Wisconsin Badgers 2010 NCAA Football Preview

Wisconsin Badgers

Overall Rank: #6

#2 Big Ten Conference


2009 Record: (10-3, 5-3)

2009 Bowl: Champ Sports Bowl vs. Miami (W 20-14)

Coach: Bret Bielema (38-14 at Wisconsin, 38-14 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: Paul Chryst

Defensive Coordinator: Dave Doeren


Returning Leaders

Rushing: John Clay, RB, 1,517 yards

Passing: Scott Tolzien, QB, 2,705 yards

Receiving: Nick Toon, WR, 805 yards

Tackles: Culmer St. Jean, LB, 63

Sacks: Chris Borland, LB, 5.0

Interceptions: Niles Brinkley, CB, 2; Devin Smith, CB, 2


Other Key Returnees: WR Isaac Anderson, OT Gabe Carimi, TE Lance Kendricks, OT Josh Oglesby, LB Mike Taylor, S Jay Valai, DE J.J. Watt

Key Losses: TE Garrett Graham, S Chris Maragos, LB Jaevery McFadden, DT Dan Moore, DT Jeff Stehle, DE O’Brien Schofield


Scott Tolzien did not win many games for Wisconsin, but he also did a pretty good job of not losing them. And on a team with a great running game and a solid defense, that is all the Badgers needed from Tolzien. Now a senior, Tolzien can start to win games instead of just avoid losing them…not that Coach Bret Bielema needs him to this year.



Nine other starters return to Tolzien’s offense. The only loss is superb pass catching tight end Garrett Graham. However, that is of little consequence since UW has Lance Kendricks returning. Kendricks is a great pass catching tight end in his own right and should pick up right where he and Graham left off. Joining Kendricks as targets for Tolzien are Nick Toon and Isaac Anderson. Both showed plenty of promise and production last season and should be even better with a more experienced Tolzien passing the ball. Returning all five linemen should help too. It should also help the ground game that ranked 15th in the nation a year ago. John Clay turned into the great back that many expected him to be and Zach Brown was effective when he was healthy. Even Montee Ball proved to be a fine backup to Clay when given the opportunity.



The defense was superb last year and ranked 17th in the nation in total defense and tenth in sacks. However, a large number of those sacks are gone with the graduation of O’Brien Schofield and the rush defense will take a big hit without interior linemen Dan Moore and Jeff Stehle. Even their leading tackler, linebacker Jaevery McFadden, is gone. However, the secondary is strong with corners Niles Brinkley and Devin Smith returning and the linebackers are in good shape with Culmer St. Jean, Mike Taylor and sophomore Chris Borland. The key to the defense will be the development of the line. Borland can pick up some sacks and is a fine pass rusher from the linebacker spot, but somebody has to do it from the front four as well or the entire defense will suffer.


The Bottom Line:

J.J. Watt is a superb defensive end who will have to do what Schofield did last year. But the question is who plays at tackle. Patrick Butrym has started a couple games during his career and was part of the regular rotation last season. Jordan Kohout, Tyler Dippel and Ethan Hemer are all redshirt freshmen and one of them will likely have to start and all three will probably be forced into the rotation at some point. That leaves the run defense very susceptible and puts a lot more pressure on the secondary than they ever saw last year.


Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl


2010 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 203.85 (15th in nation, 1st in conference)

Passing Offense: 213.08 (65, 7)

Total Offense: 416.92 (30, 1)

Scoring Offense: 31.77 (25, 1)

Rushing Defense: 88.23 (5, 1)

Pass Defense: 217.46 (55, 5)

Total Defense: 305.69 (17, 4)

Scoring Defense: 21.77 (33, 4)

Turnover Margin: .23 (47, 5)

Sacks: 2.85 (10, 1)

Sacks Allowed: 1.77 (54, 5)