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Badgers RB Braelon Allen facing tough challenge in fall camp

The Badgers running back is struggling with one certain element of fall camp.

Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen is one of the nation’s top running backs heading into the season 2023 season, having rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, and facing a difference in offensive philosophy with Phil Longo’s new scheme.

After a strong true freshman season, Allen saw struggles at times with injuries during his sophomore year, while the porous offensive attack led to issues with his rushing style, as it seemed he was looking for “home-run” esque plays, rather than trusting the scheme and the downfield holes.

Now, preparing for a bounce-back junior season to cement himself as a potential top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Allen’s progress begins during fall camp, where the Badgers have started getting ready for the upcoming year.

However, the running back does face a hurdle in preparing his body for the strenuous year: the lack of tackling and true physicality in fall camp, which has limited Allen’s impact as the Badgers implement their offensive install.

Head coach Luke Fickell spoke with reporters following the team’s final practice at UW-Platteville on Monday night, sharing the difficulty that Allen faces without true live action.

“It’s a tough situation for Braelon because I think that, without going live, without going some of those situations, it’s hard to get that flow going,” Fickell said.

As the Badgers rep their run game, it’s truly hard to gauge how those plays unfold, given how hard it is to tackle Allen in the open area, but also fail to provide him those physical reps that can build energy and momentum.

“I mean, you could see it tonight when, all of a sudden he does get a run, and you can’t tackle, but you know, he’s going to be tough to tackle in some of those open space situations and you can just feel the energy and the momentum,” Fickell said. “So I think that’s really hard on offense when you’ve got a guy and a weapon like that and you can’t get it going just because of the nature of how we go about things.”

With the nature of how fall camp is in regards to physicality, Fickell pointed out that the current objective is more dictated towards the passing attack, which can be better gauged during the reps in camp.

“The challenge right now is still being able to be efficient throwing the football.”

Fickell has confidence in the run game, given the Badgers’ core of running backs, but acknowledged the mental challenge of preparing for the season without getting the live reps that help build confidence.

“We believe that we’re going to be able to be efficient at running the football. So I think sometimes that’s a bit of a challenge for the running backs. So it’s a little bit more of a mental game for them. But you can definitely feel the energy when all of a sudden you can get that guy going.”

Still, the Badgers will get a good shot to build up their running game prior to conference play, starting their season against Buffalo, Washington State, and Georgia Southern, where their new-look offense will be on display, and Allen should be at the forefront of the ground attack.

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