Wisconsin Football: Badgers to run spread with three tight ends?

Gary Andersen could use a three-tight-end spread formation

4/9/13 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

During his tenure with Utah State, new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen ran a spread offense that never relied on a single outlet for success.Blog Photo - Wisconsin Football: Badgers to run spread with three tight ends?

Ten receivers had at least one touchdown reception in 2012 – with four different players having five each – and there was a nice balance of creating plays for running back Kerwynn Williams and quarterback Chuckie Keeton on the ground.

Wisconsin has been highly acclimated to the power run offense, behind monstrous offensive linemen and nimble, yet strong tailbacks. Although Andersen has already stated that the Badgers will still run plays from this set, there’s no doubt that we’ll see some changes to a scheme that’s been hammered into this program for years.

For example, while many teams would consider a three-tight-end set to be a “power formation,” Andersen could take an innovative route. He hinted during this week’s practice that the team could enter a spread formation with three tight ends on the field.

"Just because we play in that personnel group doesn't mean we need to pack it all in there and have 20 guys sitting in the middle of the field with offense and defense smashing on top of each other," Anderson told CoachingSearch.com. "We can still spread it. Our tight ends are skilled, they run well, they're athletic enough to get out in space and cause some mismatches in space as well as they can on or off the line of scrimmage.”

When Andersen hired Andy Ludwig from San Diego State to be the offensive coordinator, we figured the tight end would be a point of focus – Ludwig favored the tight end through the passing game while with the Aztecs.

He’s also got some pretty good players to work with, including NFL prospect Jacob Pedersen. Brian Wozniak, Blog Photo - Wisconsin Football: Badgers to run spread with three tight ends?Sam Arneson, and Austin Taylor are players that will get opportunities to impact the passing game as well, especially in this unique formation.

A plus side to this idea is the fact that Andersen could still utilize the power running game without making personnel changes in between plays. This is expected to keep opponents on their toes and hopefully make some mistakes.

"There are a lot of positives to that,” said Andersen. “It can slow down an aggressive defense with their sub packages and not allow them to get as much skill on the field, because they don't know what's coming their way. It may be power football, it may be spread football.

“(Andy) Ludwig will do a great job mixing that and I think the kids are excited about that opportunity. Every kid wants to go play wide receiver, right? It's good for them."

Wisconsin will host its annual Cardinal vs. White spring game on April 20.

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