2013 Spring Game Preview: Wisconsin Badgers

Camp Randall Stadium

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a Rose Bowl appearance, the Wisconsin Badgers will look considerably different this upcoming season. Gone is head coach Bret Bielema to Arkansas, gone is more than half of the assistant coaches, some of whom followed Bielema to Arkansas, others accepted positions elsewhere.  Also gone is FBS rushing touchdown leader Montee Ball who left an indelible mark on the program and continued the trend of churning out excellent running backs.

But in comes Gary Andersen, who took Utah State to their first winning season since 1997 in 2011 and an 11-2 record last year while bringing the team their first bowl victory in 15 years.  Andersen brings in his own staff and his own approach. He retained two assistants from last year while bringing in five new ones. Two notable coordinators that Andersen brought in were Andy Ludwig and Dave Aranda.  Ludwig spent the past two years at San Diego State, where his offense averaged 32.9 points per game and was 20th in the country in rushing.  Aranda comes with Andersen from Utah State, where he led the defense to the eighth best scoring defense per game at 15.4 points per game. Additionally, he finished in the top-15 nationally in a host of other key defensive metrics.

Two things to note from the coaching staff changes will be the new philosophies employed by the coaching staff.  Aranda is implementing a 3-4 defense, something not typically used in the Big Ten. Aranda will be constantly looking to bring pressure; however, the Badgers could run into some trouble with some of the bigger, power running teams.  While speed off the outside is a strong-suit of this defensive look, the Badgers will need a big season out of standout defensive player Beau Allen.

Another thing that will be different coming from the coaching side of things is the way in which the Badgers run the ball.  Andersen has long been a proponent of running the ball; however, he ran what amounted to a run-heavy spread offense.  Though he has promised to keep the same identity that has been of great success to the Badgers in the past, Andersen has also promised to put his own spin on the system, promising to add in option plays and some more spread attack plays.

From the players perspective  their are two key positions to watch, quarterback and in the secondary.  Coming into camp, all four quarterbacks currently here — Danny O’Brien, Joel Stave, Curt Phillips and Bart Houston — were all given a chance to compete.  From this log-jam of quarterbacks, Stave and Phillips have emerged as the two favorites.  With Tanner McEvoy coming over the summer, this race could be thrown even more into entropy.  Additionally, only Dezmen Southward returns from last year’s team.  Will the younger guys be able to step up?  Signs in spring camp say yes as freshman Sojurn Shelton has played incredibly in practice and is fighting for the nickel corner spot.

Due to a lack of healthy offensive linemen, this will not be a traditional spring game but more of a scored practice. The scoring for the game is as follows, courtesy of Bucky’s Fifth Quarter:

OFFENSE

Touchdown = 6 pts.
Conversion = 1 or 2 pts. (ALL LIVE)
Field goal = 3 pts.
Run of 15+ yards = 2 pts.
Pass of 20+ yards = 2 pts.
First Down = 1 pt.

DEFENSE

Touchdown = 6 pts.
Safety = 2 pts.
Conversion = 1 or 2 pts. (ALL LIVE)
Turnover = 5 pts.
3-and-out = 3 pts.
Blocked FG = 3 pts.
Stopped drive, Sack, TFL = 2 pts.

The timing for the game is also different. The game will feature two 15-minute quarters and two ten-minute running time quarters.  Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. CT from Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisc.

Brian Weidy is a Wisconsin Badgers writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter @frostedweidies or add him to your network on Google.

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