Who Will Lead Them?
In Wisconsin Badgers football coach Bret Bielema's search to hire a new offensive coordinator, Bielema said he wants to retain a pro-style offense to maintain the prolific ways of the Badgers.
Former UW offensive coordinator and new University of Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst not only took his successful scheme but a handful of UW offensive assistants with him, making his moccasins even larger to fill.
Here are the three main requirements for Wisconsin and its new offensive coordinator to attain success on offense for the 2012 season and beyond.
The good news is that the new offensive coordinator will have one of college football's best running backs and Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball returning for his senior year.
Ball is a coordinator's dream. He runs well, catches well and plays tough.
But the coordinator must take advantage of the Badgers' traditionally large and strong line with a scheme that maximizes Ball's abilities and minimizes his vulnerability.
The new OC must utilize all of Ball's skills while not overloading him with too many carries. In other words, develop a balanced offense that passes the ball enough to keep a defense off kilter. Screens with blockers out front and Ball in the open field would be a nice staple.
Also, using junior running back James White will be important in getting Ball some rest to maintain his durability and getting White sharpened to be the main man the following season.
Paul Chryst was only blessed with the arm and speed of Russell Wilson at quarterback for one season. Previously, he developed solid, strong, smart game managers like Scott Tolzien, Tyler Donovan and John Stocco.
Wisconsin's new OC must also be able to muster the most out of his unproven quarterback stable and find and develop an intelligent game manager for this upcoming season.
The QB questions begin and don't end with two-time ACL surgery victim Curt Phillips and three young unprovens who haven't stood out any more than their names: Joel, Joe, Jon (Stave, Brennan and Budmayr, respectively).
True freshman, Concord (Calif.) De LaSalle quarterback Bart Houston, will be on campus bringing some impressive credentials as an elite-11 high school quarterback.
His development is undoubtedly a priority, but while a promising investment, 2012 seems too premature to yield any dividends from him.
Montee Ball and Wisconsin's behemoth offensive line are formidable and could probably win half the games on the 2012 schedule on their own.
However, if the Badgers are to repeat as Big Ten champions, they must balance their offense and support their running attack by throwing the ball consistently and accurately. Can you say "play action?"
In case the Badgers don't have the panache at quarterback they had in Russell Wilson, they will have to throw more reliable passes to their sure-handed possession receivers.
Luckily, the new OC will have these reliable mitts in returning starter Jared Abbrederis and the emerging Jeff Duckworth at receiver and a strong bevy of tight ends including Jacob Pederson.
If Wisconsin's new offensive coordinator can provide a multi-faceted attack that doesn't rely too much on any one position, especially the quarterback this season, the Badgers can find success on the offensive side of the ball.
Hopefully, Bielema will find the guy who can find his place captaining the UW offensive ship without any expectations of smooth sailing in 2012.