#29 Wisconsin Football 2013 Preview

Wisconsin Badgers

Overall Rank: #29
#6 Big Ten

Wisconsin Team Page#29 Wisconsin Football 2013 PreviewBuy Wisconsin Football Tickets

It will be an interesting year in Camp Randall in 2013.  The Badgers will be going through quite a few changes this season.  After representing the Leaders Division in the Big Ten championship with a 7-5 conference record, the Badgers lost successful head coach Bret Bielema to Arkansas.  Wisconsin hired Gary Andersen away from Utah State to take over.  Not to be forgotten either, the eight-win team from last season lost a lot of valuable production to graduation or the NFL.  With Ohio State back in the fold for a conference title after sanctions kept them out of the postseason last year, Wisconsin will have to be better on the field in 2013 if they wish to repeat as division winners.  How will the first year go under Andersen?

2012 Record: 8-6, 4-4
2012 Bowl: Rose Bowl vs. Stanford (L 14-20)
Coach: Gary Andersen (0-0 at Wisconsin, 26-24 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Andy Ludwig
Defensive Coordinator: Dave Aranda

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: James White, RB, 806 yards
Passing: Joel Stave, QB, 1,104 yards
Receiving: Jared Abbrederis, WR, 837 yards
Tackles: Chris Borland, LB, 104
Sacks: Brendan Kelly, LB, 5.0; Tyler Dippel, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: Ethan Armstrong, LB, 1; Dezmen Southward, S, 1; Conor O’Neill, LB, 1

Other Key Returnees: RB Melvin Gordon, TE Jacob Pedersen, QB Curt Phillips, WR Jordan Fredrick, DT Beau Allen

Key Losses: RB Montee Ball, QB Danny O’Brien, DB Devin Smith, OL Travis Frederick, OL Ricky Wagner, LB Mike Taylor, DE David Gilbert

Even though Andersen is new in town, he knows that Wisconsin’s strength is churning out yards on the ground.  Montee Ball was such a huge part of the offense last year.  He was dominant on the ground, ranking sixth nationally in yards per game at 130.7.  He is gone, but James White steps right in to take over as the starter.  He had 12 touchdowns of his own as a secondary piece.  Behind him is Melvin Gordon, whose claim to fame is his dominating performance in the Big Ten Championship Game last season with 216 rushing yards.  That one-two punch is tantalizing to the Badger faithful.  Their defense was fantastic last year, limiting teams to fewer than 330 yards per game.  They are changing schemes, but they do return players like Chris Borland and Tyler Dippel.  Both find the ball and make tackles.  They should still have enough talent to make enough plays to halt good offenses.

The biggest unknown going into this season is who will seize the quarterback spot.  Joel Stave is predicted to win the job – he does have the most game experience.  He did not play great last year.  The Badgers were the ninth worst team in the country in throwing the ball.  With an offensive weapon like senior Jared Abbrederis on the outside, the throwing game is going to have to improve.  Unfortunately for the quarterback, they lost a few starters on the big offensive line that Wisconsin always seems to field.  They are going to have to replace some high draft picks and shuffle some positions to make it work.  They will need to gel in order to give their passer some time.  Also, the 3-4 may be a difficult adjustment initially for the players after playing the 4-3 for years.  Though the players are talented, it may take half a season or so to get in the groove.  They might not be able to afford to wait that long.

The Bottom Line:
It’s going to come down to Stave – or whoever is under center – to play really well in order for Wisconsin to challenge Ohio State for a division title.  It seems like a long shot, but there is surrounding talent on this roster to help the quarterback out.  Losing Ball is a major blow, but everyone in Wisconsin is super excited to see what Gordon can do after his performance in the Big Ten championship game.  Generally speaking, a 3-4 defense does not get correctly implemented in just one season.  That side of the ball will see its struggles at times.  Still, this is a good team with a coach that has something to prove.  They should finish with another winning record.

Projected Bowl: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 236.36 (13th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 156.93 (111, 12)
Total Offense: 393.29 (65, 7)
Scoring Offense: 29.57 (59, 6)
Rushing Defense: 128.93 (24, 5)
Pass Defense: 193.64 (18, 5)
Total Defense: 322.57 (15, 3)
Scoring Defense: 19.14 (17, 3)
Turnover Margin: .21 (48, 5)
Sacks: 2.14 (54, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 2.0 (66, 9)

Madness 2013 Recruit Rankings:
#158 Corey Clement


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