with third-down efficiency. The Badgers are converting at a 38.24 percent rate (13-for-34) and that's below average for a club with championship ambitions.

Since 1990 - a span of three head coaches - UW has finished a year with a third-down conversion ratio under 40 percent eight times. Half of those ended with losing records (1990, '91, '92 and 2001). Only the 2000 squad, which finished 9-4 overall, had decent success despite a conversion rate a tick below 40 percent (39.6).

Figure out deep attack

Badgers' vertical passing game lacking this season |

"When you want to be who we are and run the ball, which has not changed," Andersen said, "your inability to throw it down there a few times a game and take the top off the coverage, if you don't have that, it definitely is going to cause your offense to not be as effective as it could be.

"It is a spot that we're going to work hard on as we continue to move forward. And we hope to see signs of it as early as this week."

Quarterback Tanner McEvoy, who has completed 40 of 68 passes for 445 yards, has thrown deep balls to wide receivers eight times in three games.

He has yet to connect.

Keep crushing fools downfield

Fullback Austin Ramesh's blocking wins praise |

At 247 pounds, fullback Austin Ramesh is 64 pounds lighter than the lightest of Wisconsin's starting offensive linemen.

Center Dan Voltz, at 311, owns that title.

However, Ramesh earned membership in UW's O-line club with his performance Saturday against Bowling Green.

"He is basically an offensive lineman when he is blocking," senior right tackle Rob Havenstein said Monday. "He just has to run 5 yards and do it."

Be consistent

Wisconsin offense ready to build off record-setting game |

UW's offense, led by the line, must use the 68-17 victory over Bowling Green as a launch pad beginning Saturday against visiting South Florida.

"If we have a big performance this game and then we come out and we run for 60 yards the next game, what is the point?" Havenstein said. "Then we're right back to where we started.

"We don't want to take a step back. We want to go forward. The only way to do that is to continue to grind during practice."

More links:

How the Badgers ran and passed: Game 3 | Fox Sports Wisconsin

Safety Caputo has come a long way to be Badgers' top tackler | Fox Sports Wisconsin

Not since safety Jim Leonhard, who co-led the Badgers with 98 tackles in 2003, has a Wisconsin player ranked first on the team in tackles and not played linebacker. It is not quite as rare as an ice cube in the Sahara Desert, but it seems awfully close.

Big Ten Power Poll: Week 5 | BadgerBlitz

Strong Weighing UW Walk-On Offer | BadgerNation

Pfaff at Ease at Wisconsin