From numbers 6-10 of the most important Wisconsin Badgers in 2023, it’s been players up to this point. However, at number five, I’m going with first year offensive coordinator Phil Longo. Longo comes from North Carolina where he was the offensive coordinator the last four season as well as the quarterbacks coach. He will also coach quarterbacks at Wisconsin.
Pressure might not be the right word to describe this, but there are a lot of expectations for Phil Longo in his first year. Why? He has shown he can be a successful coordinator at a major program. Last year at North Carolina, the Tar Heels averaged 34.4 points a game and 462.8 total yards a game. What’s even better is the Tar Heels could both run and pass the ball. As a team, they threw for 4,330 yards and ran for 2,149 yards. This shows they were not reliant on one phase of offense. It’s safe to say Wisconsin has been heavy on the run over the last 10 plus years.
There are some really good players that have recently gone to the NFL from Longo’s air raid offense. These players include running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams as well has quarterback Sam Howell and receiver Josh Downs. All these players had fantastic years in Longo’s system. It shows more than one group can be successful and make their way to the next level. Current Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye should be a first round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft as well.
Longo has proven he can get it done and get it done fast. I think if you ask Wisconsin fans, most would say they want results fast and likely in year one. I’ve also stated in the past that this is a really good shot for Wisconsin to do damage and be a contender in the Big Ten. Everything changes next year with the additions of USC and UCLA. I think Longo needs to produce in year one and I believe he will.
What To Expect In 2023
I think we will see a balanced attack to begin the year. The Badgers have an experienced 1-2 punch in Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi with an experienced offensive line. I think until Longo can get Tanner Mordecai comfortable in the system and on the same page, it could be a lot of running the ball the first few weeks in the season. By the time October comes around, I would expect to see the air raid offense Longo is suppose to bring and be a master of.
Just like players, coaches need to come into their own in their first year as well. If Wisconsin gets an offense that exceeds expectations or meets it this year then that’s great. If it’s a little clunky but we see the pieces come together then that’s okay too. I do think there is a lot of pressure on Phil Longo but I believe he is the right guy to come in and fix an offense that has needed a passing game for quite some time now. I can’t wait to see what the air raid offense looks like in 2023 and moving forward.
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