All eyes are on new head coach Gary Andersen this Saturday as the Badgers host Tennessee Tech at Camp Randall Stadium.
Both teams won their last games by large margins, Wisconsin steamrolling the University of Massachusetts in a 45-0 blowout. Tennessee Tech won in similar fashion over Cumberland 63-7.
The Golden Eagles featured a prominent ground game in their nonconference opener. Nine different players ran the ball at least once for 323 total rushing yards.
Redshirt junior running back Cody Forbes was one of three running backs to have eight carries, averaging 8.6 yards per carry.
Sophomore running back Ladarius Vanlier had a 52-yard rushing touchdown and added a 93-yard punt return for his second touchdown of the day.
Tennessee Tech runs a spread offense that also added 179 passing yards to six different players.
The Golden Eagles appear to rotate through their possible receivers, giving junior quarterback Darian Stone 8 completions on 11 attempts for 143 yards last week.
Stone has also been labeled a running quarterback.
“We have to be prepared for a wide open offense that’s going to show us a lot,” Andersen said. “It’s going to be interesting how we can handle the true spread offense with a quarterback that runs a lot.”
Wisconsin is starting a new 3-4 defensive look under first season defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
The Badgers held UMass scoreless last Saturday as freshman cornerback Sojourn Shelton snagged an athletic interception.
Both Wisconsin and Tennessee Tech are known for their ground attack. The question is: Which defense will be able to shut down the run and force the other to rely on their passing game?
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joel Stave had a slow start for the Badgers last week, completing 4 of 11 passes with one interception.
Stave’s second half showed clear improvement as he completed 5 of 6 passes.
One area that Andersen was hoping for improvement in was special teams. The Badgers devoted time in practice this week to improving their punting and kicking.
“We need to play better on special teams,” Andersen said. “I expect to play better on special teams.”
Andersen had his punt blockers going up against 12 men in practice. He referred to this tactic as preparing for the worst case scenario.
Saturday’s game against Tennessee Tech will be at 11:00 a.m. on the Big Ten Network.