Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with Wisconsin Badgers expert

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 3
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

Is Graham Mertz’s role as starting quarterback in jeopardy?

I highly doubt it. Yes, the games have been rough this year, but this is a case of ‘the grass isn’t always greener.’ Chase Wolf is QB2 and he has a history of turning the ball over more than Mertz. He’s more mobile, but he has a tendency to throw some bombs in double or even triple coverage that get picked off. The lone score for Eastern Michigan in Week 2 was a 98-yard pick-six off of Wolf. I think the Badgers are going to roll with Mertz all year in hopes that he turns things around.

What has happened to the Badgers run game?

I think it’s a combination of things, and none of it has to do with the talent of the running backs. This is probably the most talented group the Badgers have had since the Montee Ball/Melvin Gordon/James White days. Jonathan Taylor was elite, but he never had a ton behind him. The offensive line is relatively raw and the coaches keep switching things up, trying to find the right combination that works, making the play at the position pretty inconsistent. Graham Mertz’s struggles are also a contribution. When the quarterback can’t throw the ball, opposing defenses are going to stack the box and force you to throw. So I don’t think the running backs are the problem, I think it’s an offensive problem as a whole.