The Wisconsin Badgers had one spot still open on new head coach Gary Andersen’s first staff in Madison for a wide receivers coach, a position Andersen hoped to fill quickly following National Signing Day. It will be an important position for the Badgers moving forward, and Andersen hopes he found his guy in Chris Beatty.
Beatty comes to Madison via Champagne, Illinois, after spending one season as the wide receivers/quarterbacks coach and primary play caller for the Illinois Fighting Illini last season. He only lasted one year before being dismissed after the Illini finished last in the Big Ten in scoring offense (16.7 points per game) and total offense (296.7 yards per game).
The former co-offensive coordinator for Illinois also has experience as a wide receivers coach with the Vanderbilt Commodores (2011), running backs and slot receivers coach with the West Virginia Mountaineers (2008-2010) and running backs coach with the Northern Illinois Huskies (2007). He’s been successful enough at his previous stops to Illinois to move up quickly through the coaching ranks, but may have gotten out of his element calling plays last season.
Wisconsin hopes having him focus on a single position and not worrying about play calling will be a positive move for Beatty. He has plenty of experience, including a year against the Big Ten, which will be invaluable to Andersen as he makes the move up to the BCS conference coaching ranks. Beatty was also considered a strong recruiter during his time at West Virginia.
Beatty will have his hands full trying to turn around the Wisconsin receiving corps and finding complementary options for Jared Abbrederis in 2013. Wisconsin had just two receivers catch more than 20 passes last season, and the Badgers finished dead last in the Big Ten in passing offense and ranked No. 111 in the country. With Montee Ball moving on, the passing game will have to step up in 2013 and carry its share of the offensive load.
Is Beatty the answer for the Badgers’ passing game? He’s shown an ability to coach up positions in the past and he’ll have a young group of receivers to groom in Madison. How well he handles his first professional setback at Illinois will play a major role in his ability to mentor the wide receivers of Wisconsin.