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Wisconsin Badgers Athletic Director Chris McIntosh Has Stones



Wisconsin Badgers - Chris McIntosh

Madison, Wis. – It’s still hard to comprehend that Paul Chryst was the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers three short months ago until a meeting with Chris McIntosh compelled him to make a change.  

Since then, controlled chaos has ensued in Madison, and the times…they are a changing.

Between winning college football’s coaching carousel with the surprise hiring of Luke Fickell, bringing in Phil Longo to overhaul the offense, or crushing the transfer portal, it’s already been one of the most memorable offseasons I can remember for the Wisconsin football program. 

Optimism is at an all-time high.

However, the real story here isn’t about the coaching staff, the recruits, or even the players. It’s about the man left standing once the dust settled – the one responsible for the madness, the architect if you will, Wisconsin Badgers Athletic Director Chris McIntosh.

How the Wisconsin Badgers Got Here

Not long ago (2016-19), the Wisconsin Badgers were on the cusp of the college football playoffs and nearing a breakthrough as a program. Then, after star running back Jonathan Taylor declared for the NFL Draft, and Jack Coan transferred, coach Chryst experienced what can only be described as a fall from grace.

No creativity, no grit, undisciplined, and without passion – that’s what Wisconsin football looked like from the outside looking in. All programs undergo seasons of a cyclical downturn – and UW is no different. But this time, it felt different, borderline unrecognizable. The talent gap between UW and Ohio State, + other top-tier teams, suddenly felt insurmountable. In short, the game began to pass coach Chryst by, leaving the program in limbo.

In a quickly evolving college athletics landscape, It felt like the Wisconsin Badgers were on the brink of a much steeper decline than most are willing to admit.

So, after an embarrassing loss to Illinois, McIntosh and coach Chryst sat down to discuss the program’s future. According to FootballScoop, the conversation became heated because of differing opinions, although we’ll never know for sure. Either way, the Wisconsin Badgers AD left that conversation feeling like it was time to make a change – and in short order.

Coach Chryst was fired or resigned, maybe both? Nevertheless, he was no longer the HC of the Wisconsin Badgers. Chris McIntosh moved quickly, promoting Jim Leonhard to interim head coach for two reasons:

  • It was the most logical choice (Jim is a rising star).
  • The promotion gave him time to evaluate Leonhard as a potential long-term solution.

In the end, coach Leonhard led UW to a 4-3 record, and the Wisconsin Badgers became bowl eligible for the 21st straight season.

The Decision

Everyone and their cousin thought Jim Leonhard was the next head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. Some media outlets even reported that it was essentially a done deal, and his promotion was more of a formality…so we thought.

Little did we know, McIntosh was in talks with Cincinnati HC Luke Fickell – dating back to the Iowa game. The timing of the job posting and the announcement date all points to Fickell being the succession plan all along – with the benefit of hindsight, that is.

Chris McIntosh went outside the “Badger family” to hire Luke Fickell, paid top-flight money, and made a statement about what he thinks the University of Wisconsin is + can become.

I have to give credit where credit is due. Chris McIntosh made a move that could ultimately define his legacy as AD of the Wisconsin Badgers. He also acknowledged UW had an issue – and made a tough decision for the betterment of the program.

That decision has already led to landing one of the nation’s top offensive coordinators and talented QBs and WRs WANTING to come to play for the Wisconsin Badgers BECAUSE of their offense. Imagine thinking that was even a possibility three months ago.

Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the Wisconsin football program could execute such a masterful off-season plan – even on paper. Nobody knows if this will work out in the end, but I know that optimism amongst the Wisconsin Badgers fanbase is at an all-time high.

Chris McIntosh deserves a tip of the cap for making this all happen; the man has STONES.

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Wisconsin Football News, Notes from Days Two and Three of Spring Ball



Wisconsin Football

The Wisconsin football program has begun its spring practices. After a quick first day last week, the Badgers have completed two practices this week.

Here’s a quick recap of storylines and observations from days two and three of The Launch.

Badger’s safeties stand out on day two of spring practice.

Although other position groups, such as quarterback and wide receivers, have garnered the most attention, UW’s safeties have shown out early in the spring.

The Badgers used a 2-3-6 defense on Tuesday, with Kamo’i Latu, Hunter Wohler, and Travion Blaylock taking the starting reps. The alignment was a change from the first day of spring practice, where UW ran a 2-4-5 defensive package.

