Head coach Luke Fickell has narrowed in on his offensive coordinator, as Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reported that Wisconsin is hiring UNC offensive coordinator Phil Longo as their next man at the position.
SOURCE: Phil Longo is leaving UNC to go to Wisconsin to become the Badgers OC. He had a prolific offense in Chapel Hill and helped develop Drake Maye into a star this year. He's had a strong relationship with Luke Fickell for awhile and he interviewed for the Cincy OC before.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 7, 2022
Longo, who has served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 2019 for the Tar Heels, now takes over Bobby Engram’s role, who was a first-year coordinator and play-caller for the Badgers this year.
However, the hiring of Longo represents a significant shift in offensive philosophy, as the offensive coordinator utilizes an Air-Raid passing attack, whereas the Badgers have maintained a strong ground-and-pound attack for the past decade.
ESPN’s Mike Golic shared that UNC has utilized 11 personnel(1 running back and 1 tight end) on 790 snaps this season, ranking fourth in the FBS. Wisconsin? They’re 119th with just 265 snaps in 11 personnel, displaying the stark changes in philosophy.
Snaps of 11 personnel in 2022— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) December 7, 2022
UNC: 790 (4th FBS)
Wisconsin: 265 (119th FBS) https://t.co/rBTyFBvq4p
Additionally, Longo has done well with quarterbacks, developing Sam Howell, who was selected by the Washington Commanders in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, as well as Drake Maye, who currently is projected as a top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Over the past four years at UNC, Longo has consistently produced top-15 overall offenses, despite the losses of talent to the NFL Draft, which has been where Wisconsin has struggled as of late.
For now, Wisconsin has two members on their offensive staff: Longo and Cincinnati passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Mike Brown, who is expected to follow Luke Fickell to Madison.
Another potential candidate to join the staff could be Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator Gino Guidugli, who did not earn the full-time job after Fickell’s departure.