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Luke Fickell Talks Offensive Philosophy Shift Coming to Wisconsin Football

Wisconsin football head coach Luke Fickell talked about the new offensive system coming to Madison this season.



Wisconsin Badgers Football head coach Luke Fickell at Big Ten Media Days
Jul 27, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell speaks to the media during the Big 10 football media day at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

When Wisconsin Football head coach Luke Fickell took the Podium at Big Ten Media Days on Thursday, most questions were as predictable as they come. Everything from why did you pick the Badgers, how do you define success in year one, and what are the expectations? Yawn.

But it was all to be expected. 

The final question that people who don’t cover Wisconsin had to ask was naturally going to be about the shift in offensive philosophy from the patented power-running scheme they’ve run for three decades to the air raid spread system.

Wisconsin Football Head Coach Luke Fickell Addresses Stysem Overhaul

This past season, the Wisconsin football offense ranked No. 78 in the country in scoring and No. 91 in total yardage, making a complete and utter overhaul of the Badgers offense borderline non-negotiable.

So when Luke Fickell took the job, he wanted a top-tier coordinator and play-caller to come in and run his offense.

Enter Phil Longo.

“It’ll look different,” Fickell told Big Ten Media Days reporters. “There’s no doubt.

“It’s still about people. It’s still about players. It’s still going to be about the guys up front; it’s still going to be about physicality; it’s still going to be about winning the lines of scrimmage, whether it’s offensively or defensively. We’ll figure it out as we continue to grow, but our core values won’t change.”

Coach Fickell’s comments illustrate the point I’ve tried to hammer home to Badgers fans all along — Wisconsin football will adapt their offense to the personnel. It’s what good coaches do.

During Longo’s time at UNC, his offense ranked first in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passer rating in the ACC. On top of that, the Tar Heels finished second in the conference in rushing touchdowns.

And you want to know something else? Longo’s career play-calling splits of run and pass come out to an even 50-50 split percentage-wise.

So take a deep breath — Wisconsin football will still run the football down opponent’s throats — this is the Big Ten Conference we’re talking about — it’s just going to happen out of a spread formation.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.