Wisconsin Football: Badgers' Passing Game Must Improve in 2014

Wisconsin's Focus During Offseason Needs to Be the Passing Game

1/1/14 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Wisconsin (9-4, 6-2 Big Ten) fell victim to a second-half collapse against South Carolina in Wednesday’s Capital One Bowl, losing 34-24 and failing to win a postseason game for the fourth time in as many years. Blog Photo - Wisconsin Football: Badgers' Passing Game Must Improve in 2014

Quarterbacks Joel Stave and Curt Phillips were held to just 117 yards passing, marking the ninth time this season that the Badgers threw for under 200 yards as a team—something that will be an area of focus for coach Gary Andersen’s offense moving into the offseason.

“I don't have all the answers,” said Andersen during the post-game press conference. “If we had all the answers, we would have done it differently and thrown the ball better all year long, but we have to if we're going to take the next step as a program. 

“I know that, and all that's involved, from the offensive line all the way to me, and everybody in between.”

It’s not like Wisconsin’s passing game has been completely incompetent. Stave’s 137.4 passer efficiency ranks 57th out of FBS quarterbacks, and his 54.1 QBR sits at No. 74. Not numbers that jump off the page, but they’re middle-of-the-road and for the most part, helped Wisconsin get by.

Consistency was a rare find, though. Stave completed under 55 percent of his passes in four different games and had his QBR jump all over the place from a week-to-week basis.

Only a sophomore, Stave should continue to get better and another offseason learning Andersen’s offense will help him develop as a more efficient passer. But he’ll need to watch out for the future of Wisconsin’s pass attack: four-star dual-threat D.J. Gillins.

Gillins, a class of 2014 commit, is expected to bring a Chuckie Keeton-like presence to the Badgers’ offense, something that Andersen needs to run the kind of scheme he was used to at Utah State. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Jacksonville native has a 4.5 40-time and has a true playmaking element to his game.

Either way, we can look forward to Wisconsin’s passing game to improve from its performance in 2013.  With half of the Badgers’ rushing production graduating in James White, it has no choice but to get better.

*All quotes were obtained first hand.

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