BadgersExtra reporter Colten Bartholomew noted Hunter Wohler’s exceptional play on Tuesday, as he intercepted Tanner Mordecai on a short pass over the middle before returning it to the endzone. 

Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel has stated that he wants to blend his style of defense with the style Wisconsin is used to. In the 2-3-6 defense, the Badgers put a spin on the dime package, which will be something to keep an eye on as Wisconsin figures out its defensive strategy.

Cade Yacamelli stands out as a top RB3 option

Heading into 2023, the Badgers will have their running back duo of Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi returning. As spring practice began, a big question would be who would fill in the third-string running back role. After multiple days of practice, Cade Yacamelli is starting to stand out.

Yacamelli, a redshirt freshman, made the change to offense after spending last season as a safety. It seems to be the right move, as he’s continued to impress early. 

Jackson Acker is another option for the RB3 spot, but it seems that Yacamelli has taken the lead in the position battle. Still, the running back competition will be one to watch as spring ball continues.

Wide receivers are making good impressions early for the Wisconsin football program

After a slew of additions through the transfer portal, the wide receiver corps was a group to watch during spring ball. After days two and three, plenty of pass catchers are making their mark.

Zach Heilprin noted Cincinnati transfer Will Pauling has been impressive early. He has started taking first-team reps and looks like an excellent slot receiver option.

Pauling wasn’t the only receiver who impressed, as Chris Brooks Jr. has started to garner some attention. On day one of practice, Brooks hauled a jump ball on a throw from Nick Evers. Then, on day three, the 6-foot-2, 255-pound receiver hauled in another contested catch to add to his impressive play. 

UW has no shortage of talent at wide receiver. It’s still very early in spring, so other receivers will make their presence known as practices continue. The pass catchers will continue to be a group to watch as we approach the 2023 season.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter. @JakeJMaier.

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Wisconsin Football Picks Up Crystal Ball Prediction, In-State Recruit Visiting, More



Wisconsin football
Sep 22, 2012; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers helmets sit on the field during warmups prior to the game against the UTEP Miners at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated UTEP 37-26. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a busy couple of days for the Wisconsin football program, ladies and gents, but fear not because BadgerNotes can help get you back up to speed with a roundup of some important news you may have missed.

Wisconsin Badgers Hosted Talented In-State OT on Visit 

Wanting to get a closer look at Garret Sexton, a fast-rising 2024 three-star offensive tackle from Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin, Luke Fickell and his coaching staff got him on campus this past weekend. 

This visit was the 6-foot-7, 240-pound offensive tackle’s first known trip to Madison since the Badgers’ loss to Washington State in September under the Paul Chryst regime. 

It’s also worth noting that Sexton is a high school teammate of another 2024 target of Wisconsin, three-star OT Derek Jensen. 

Sexton has only played offensive line for one season but currently holds offers from Tennessee, Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Iowa State, Baylor, Illinois, Rutgers, Northwestern, Syracuse, Missouri, Kansas, and a host of other schools.

You can watch his HUDL film here.

Thus far, no official offer has been reported, but the high-upside offensive tackle certainly profiles as someone UW would want to keep in-state. We’ll have to go into wait-and-see mode on Sexton. 

Wisconsin Football Picks Up Crystal Ball for 2024 Recruit

On Tuesday, after an unofficial visit to Madison, 247Sports recruiting insider Evan Flood placed a crystal ball prediction for the Wisconsin football program to land 2024 three-star wide receiver Kyan Berry-Johnson out of Bolingbrook, Illinois. 

UW offered the nation’s No. 103 WR back in January during his junior day visit, and the relationship has flourished since then. 

Berry-Johnson currently holds offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Houston, Liberty, Syracuse, and Wyoming, plus he’s generating interest from multiple Big Ten schools. 

The Badgers are in a position to be picky about WR offers in 2024, given the recent influx of talent, and it’s clear the staff likes the upside from the 5-foot-10, 160-pound pass catcher. 

No commitment is imminent, as he reportedly intends to take some official visits in June, but Wisconsin is undoubtedly in the driver’s seat. 

Other Wisconsin Football News

Pro Football Focus released its top 10 offensive coordinators list earlier this week, and the Wisconsin football program, which has been atrocious on offense the past couple of seasons, has a representative. 

