The Wisconsin Badgers are likely to undergo a wealth of changes this offseason, beginning with their offensive strategy under new head coach, Gary Andersen. However, this much is certain, the run game will continue to be an integral part of the offense– even without record-breaking rusher, Montee Ball.
Ball was one of the best running backs in school history and was one of the main reasons that the Badgers were so successful in years past, earning three consecutive Rose Bowl bids.
The run game was so important under Bret Bielema that Ball rushed for over 5,100 yards and 83 total touchdowns in his four-year career. His backup? James White, a former starter who split carries with Ball for the last three seasons, has accumulated over 2,500 yards and 33 total touchdowns since 2010.
And guess what? White is back for the 2013 season, making a perfect replacement for Ball.
Between Ball and White, there were over 7,600 yards gained and 116 touchdowns. That’s a pretty solid offensive output from what seems to be the most important position in the Wisconsin offense.
How will Andersen’s rushing offense differ from Bielema’s? Not much. Bielema may have relied on the run game a bit more than did Andersen, but it was almost eerily similar in the way that they both ran the ball exceptionally well.
The Utah State offense under Andersen was ranked in the top 25 in the nation in rushing for the past few seasons and so did the Badger offense.
It looks like the speedy James White will flourish under Andersen’s system and a dual-threat quarterback will fit the offense perfectly to make the option a possibility. Don’t be surprised if the Badgers are once again tops in the Big Ten in rushing in 2013 and beyond.