Wisconsin Badgers: What to Watch For in Conference Play

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Troy Fumagalli #48 of the Wisconsin Badgers aids the offense in Conference play (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The Wisconsin Badgers are flying high heading into conference play. Standing tall at 4-0, including the 40-6 thumping over BYU in week three, coach Paul Chryst’s crew is as confident as ever.

The 2017 Badgers have shown us a lot.  Jonathon Taylor and Danny Davis have proven themselves to be impact freshman, while Nick Nelson and Andrew Van Ginkel stand out as impact transfers.

As we already suspected, the Badgers have great positional depth. Wide receiver specifically has been a pleasant surprise. Many expected AJ Taylor or Quintez Cephus to step up. But it’s one thing to talk about it and another to see it actually play out. With Cephus already posting three TD’s on the season, the Badger’s may have a legitimate receiving corps.  Tight end Troy Fumagalli, the preseason All American, has been nothing short of spectacular, posting three TD’s himself and leading the team with 15 catches.

Here’s what you can look for as the rest of the season plays out.

The secondary will continue clamping down on the opposing passing game

The secondary of this Wisconsin team hasn’t missed a beat even with seniors Leo Musso and Sojourn Shelton graduating. Throughout the early portions of this season we’ve seen a secondary that has suffocated the passing game. Led by Nelson and junior safety D’Cota Dixonevery quarterback the Badgers have faced has thrown an interception. However, a few big plays have been given up. Some have been out of sheer luck, but there have been some breakdowns in coverage. Fans expect this to be cleaned up in Big Ten play.

Watch for how Chryst handles the trio of Taylor, Bradrick Shaw, and Chris James.

With the emergence of the true freshman Taylor, look for him to get the bulk of the carries going forward. Shaw will likely spell him and take some goal line carries, while James will work primarily as a third down back. This is a great problem for the Badgers to have. Three talented running backs all with different capabilities will only enhance the Wisconsin offense. Expect Coach Chryst to balance the backfield accordingly.

Look for more Jazz.

Jazz Peavy has not started his senior season the way he had envisioned. The senior has struggled with the burden of taking more focus from defenses early on in the season. Look for Chryst and offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph to put him in positions to get touches and make plays. As we saw last season, it only takes one touch for Peavy to break out, and Badger fans will be hoping for much of the same. Look for more plays designed specifically for the Badger’s #11.

We are only five weeks in, but there is no denying the promise of a successful Badgers season.  Their balanced offense and suffocating defense are a recipe for a memorable 2017 season. The Badgers are getting into the meat of their schedule now and have one focus: getting back to Indy.

Main Photo

Troy Fumagalli #48 of the Wisconsin Badgers aids the offense in Conference play (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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