“Championship status, that’s it. Championship.”
That’s the only goal for this upcoming season for Wisconsin Badgers’ new starting QB Tanner Mordecai.
Ever since transferring following two very successful seasons at SMU, Mordecai has turned heads every day.
It’s been a while since the Badgers had a quarterback with a similar skillset to Mordecai, and this remains one of the very reasons for the excitement revolving around this program.
Yet even with a great quarterback, there’s a need for an even better play caller. And that is what Phil Longo brings to this revamped Badger offense.
“Under Coach Longo’s lead, I don’t think there is a ceiling for this offense. Our offensive staff, along with the guys that are here, have really adapted like they’ve been doing it for years now. You know, watching practice, you wouldn’t think that they haven’t run an up-tempo, air raid offense,” Mordecai said. “So, I’m really proud of how they have adapted from the traditional offense they’ve been running. Yeah, I don’t think there’s a ceiling for us.”
Longo holds quite an impressive resume with major stints at Ole Miss and North Carolina. He also developed multiple players into NFL stars including DK Metcalf, AJ Brown, and Javonte Williams. Longo also coached QB Sam Howell at UNC, and he was drafted in the 5th round.
“I think he’s the perfect balance of easygoing and having a sense of urgency. There’s a healthy balance,” Mordecai said. “In the meeting rooms, he’s pretty laid back. When we’re on the field, when we get to work, we don’t mess around. We’re here to get better.”
It has been interesting to watch their player/coach dynamic from afar, and it is definitely a topic to keep an eye on once the season begins.
But Mordecai’s dynamic with his teammates has already become one of his most impressive traits.
Just months into being on the team, he has already been named a team leader.
“It feels great. I’m proud of that. I’m proud that my teammates can call me a leader, since I haven’t been here long”, said Mordecai. “But, I think they understand my work ethic and how much this game and this culture and winning matters to me. I think they see that and understand that.”
With a new quarterback leading the offense, there are typically some growing pains within the first few weeks of spring ball. It has been common for the Badgers’ defense to dominate practices at this point in the offseason. But, the offense has impressed thus far which is something not typical in recent years.
“Just execution [from the offense has impressed me.] Playing fast is not something that they were used to. And watching practice and how highly our offensive line, receivers, and running backs are executing, you can’t tell that they haven’t been in this kind of offense for very long.”
Is this a Big Ten Championship-quality team with Tanner Mordecai at the helm?
It could be.
But one thing is for sure. This will be a much more competitive Wisconsin Badgers football team than fans have been used to watching these past few seasons.
This will likely be an electric offense come Fall, and fans won’t be able to look away without missing a play.