The Wisconsin Badgers offense has been, in a word, disappointing to begin the 2023 season. New head coach Luke Fickell and offensive coordinator Phil Longo hyped a new-look “air raid” offense that would feature big passing plays to compliment the Badgers’ usual strong run game.
But aside from their win to open the season against the Buffalo Bulls, the offense has been incredibly underwhelming. At least the win against Buffalo featured 300 rushing yards and massive games from both Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen.
But the new offense led by quarterback Tanner Mordecai has struggled to get the passing game going. Allen also received just seven rushing attempts in the loss to Washington State. As of this writing, Wisconsin is tied with Georgia Southern 7-7 at halftime, and Allen has carried the ball just four times.
In other words, the offense is not playing well. It certainly has not lived up to the hype. And one wide receiver, who has not been given the chance to play, has decided he’s had enough.
Keontez Lewis has entered the transfer portal.
Wisconsin Badgers Wide Receiver Keontez Lewis Reveals
Last season, Lewis had 20 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns for a Badgers team that underachieved by most standards. When the new coaching staff took over, he was not sure of his future on the team, but decided to stay.
However, through two games, Lewis barely saw the field and has just one catch for 12 yards. After informing the Badgers coaches of his decision, he spoke with Jesse Temple of The Athletic and discussed his decision to leave.
Lewis had been getting regular work with the offense’s second unit throughout their training camp, but he was never really included in the wide receiver rotation. After the first game, he began to realize that he would not be one of the five receivers that the offense would use. He told Temple:
“[My mindset never] shifted honestly until after the first game. After that, then I could kind of tell a little bit. And the second game came around, it was the same thing. But stuff wasn’t communicated the right way. So that’s why I just felt like, ‘Hey, if I can’t be a part of something and I feel like I definitely can contribute, then it is what it is.'”
According to Lewis, he was told by coaches that he would be part of the regular rotation going into the first game of the season. He had no idea he would get so little playing time.
Lewis then explained to Temple what he was told by wide receivers coach Mike Brown after the Buffalo game:
“He told me to be ready Week 2. Everything is going to be back to normal. He’d get me in there, this and that. Everything will be back to normal, normal rotation. So normal rotation was me playing. So that didn’t happen, as you can see.”
Temple said that Coach Fickell declined to comment for the article.
It is disappointing that Lewis was not given the opportunity to try to help spark an offense that is in need of some fire. It is also disappointing to hear that he was told one thing, only to see another happen.
Lewis enters the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining.