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College Football 2020 Preview: The Wisconsin Badgers Offense

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College Football 2020 Preview: The Wisconsin Badgers Offense

2020-07-12 13:54:22


-by Sammy Jacobs, Contributing Writer; Image: Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz. (Image Source: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Bloomington, IN—Here’s an early look at the offensive side of the ball for the 2020 Wisconsin Badgers:

Badgers at a Glance

Head Coach: Paul Chryst

Entering his 5th year as Wisconsin’s Head Coach, 8th year overall

Overall Record: 71-35

At Wisconsin: 52-15

Last Season: 10-4 (7-2) Lost to Oregon 28-27 in the Rose Bowl

Badgers Returning Leaders

Passing: Jack Coan (236-339 passing (69.6%), 2,727 yards, 18 TDs, 5 INTs)

Rushing: Nakia Watson (74 rushes, 331 yards, 4.5 YPC, 2TDs)

Receiving: Jake Fergusson (33 receptions, 407 yards, 2 TDs)

Badgers Preseason Predictions

Athlon: 1st in the Big Ten West

Lindy’s: 1st in the Big Ten West

Phil Steele: Not Published

Street & Smith’s:1st in the Big Ten West

SP+: 14th (8.9 wins)

Impact Newcomers for the Badgers

Jalen Berger, Running Back

Biggest Questions Facing the 2020 Badgers

1. How do the Badgers spell Jonathan Taylor and Quintez Chepus?

2. Can QB Jack Coan take them to the next level?

Offensive Preview

The philosophy of Wisconsin’s offense isn’t going to change just because Jonathan Taylor decided to forego his senior season and head to the NFL, but filling his shoes is going to be a tall task. Taylor carried the ball 320 times for 2,003 yards and scored 26 total touchdowns.

The good news for the Badgers is that they return two starters on an offensive line, which is headlined by All-Big Ten left tackle Cole Van Lanen and will be full of upperclassmen. Wisconsin’s projected starters average six-foot-five and 315 pounds, so they will be stout.

Running behind them will be several backs including senior Garret Groshek, sophomore Nakia Watson as well as a pair of freshmen in Isaac Guerendo and Jalen Berger. Berger was a four-star recruit out of New Jersey and could take control of the job in fall camp.

The Badgers return senior quarterback Jack Coan who threw for 2,727 yards and 18 touchdowns en route to a Big Ten West title and a 10-win season. He is a good quarterback, but a more talented quarterback is waiting for his turn in redshirt freshman Graham Mertz.

The Badgers need to replace their leading receiver from 2019 as Quintez Cephus’s time is done in Madison. Tight end Jake Fergusson is the returning leading receiver and one of the best at his position in the league.

Danny Davis who has been more of a possession receiver averaging just 8.3 yards a reception (30 catches, 250 yards in 2019) would be one of the senior receivers that need to produce more. The other senior who needs to step up is Kendric Pryor who finished fourth on the team in receiving yards last year with 278 on 23 receptions. Pryor is also used a lot in the run game on sweeps.

Behind Pryor and Davis are fellow seniors Jack Dunn and Adam Krumholz who combined for seven catches, 61 yards, and a touchdown. The Badgers signed a trio of three-star wide receivers in their 2020 class in Chimere Dike, Isaac Smith, and Devin Chandler. Expect one or two of them to be in the mix early.

To read more from Sammy Jacobs and his staff at, click here.


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