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Who could be a surprise contributor for the Badgers offense in 2023?

The Badgers have a certain player who has proven to be consistent throughout his career.

The Wisconsin Badgers enjoyed the riches of the transfer portal that came with the hiring of head coach Luke Fickell and his staff, filling up holes at several positions with experienced players and high-end recruiting talent.

Among the additions? One of many transfers from Cincinnati: offensive lineman Joe Huber, who played left tackle for the team last season, but has been a versatile chess piece used all around.

At Wisconsin, Huber is more seen as an interior offensive lineman, as the Badgers seem to be comfortable with their tackle depth, as the Cincinnati transfer has seen action at both guard and center as he tries to carve out a role on his new team.

Upon his arrival, I pegged Huber as a potential sleeper for the offense, as I felt he could slide into one of the open guard roles, and potentially start next to fellow Cincinnati transfer Jake Renfro.

How does the staff view one of their top transfers?

“Joe just does everything well,” head coach Luke Fickell said. “I mean, you talk about a guy that you can put the ISO cam on and you’re going to see exactly how you want to play and whether he’s at center, whether he’s at guard, whether he has a bad snap or whatever happens the next play, he’s going to continue to go.”

While Fickell praised his mentality and continued grind, the head coach did mention that the toughest task for Huber is balancing that versatility.

“I think he’s a great example for the things about what work and what effort looks like for him. The toughest thing is he has to bounce back and forth, right,” Fickell said.

However, the head coach certainly believes that Huber will be a member of the offensive line rotation, regardless of whether he cracks the starting lineup or not.

“And in some way, somehow he’s going to be in there. He’s going to have a lot of opportunities. We’re going to need him whether we play with seven offensive linemen, whether he’s one of the five or not.”

Huber’s versatility does allow for the Badgers to experiment with different combinations and truly find their best five guys to play.

“He has got a bright future and I think that he gives us a chance to mix some things around and figure out what’s going to be the best order for us to be in,” Fickell said.

A position where I’d like to see Huber earn reps is at right guard, where super senior Michael Furtney is currently playing.

Reports have shared that the Badgers have started splitting some of those first-team right guard reps, and Huber should be in line to earn some action at the position.

With Tanor Bortolini and Jake Renfro likely taking up the starting left guard and center spots come Week 1, that would be Huber’s best opportunity to crack the starting rotation.

Of course, the Badgers may value consistency across the offensive line, and keep Huber as a bench piece to play following an injury, rather than having to move multiple people along the offensive line if the Cincinnati transfer was a starter.

But, there are just two weeks left before the start of the season, where the questions about this Badgers’ team will start to become answered, and Huber’s role is a key one.

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