Luke Fickell was a home-run hire in his own right, but everything started coming together for UW when he brought offensive guru Phil Longo on board after several seasons at North Carolina. 

During Longo’s time at Ole Miss, the Rebels finished 1st in passing yards, 2nd in total offense, 3rd in passer rating, and 5th in scoring offense. His offense also finished 5th nationally in passing yards and total offense. 

At North Carolina, Longo led offenses finished top-3 in the ACC in yards per play in all four seasons. Additionally, UNC finished 1st in the ACC in passing yards, passing touchdowns, passer rating, rushing yards, and total offense. The Tar Heels’ offense also finished 3rd in scoring offense. In short, this man has a track record of success. 

He hopes to work his magic on the Wisconsin Badgers and bring a more modern approach to Madison.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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Wisconsin Badgers QB1 Snubbed in Big Ten Quarterback Rankings



Wisconsin Badgers QB Tanner Mordecai
Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mordecai throws a pass during first spring football practice of the season on Saturday March 25, 2023 at the McClain Center in Madison, Wis. Uw Football Spring Practice 9 March 25 2023

The Wisconsin Badgers QB room received a major shakeup during the offseason. UW has had a complete overhaul, with Graham Mertz hitting the transfer portal to Tanner Mordecai, Nick Evers, and Braedyn Locke all transferring in.

Former SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai will likely be Wisconsin’s QB1 this year, as he took first-team reps at spring practice this weekend. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound signal caller stood out for the Mustangs. In his two years with SMU, Mordecai amassed over 7,000 yards and 72 touchdowns.

That kind of production is hard to ignore, but Mordecai was given a very interesting placement among other Big Ten quarterbacks…

Where does Wisconsin Badgers QB Tanner Mordecai rank among other Big Ten signal callers?

Earlier this week, 247Sports released their Big Ten QB rankings, where Mordecai landed at No. 5. Here’s what 247Sports’ Brad Crawford says about Mordecai and his ranking. 

“There’s a reason Wisconsin is picking up measurable dark-horse buzz in the Big Ten ahead of Luke Fickell’s first season. The Badgers went transfer-heavy in their quarterback room following Graham Mertz’s exit, and Mordecai comes to Madison as a decorated player. Mordecai is fresh off a 2022 campaign where he threw for 33 touchdowns at SMU. In two seasons for the Mustangs, the former Oklahoma signal caller totaled 72 touchdowns and 22 interceptions and eclipsed 3,500 passing yards in each campaign. Mordecai had an absurd performance in SMU’s 77-63 win over Houston last fall, throwing for 379 yards and nine scores. He’ll be playing his sixth year of college football in 2023.”

The QBs ranked ahead of Wisconsin Badgers signal caller Tanner Mordecai include Ohio State’s Kyle McCord, Penn State’s Drew Allar, Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, and Michigan’s JJ McCarthy.

Reaction to Tanner Mordecai’s Ranking

The decision to place Mordecai fifth among Big Ten quarterbacks is a surprise, especially when looking at the signal callers placed ahead of him.

McCord is one of the most surprising. The junior QB did step in for CJ Stroud occasionally over the last two years, as he has amassed 606 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. In fairness, 247Sports did say that his ranking was due to his potential, but ranking the inexperienced QB over a seasoned vet is an interesting choice. 

Allar is another unproven QB who was rated higher than Mordecai. The sophomore signal caller appeared in 10 games for the Nittany Lions and amassed 344 yards passing and four touchdowns. Once again, comparing that to Mordecai’s resume, the ranking seems to be a little high. In defense of the young QB, he is mechanically sound and has a high upside. However, he is unproven, while Mordecai boasts an exceptional record as a starter.

Tagovailoa coming in at second is also a surprise. While he has improved over the last two years, Maryland’s signal caller had a less productive year than his first campaign in 2021. Tagovailoa threw for 3,008 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 2022. Comparing that to Wisconsin football QB1 Tanner Mordecai, it’s surprising that Tagovailoa was ranked higher.

At the end of the day, these rankings mean nothing. However, that doesn’t make the picks less surprising. Mordecai will have a chance to prove himself this year as the Wisconsin Badgers look to climb back into Big Ten title contention. Under a revamped offense, 2023 could be one of the most exciting years yet. 

Contact Info
Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter. @JakeJMaier.

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