Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Rising to greatness: Midseason assessment of Luke Fickell’s Wisconsin football offensive evolution

Fickell’s drive, Longo’s smarts prove to be paying dividends for Badgers
Maddox Durst

As Luke Fickell embarks on his inaugural season at the helm of the University of Wisconsin’s football program, the Badgers find themselves at the midway point of the season. They’ve also made an impressive mark in the Big Ten with a promising start. This midseason evaluation will delve deeper into the performance of the Badgers’ offense under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Phil Longo and his innovative air raid system.

The most glaring and positive development in the Badgers’ performance this season is their ability to put points on the board. Under the direction of Longo, Wisconsin football is averaging a commendable 33.2 points per game through their first four matchups, securing them the fourth spot in the Big Ten for scoring. This represents a significant improvement from the previous year when they posted an average of 26.3 points per game, earning them a respectable seventh position in the conference.

Fickell recognizes the progress the offense has made and acknowledges the room for further improvement.


“Obviously the number one objective is to win a ball game,” Fickell said in a postgame press conference after a victory against University at Buffalo. “And we won a ball game today. It wasn’t exactly maybe the way we envisioned. I think the thing we stressed this entire week was about the ability to play clean, and I don’t know that that’s what we really did.”

But the national ranking for scoring places the Badgers at 49th, indicating that Longo’s offensive system is still in the process of fine-tuning.

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Despite this trait, Fickell remains optimistic about the progress, remarking about it in week three.

Beyond scoring, Wisconsin’s total offensive yards per game have also seen substantial growth. In the previous season, the Badgers averaged 363.6 yards per game, securing them the eighth spot in the Big Ten. This year, they’ve taken a significant step forward, averaging 427.5 yards per game, which places them fourth in the conference.

Nationally, their yardage per game ranks them at 46th, reflecting the ongoing evolution of the UW offense.

“Those guys are excited,” Fickell said about the team’s mentality. “They’re grateful for the opportunity, and I could see it in their eyes. They’re hungry to find ways to continue to get better and make sure this journey is going to grow.”

A deeper dive into the midseason evaluation reveals that the Badgers are not only scoring more, but also running the ball more efficiently and developing a formidable passing game.

Fickell evaluated these key areas of improvement with high praise, crediting the defense as fueling the offensive momentum. It’s what has led them to success early on this season.

“When we can execute our game plan effectively, our offense has the potential to truly shine,” Fickell said.

Despite this progress, there are still some kinks to iron out. The Badgers have encountered their fair share of hiccups, primarily in the form of procedural penalties that disrupt their rhythm and efficiency.

In assessing the Wisconsin football offense at the midseason mark, it’s evident that while they’ve made significant strides, they haven’t reached their full potential yet.

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Consistency was something that Fickell emphasized the importance of during the bye week.

“But nonetheless, we have to keep answering the challenges,” Fickell said after the Badgers’ win against Georgia Southern. “These guys have answered the challenges, and that’s what I’m happy about.”

In summary, the first four games of the season showcase that UW football is making substantial progress under Fickell’s leadership and Longo’s offensive strategy. While the Badgers have encountered hurdles and procedural penalties, the overall trajectory is upward.

As Wisconsin football looks ahead to the remainder of the season, the optimism is palpable. The hard work of the players, in addition to the aforementioned benefits that the coaching staff has provided, suggests that the Badgers have the potential to make significant noise in the Big Ten.

“I want more wins, right?” Fickell said. “We all have a selfish nature to us. But the key is can we not let it override us with what’s best for the team and recognize what’s best for the team.”

The midseason evaluation of Fickell’s first year leading the UW football program indicates that the Badgers are on the right path. With a focus on eliminating errors, maintaining consistency and unlocking their full offensive potential, they have a bright future ahead. As the season progresses, fans can anticipate further growth and exciting developments from this emerging powerhouse in the making.

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