The 2022 football season will be here before you know it, but before that we have to get through winter conditioning, spring football and fall camp. That doesn’t mean we can’t start speculating about what the depth chart will look like though! Belz, Owen and Tyler got together on a Google Doc and discussed their thoughts on how UW will lineup next season.
First up we’ve got the offense. We’ll have the defense for y’all next week.
(Just so it’s clear, for each position the player listed first is starting. The only place this may be confusing is at wide receiver. WR 1 and WR2 are two different positions and the first player listed is who the writer thinks will be starting.)
2022 Projected Offensive Depth Chart
|QB||Graham Mertz, Chase Wolf||Graham Mertz, Chase Wolf||Graham Mertz, Chase Wolf|
|RB||Braelon Allen, Chez Mellusi||Braelon Allen, Chez Mellusi||Braelon Allen, Chez Mellusi|
|FB||Cam Large, Riley Nowakowski||Riley Nowakowski, Marty Strey||Riley Nowakowski, Marty Strey|
|WR1||Chimere Dike, Skyler Bell||Chimere Dike, Skyler Bell||Chimere Dike, Skyler Bell|
|WR2||Markus Allen, AJ Abbott||Markus Allen, Stephan Bracey||Markus Allen, Stephan Bracey|
|TE||Jack Eschenbach, Clay Cundiff||Jack Eschenbach, Clay Cundiff||Jack Eschenbach, Clay Cundiff|
|LT||Logan Brown, Nolan Rucci||Logan Brown, Nolan Rucci||Logan Brown, Nolan Rucci|
|LG||Tanor Bortolini, Michael Furtney||Michael Furtney, Tanor Bortolini||Tanor Bortolini, Michael Furtney|
|C||Joe Tippmann, Cormac Sampson||Joe Tippmann, Cormac Sampson||Joe Tippmann, Cormac Sampson|
|RG||Jack Nelson, Michael Furtney||Jack Nelson, Tanor Bortolini||Jack Nelson, Michael Furtney|
|RT||Tyler Beach, Trey Wedig||Tyler Beach, Trey Wedig||Tyler Beach, Trey Wedig|
Let’s start off with not a question…talk to me about your offensive line choices!
Belz: I think Logan Brown is entering now or never mode. Regardless of who the new offensive line coach is, I would imagine that Brown is someone that the staff would like to see in the starting lineup. I think LT makes the most sense for him, and Tyler Beach was better as a right tackle in 2020 than at left in 2021. Beach will probably keep a starting spot, but I think he could get pushed by some of the younger tackles on the roster with more upside. I don’t see Joe Tippmann or Jack Nelson losing their spots, and that leaves left guard. I think it will come down to Michael Furtney or Tanor Bortolini. I would give the edge to Bortolini after he made multiple spot starts the past two seasons along the line, left guard included.
Owen: In my opinion, Tyler Beach throws a big monkey wrench into this. I went with Logan Brown at left tackle, because it’s time to see what you’ve got with him and see if he can sink or swim. Worst case scenario, you can always go back to Beach at LT if you don’t have any better options. Furtney is a senior and will get first dibs at winning the left guard job, Joe Tippmann is one of the better centers in the Big Ten already, Nelson was so good at right guard, why move him, and Beach is at right tackle with Tanor Bortolini or Trey Wedig or Riley Mahlman all looking for opportunities.
Tyler: I agree with Owen that Tyler Beach throws a curveball into the entire OL room. However, it can never hurt to have depth and experience at a key position. I think Logan Brown gets the shot at left tackle because as Matt said it’s now or never. I think the left guard spot will be a battle and may the best may win, right? After that I think Tippman and Nelson are as solid as solid can be in a spot. Seems to me based on that equation that Beach is your right tackle with young guys trying to beat him out.
Barring an incoming transfer/serious injury is there any way Graham Mertz isn’t under center Week 1?
Belz: Don’t think so. I think the bigger question at quarterback is can Deacon Hill and/or Myles Burkett push Chase Wolf for the No. 2 job.
Owen: In a word: no. (Also, you don’t want anyone else on the roster starting!)
Tyler: I sure hope not, I don’t need to see anyone else under there anytime soon. Excited to see Hill and Burkett someday but I don’t think they’d be anywhere close to ready.
Any freshmen making your two-deep on offense?
Belz: I think Markus Allen is probably the most likely. Skyler Bell is another possibility, but I think the Badgers will be active in the WR transfer market which could push him down the depth chart potentially. I can imagine a scenario where Riley Mahlman or Nolan Rucci lock down a reserve tackle spot as well, but I still think Allen is the surest bet right now.
Owen: Markus Allen and Skyler Bell should both be in the top-four for receivers at the moment, but outside of that, Nolan Rucci as the backup LT.
Tyler: I think Markus Allen and Sykler Bell are both going to be in there both because of talent and lack of having a lot of others. Rucci or Mahlman maybe as a backup tackle would make a ton of sense.
While compiling your depth charts, did you see anyone who you think might transfer OUT due to playing time?
Belz: I think the places to look are at wide receiver and offensive line. With multiple starting roles up for grabs, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a player or two think about moving on if they aren’t in the two-deep. A guy like A.J. Abbott, who will be a senior in the wideout room, is a possible candidate considering the duo of Bell/Allen could leapfrog him.
Along the offensive line, interior guys like Michael Furtney and/or Cormac Sampson will both be seniors next season, and if they don’t grab a starting spot this year the starters will likely be younger than them. Furtney’s brother plays at Eastern Michigan and he would probably be a starter there for sure.
Owen: Honestly the offensive line scares me in this regard. With Beach coming back, the thought of a fourth year sitting and waiting for Logan Brown or a third for Trey Wedig could be a bit disheartening, and we’ll continue to see stuff like this until the COVID eligibility free season is worked through.
Tyler: Offensive line is probably going to be the spot that would make the most sense. Despite the shortcomings in this last recruiting class they still have a lot of talent in that room. Talent that probably was ok with sitting one year but is going to be wanting on the field here soon. Again, the Tyler Beach wrench makes it very possible for someone to head out. There are five spots to take and two of them are gone in my opinion so someone is going to be the odd man out and could leave.