clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wisconsin football: Which position group has most to prove in 2016?

Our writers start our early 2016 previews highlighting which position groups could step up this year.

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Wisconsin
With Joel Stave gone, either Bart Houston (above) or Alex Horinbrook need to step up to lead the offense.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As's Mike Lucas noted early on Saturday, there are 98 days until the Wisconsin Badgers '2016 season begins. Head coach Paul Chryst will lead his team on the field against former defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and the LSU Tigers. Until then, and the start of summer camp in a couple of months, we'll ask some questions about this year's squad.

Which the Wisconsin position group has the most to prove this year?

Maxwell Brusky: I think they will come through, but I'm looking at the tight ends. A Chryst offense will be a Chryst offense when the tight ends are weapons in the passing game and destroyers in the running game. Troy Fumagalli looks like he can be a guy -- maybe even on the level of a Jacob Pederson or Sam Arneson -- but Eric Steffes will need to be healthy to show what he’s got. The young guns, Kyle Penniston and David Edwards, will need to show their potential is not just hype. The group could be the strength of the team, but there's a lot of unknowns.

Andrew Rosin: Quarterback was the position that was maligned in recent seasons to a point where people got tired of sports yelling, and with the graduation of history’s greatest monster, Joel Stave, it looked like it was going to fall to Bart Houston to start for 2016. Yet he scuffled during the spring, and while Alex Hornibrook had his moments of struggle too, the game seemed to slow down for him by the spring game. It’s a position that’s up in the air, and with the nasty first half of the season, it’s a position that needs to be answered.

Jon Arens: I definitely agree with Max on the importance of the tight end group to the team’s success, but in the nature of a table that is round, I shall pick a different position group. *spins wheel* Congratulations to the running backs! You have been selected as a group that needs to step it up.

This is Wisconsin. Their quarterback play is only as good as the running backs that scare you to put that one extra guy on the line. If Bart Houston was that great, he would've played before 2016. That is why we need you to do "The Things." Dare, UW needs you to be great in the passing game like you were last year. Taiwan, UW needs you to be a bulldozer and occasionally run off tackle for more than three yards. Corey, UW needs you to justify that (redacted German medical procedure) and be the “Sum of All Fears” for the other team’s defense, especially on first down. I only want Houston throwing on second and two when it is a crossing route to FOOMZ [ed. note -- nickname for Troy Fumagalli], and I only want him to throw 5-7 times a game.

This is the first potential three headed monster the Badgers have had in since the days of James White. Come up with a good running man meme dance and do the running man thing from Instagram. Do it with the confidence I lack. Do it for Wisconsin, because they are here to do one thing, and it is to "Run the Dang Ball." *throws clipboard skyward as dance club air horn sounds, high fives B5Q contributor Drew Hamm, who was here the whole time*

Owen Riese: I think it’s between the wideouts and the corners, but in a pinch, I’d have to say the cornerbacks. Only returning one starter in the secondary, they’ll need to be top notch to protect the first-time starter safeties. Sojourn Shelton has shown the ability to be a high level starter in the Big Ten, but Derrick Tindal and Natrell Jamerson have only been used in nickel situations for the most part, so having them acclimate to the higher level of competition and larger role will be huge for the defense’s success.