What can’t Alec Ingold and Austin Ramesh do in the Wisconsin Badgers’ offense?
As we’ve seen with former UW fullbacks, the 2017 iteration of the fan-cherished position group is versatile and effective. With both players, you see a combination of skill sets that heavily contribute to the success of the offense.
In 2016, the two leading fullbacks scored a combined five rushing touchdowns (Ramesh three, Ingold two) with Ingold reeling in another two through the air. Their blocking contributed to another 1,000-yard rusher in Corey Clement and provided critical roles in a scheme that started to show signs of recovering after a rough 2015.
This season, Wisconsin’s fullbacks should continue to excel.
Wisconsin’s 2017 Fullbacks
|Austin Ramesh||R-SR||6'1||251||Land O' Lakes, Wis.|
|Alec Ingold||JR||6'1||241||Green Bay, Wis.|
|Aaron Maternowski||R-FR||6'0||245||Slinger, Wis.|
|Jake Whalen||R-SO||6'1||236||Wausau, Wis.|
Ramesh was out for the spring due to an undisclosed injury, though head coach Paul Chryst mentioned in April that the redshirt senior should be available for summer workouts. The 6’1, 251-pounder can block well and also could be used to put six points on the board in goal-line situations, as seen against Ohio State and Penn State. The former prep standout running back also pulled off a very sneaky, game-clinching first-down run against Western Michigan in UW’s 24-16 Cotton Bowl win on Jan. 2.
Having a healthy Ramesh is critical to the offense’s success, but Ingold has transitioned nicely into being a fullback after time at tailback in 2015. In his young career, he has already scored 10 touchdowns (eight rushing, two receiving) and like Ramesh has been used on fullback dives to throw off defenses and get much-needed yardage.
Ingold’s presence in the passing game was seen against Purdue, when he reeled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bart Houston in November. That came after a touchdown run earlier in the game.
Play-action...— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) November 19, 2016
Over the top...
Bart Houston to Alec Ingold for the 19-yard touchdown pass! #OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/4twTQzbcdT
What Chryst does with his stable of fullbacks is heavily impressive. They should continue to give the offense the versatility it needs to move the chains this season. Many Badgers defenders believe so, as they told UWBadgers.com’s Mike Lucas back in late April:
Any discussion of the running game must include the Wisconsin fullbacks, the "Ramgold" combo of Alec Ingold and Austin Ramesh, who was injured during spring drills. "If we keep those two guys healthy," Dooley said, "we're going to be pretty good."
Ingold, a converted tailback, could be utilized as a third-down back. "He's a real efficient blocker," said Cichy, knowing the importance of picking up blitzers in that role. "He's able to get good hand placement and that's huge for blocking on offense. He does a really good job at that."
Behind those two, Aaron Maternowski and Jake Whalen appear to be the reserves unless any other roster changes are made before the beginning of fall camp. Maternowski is a walk-on who played defensive line as a prep standout for Slinger, Wis.
Whalen, a redshirt sophomore, missed spring practices due to a shoulder injury. The Wausau, Wis., native played in four games last season and recorded a tackle against Penn State in the Big Ten Championship game. That was as an outside linebacker—like many UW fullbacks before him, Whalen made the switch to the offensive backfield.