The air raid offense didn’t take flight for the Wisconsin Badgers football team in its first season under OC Phil Longo.
It’s a transition many thought would lead to instant results, which couldn’t have been further from the case. There are plenty of reasons you could point to for the struggles, with injuries sitting atop the list, but ultimately, the Badgers know there is a lot of room for growth.
After a whirlwind of additions to the wide receiver room last offseason, Wisconsin faithful, maybe even to a fault, felt it had more talent amongst that group than they’d had in recent memory.
By season’s end, it felt more like a position group that needed addressing due to the lack of production and explosive plays produced.
UW had just one play of 50+ yards on a passing play all season. When you pair that with the fact the Badgers had a Big Ten-leading 30 drops, it exemplifies just how much room for growth the group has ahead.
State of the Wisconsin Football WR Room
Will Pauling was a hit in the portal for the Wisconsin football team. He led the team with 66 catches for 694 yards and four touchdowns. Bryson Green also established himself as a starting-caliber player on the boundary, catching 25 passes for 375 yards and a TD.
But Chimere Dike and Skyler Bell, who were third and fourth on the team in receiving yards, entered the portal this offseason, leaving the Badgers needing some help from the portal yet again.
They added Michigan State transfer WR Tyrell Henry, who will provide some experience and add depth to this group. However, UW still wants to bring in another player who can play on the boundary opposite of Green.
In a perfect world, that player would be CJ Williams, who has an incredibly high ceiling and showed some flashes early in the season. But he fell out of the rotation late in the season and never quite put it all together.
Internal options such as Vinny Anthony, Trech Kekahuna, Quincy Burroughs, and Chris Brooks will also need to take steps forward in their development to elevate the room.
Badgers OC Phil Longo Still Sees Potential for WRs to Be Explosive
Before the bowl game, reporters engaged with Phil Longo to discuss the Badgers’ ongoing efforts to bolster the wide receiver unit.
They inquired whether the Wisconsin football offense had secured the needed explosiveness on the outside — or if it was still a need.
“We’ve made some additions to the roster [Henry], so those are obviously improvements,” Longo conveyed. “We’ve done that in every room. I also think, though, in the receiver room, we’re developing it because there’s a lot of speed in the room. That’s got to be coupled with some experience and some technique, doing a better job of changing direction, those types of things, but the potential to be explosive exists in that room.”
Wisconsin football hopes that new wide receivers coach Kenny Guiton will help provide a solution for the Badgers. Guiton joins the staff after three seasons in the same position at Arkansas, where he built a strong reputation as a recruiter and played a role in developing Treylon Burks.
Whether the Badgers have the horses at WR to become an explosive offense next season remains to be seen, but the coaches seem to think there’s enough internal talent to believe they can.
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