Today we are going behind “enemy” lines to talk some Wisconsin Badger football as we enter the Week 1 of both team’s seasons.
We spoke with Tyler Hunt from Bucky’s Fifth Quarter about the expectations for the season, what USF fans should look for on Friday night, and for anyone wanting to venture to Camp Randall Stadium, some must see places to eat and drink.
1. What are general expectations from the fan base coming off an 8-5 year. Especially with everyone in the B1G West (except Illinois) having/getting their acts together.
I think the expectations remain pretty high. If you look at the past decade, Ohio State and Wisconsin lead the conference in wins. The Badgers have had a model of consistency for quite some time and I think last year being an outlier is more likely than another bad season.
There were a lot of issues last Fall, but I think most of it has been cleaned up. Wisconsin is being slept on, and honestly I think fans are ok with that. We’re used to it in a way. Last year we started top 5 and crumbled. I’d rather be off the radar and come on over the course of the year.
2. What should we expect from the starting Jack Coan? And with an exciting blue chip prospect in Mertz, do you feel more or less confident going into this season with Coan under center?
Jack Coan has all the tools to be a consistent player for Wisconsin. People seem to study his numbers last year a little too much, but he was often throw in or pulled back out and never knew if he was going to be playing/starting. This year he knew he was the guy if he earned it in Fall camp and I believe he did that.
Turnovers will be the key. I think Jack throws a good ball, and has improved his arm strength, so if he can take care of the football he’ll be a solid option for the Badgers. I feel pretty confident in Jack going into the season. I think he has a lot of doubters he wants to prove wrong. A lot of the fan base has moved onto Mertz, and he’s extremley talent too, but I don’t hate him being able to develop in time.
3. Outside of Jonathan Taylor, who do we need to worry about on both offense and defense?
On offense I think you need to worry about Jake Ferguson at tight end. He’s a big target, and Wisconsin always makes the tight end a staple piece of their offense. With Coan still kind of getting his feet under him, I expect Ferguson to have a big role in the offense early in the season. He’s a little banged up for Friday, but he’s really the only tight end that’s able to play this week so I expect to see action from Fergie early and often.
On defense the worry should be on Garrett Rand. He did not play at all in 2018 due to injury, but the guy is a wrecking ball at defensive end. He can stifle a run game and get after the quarterback. With him being out all of last year, he’ll be eager to get out there and make some plays. He’s a name that only the fans really know about right now, but that will change.
4. What unit are you relying on the most to make a leap this season?
On that same note, I am really relying on the defensive line for Wisconsin to make a leap this season. Garrett Rand and Isiaiahh Loudermilk are both back at the end positions after a 2018 that saw them miss a lot of time due to injury. Those injuries were significant, and you saw it on the field. Wisconsin produced the least amount of sacks or turnovers in the last ten years in 2018. They had no pressure from the line and the rest of the units suffered behind them. The DL needs to make a jump and stay healthy to make this thing go in 2019.
5. What is your/fan perception of playing USF on the road to open a season?
Fans seem to be a litte weary of the road trip, but I think that’s because they aren’t used to it. It’s the Badgers first true road game to open the season since 2010 when they played at UNLV. They’ve had some neutral site openers, but this is a little different.
Normally the Badgers open with a cupcake at home and are slow out of the gate, but still win by 28. This year you can’t do that. I think that’s kind of a good thing. It’s time to get down to it right out of the gate, and when you’re not at your home stadium against a much lesser opponent I think you’re more aware of that. I think it will be a great test for this team early in the season.
6. What is the best place to eat and best place to drink in Madison? (we have a guy who lives about three hours away, he might come visit for a game)
Oh there are so many places. It’s hard to go wrong at any of them. I personally love the Old Fashioned. If you want a glimpse into what it’s like to be a Wisconsinite I suggest going there. It’s authentic and homey. The food is great too, especially the cheese curds (of course). To drink, on Gameday I would head to Jordan’s Big Ten Pub. Just an all around great place fairly close to the stadium.
Thank you again Tyler and all of Bucky’s Fifth Quarter for the friendly banter!