Wisconsin Football: How Danny O'Brien Plans to Keep Badgers on Top of Big Ten
When Danny O'Brien becomes a Badger in earnest, there will be no place to hide from the spotlight. Every throw, drop-back, sack and interception will be scrutinized. Every play will seemingly determine O'Brien's legacy in the cardinal and white.
Wisconsin has become accustomed to winning, and its fans will not tolerate a backslide in any shape or form. So, naturally, the former Terp star needs a plan to keep the win-loss ratio firmly in his favor.
The good news is that Russell Wilson's blueprints for dominance are still on the shelf. A favorable schedule, as well as a lack of elite quarterbacks to contend with in the conference should also give Wisconsin's latest addition a place to start building.
Phase 1: Command the Offense
The complete understanding of the team's X's and O's will directly impact O'Brien's W's and L's.
One of the biggest reasons O'Brien chose Wisconsin over his other suitors was due to the familiarity of the pro-style offense Wisconsin is known for. But a coaching change will be keeping the entire unit on its heels as new coordinator Matt Canada will look to build on Paul Chryst's play book.
To keep the Badgers marching toward the end zone, O'Brien will have to set the tone in the film room, in practice and in the huddle. His knowledge of the schemes must be complete and his decisions will consequently be quicker and more accurate.
What's more, by setting an example of humility and hard work, the transfer will find it easier to move on to the second phase of the plan.
Phase 2: Build Team Chemistry
The quarterback is often seen as the lynchpin of any good offense. The position demands leadership, and requires trust even more.
Russell Wilson's success was rooted in a very simple principle: respect breeds effort. When push came to shove, Wilson's linemen, receivers and running backs would make that extra block or run the extra yard because they wanted their teammate to succeed.
O'Brien must inspire the same sense of loyalty. As a transfer, winning over a new locker room will have to become a top priority and could very well spell the difference between a Rose Bowl or a Gator Bowl.
Phase 3: Don't Do Everything
Danny O'Brien should be the envy of all transfer quarterbacks for two big reasons: the Wisconsin backfield and the Wisconsin offensive line.
New quarterbacks must often shed the idea that it is always up to them to win the game. In Madison, signal callers have not traditionally had that pressure put on their shoulders. O'Brien can lead Wisconsin back to the promised land in Pasadena by not forcing the ball into coverage and handing the ball off as often as possible.
O'Brien's last year at Maryland yielded more interceptions than touchdowns. Montee Ball and James White can help O'Brien relax and reverse that trend in a hurry.