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Why quarterbacks are attracted to Badgers OC Phil Longo’s scheme

Wisconsin has landed three new quarterbacks since Phil Longo’s arrival.

The Wisconsin Badgers have been on a roll since the hiring of new head coach Luke Fickell, bringing in key players on both sides of the ball, as well as a number of intriguing coaching hires.

A part of the intrigue? The hire of offensive coordinator Phil Longo, who has been known for running his version of the “Air Raid” system, which shies away from the traditional Wisconsin offense.

The hiring of Longo has resulted in three new additions to the quarterback position, as Wisconsin landed transfer quarterbacks Tanner Mordecai and Nick Evers, while securing the commitment of 2024 four-star Mabrey Mettauer.

All three quarterbacks pointed to Longo as a part of the reasoning for their decision, raising the question of why signal-callers are attracted to the offensive coordinator’s scheme.

Speaking to reporters for the first time on Thursday, Longo shared details about his offense and approach, diving into the importance of the quarterback in the scheme.

“[My offense] is a quarterback-driven system. Everything starts with the quarterback in any offense, but this one really is predicated on the decision-making that goes on at the position.

Longo detailed the responsibilities of the quarterback in his offense, alluding to pre-snap decision-making as a major factor.

In my mind, philosophically, the quarterback needs to be a tremendous distributor of the football. So, what we’re trying to do is we want to recruit these weapons: these tight ends, these running backs, and these receivers. Then, we want to coach our quarterback on how to make good decisions pre-snap so we can get the ball to all of these guys.”

While Longo always aims to supply his quarterback with a plethora of weapons, his focus comes down to the signal-caller’s decision-making, both pre and post-snap, to get the ball to those receivers.

When we’re giving the ball to these skill [position players], which I call weapons all the time because that’s what they are, the quarterback’s got to be able to make decisions pre and post-snap and we want him to distribute the ball.”

With the amount of attention to detail with the quarterback in the offense, it’s not hard to understand why quarterbacks look to Longo and his scheme to refine their skills and improve for the next level.