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The Wisconsin Badgers have gotten off to a 4-2(2-1) start this season, most recently losing to the Iowa Hawkeyes 15-6 in a disappointing effort that saw the former lose starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai to a broken hand.
Through the first few weeks of the season, it’s been a range of outcomes for the Badgers offensively as they look to implement offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s “Air Raid” scheme with the current personnel.
As a result, fans have held mixed emotions about Longo and his scheme during the adjustment between coaching staffs.
That leads us to the question: has Phil Longo done a good job as the team’s offensive coordinator?
In our roundtable yesterday, I highlighted the good, bad, and external factors around Phil Longo’s first season with the Badgers, pointing at how his run game concepts have translated to the Big Ten among other things.
Here’s what I said.
“Through the first six games of the season, it’s been a mixed bag for the Badgers and new offensive coordinator Phil Longo. Thus far, there have been some things that have impressed me, raised cause for concern, and external factors that play into my assessment of Longo.”
“Let’s start with the good. While the passing attack was the primary highlight when Longo was hired, I honestly think his run concepts might be the most impactful element thus far. There have been some blunders in short-distance situations, but I attribute them more to poor execution rather than bad design. Longo has consistently been able to create explosives in the run game, and that should continue to occur as he gets more change-of-pace backs involved in the future.”
“Now, the bad. I do have reservations about a system that incorporates as much shotgun as the Badgers do. Now, it involves the threat of the quarterback run more, while helping set up passing concepts better for the signal-caller, as his back isn’t to the defense. But, the lack of under-center action is a huge factor, especially in short-distance situations, where the Badgers have struggled at times this season. The under-center concepts can create better misdirection in the play-action game, and also aids in forcing linebackers to be more instinctive, as they can’t see the football. I’m not saying a total shift, but a bigger implementation of under-center concepts could aid this offense.”
“Lastly comes the external factors. The Badgers don’t have a deep threat on their roster. That’s pretty apparent with the consistent lack of separation from the wideouts week-by-week. Now, it’s a talented bunch, but that burner speed isn’t present downfield, and that’s limited that portion of the aerial attack. Head coach Luke Fickell also alluded to the personnel at tight end as another area where they’re not as matched players-wise with the system. This aspect may take time to develop, as the Badgers are incorporating a completely new offense, but that part of the team will only fully take off when Wisconsin has the personnel best for Longo’s system.”
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