Gary Andersen came to the Wisconsin Badgers in 2013 and installed a new style of defense upon his arrival. Wisconsin switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4, played more man-to-man coverage, and attacked opposing offenses mercilessly all season long. Andersen and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda simply moved their defensive philosophy over from the Utah State Aggies and found instant success, laying the groundwork for long-term success in Madison.
Last season, Wisconsin put together a very good defense, ranking No. 15 in the nation in yards allowed and No. 16 in points allowed. This year, they’ve been even better, ranking among college football’s best defenses in 2013. The Badgers rank No. 6 in total defense this season, allowing just 294 yards per game this season, and No. 5 in scoring defense, giving up 14.8 points per game. They have been able to hold strong and contain some of the most explosive offenses in the country.
The personnel on the Wisconsin roster took to Andersen’s new philosophy immediately and thrived. Chris Borland, in particular, enjoyed the transition in 2013, averaging 9.27 tackles per game as he led the team with 102 tackles in just 11 games this season, including 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, a fumble recovery, two pass breakups and five quarterback hurries on his way to winning Big Ten Linebacker of the Year honors.
Building his defense up will be the first step in Andersen putting his stamp on the Wisconsin job and building a consistent winner in the Big Ten to challenge the Urban Meyer led Ohio State Buckeyes in the Leaders Division. Can the defense get even better in year two under Andersen and get the Badgers back to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl?