Rex breaks down the new position coaches on the offensive side of the ball and hints at what we can expect from them in 2013.
by Rexford Shield
Background: Woods joins the Wisconsin coaching staff after coaching the offensive line at Utah State with Andersen. To say that Woods did an impressive job with the Aggies would be a drastic understatement. This past season, the unit set school records for total offense (6,108 yards) and total points (454). Center Tyler Larsen and tackle Eric Schultz earned first-team All-WAC honors while guard Jamie Markosian was a second-team all-league choice. Additionally, Utah State's big boys upfront joined Wisconsin, Oregon and Western Kentucky as the only programs to have a 1,500-yard rusher in each of the last two seasons.
of player success, New Mexico's offensive line enjoyed quite a bit of success
with center Erik Cook earning second-team All-Mountain West honors and
offensive tackle Byron Bell was named to the 2008 CollegeFootballNews.com
All-Freshman team. Cook and Bell both made their way to the NFL, landing with
the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers, respectively.
Recruiting Emphasis: When he arrived on campus, he was involved in the recruitment of three offensive linemen: Hayden Biegel (3-star, 6-foot-6, 240 lbs; Wisconsin Rapids, WI), Matt Miller (3-star, 6-foot-5, 260 lbs; Perrysburg, Ohio) and Jack Keeler (3-star, 6-foot-7, 285 lbs; Barrington, Illinois).
According to his comments, he previously recruited southern California, northern California, Dallas, Houston and Miami so he has enough ties around the country that should allow fans to breathe easy. Moreover, playing collegiately at Iowa State allowed him to maintain some ties in the Midwest, which should help dramatically. According to an he will be responsible for Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Indiana.
Style of Play: I'm no expert in offensive line lingo so I will not even try to speculate the type of schemes Woods will utilize. Rather, I will refer to Woods' comments with reporters earlier in the offseason to dictate what style of play he will instill. “Zone schemes and power schemes, both. I like pullers and things like that. It’s run first.” Additionally, “my philosophy will be whatever coach Ludwig wants and whatever he wants to do with this offense. I think it’s pretty evident if you look at where we’ve been, where we come from and where he comes from. We’re going to run to win. That’s in all, part of our DNA.”
Impression: Woods is in a very good position to continue the dominant tradition of the “Big Uglies” upfront. However, there are plenty of question marks surrounding the group and it will make for an interesting start to the season if he is able to handle those uncertainties. From a player's perspective, this is the third coach since the beginning of last season that players have had so it will be crucial during the spring season as well in fall camp to get the terminology and various techniques squared away to avoid another disastrous start like last year.
Based on his past accolades and track records, I am fully confident Woods can maintain the Wisconsin tradition of dominating the line of scrimmage and producing NFL-caliber talent.
Chris Beatty: Wide Receivers Coach
Background: Throughout the duration of his coaching career, Beatty has not been unaccustomed to big-name players. He coached Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey at West Virginia, and Jordan Matthews (an all-SEC player) and Chris Boyd at Vanderbilt. Also, he was involved in the high school coaching ranks at Landstown High School, where he coached the dynamic playmaker Percy Harvin of the Seattle Seahawks. With these players in mind, it's difficult not to get excited about the work he can do with Jared Abbrederis in vaulting his game to the next level. Besides Abbrederis, it will be a fascinating phenomenon to see the improved play of Kenzel Doe in the slot, especially given the glowing success of the speedy Austin, and the play of Marquis Mason, who has underperformed to say the least since his arrival on campus.
The wide receivers have gone through two coaches in as many years yet Beatty seems that he wants his track record to speak for itself with the adjustment of his players. “I got a little track record so those guys can look at some of the guys I’ve coached in the past and say, ‘Hey, he isn’t coming in to his first rodeo.’ I’ve been at this level before. That part of it is exciting for them. They’re hoping they’ve got somebody that can elevate their game just a little bit. It’s exciting for me,” he said to reporters on March 11. “I’m trying to be somewhere and not move. I’ve moved a little bit. All of them were good. Then last year (Illinois) wasn’t so good. It’s all part of the profession. Like I said, these guys are really good guys and we’re just going to develop them.”
Finally, and most notably, nine of his former players have gone on to the NFL and has also mentored 13 all-conference honorees.
Recruiting Emphasis: While he did not have any stake in the recruitment of any Wisconsin players this year, he has a plethora of experience in the field as he was the recruiting coordinator for West Virginia in 2010.
Impression: Of all of the new faces on the offensive side of the ball, Beatty may have the toughest job in front of him. While the position group has plenty of viable guys to complement Jared Abbrederis--like Jordan Frederick, Reggie Love, Kenzel Doe, Jeff Duckworth and Marquis Mason―their talent has not transformed into on-the-field-production. Andersen has mentioned at least one time this spring the amount of drops the group has had and also the need for someone to step up beyond Abbrederis.
All in all, two things stand out to me that Beatty needs to focus on: down-the-field blocking and the threat of a vertical passing game. Obviously, Ludwig will run the ball a majority of the time and with the speed of Gordon and White off the edges, blocking from the wide receiver position will be key. Moreover, whoever is under center, it was evident last year that the offense had an abundant amount of success stretching the defense with the play-action pass down the field. If Beatty can find another receiver besides Abbrederis to do that, this group will be just fine.
Jeff Genyk: Tight Ends/Special Teams Coach
Background: Jay Boulware previously served at...Oh, wait. Boulware returned home to his original roots for Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma Sooners, which prompted Andersen to hire former Nevada tight end coach Jeff Genyk. Ironically enough, Genyk did practically the same thing at Nevada, as he was recently hired there earlier from Cal. For this reason alone, you have to love college football.
Anyway, back to the task at hand, Genyk will serve as the tight ends coach as well as handle the Special Teams duties. While the tight end group is extremely deep―both in terms of talent and experience―the special teams group is a slight different story and will be an uphill battle for Genyk.
In regards to the tight ends group, . “First of all, I think they have very good work ethic. They're very focused during meetings. They have great football intelligence. They have a lot of experience. They've adapted well to new terminology, similar schemes but new terminology. And they also are very much of a team as a unit. They understand that the better all eight tight ends are, the more depth we have and therefore everybody will have,” he said.
Regarding Special Teams, Genyk had this to say in the same interview: “What I'm trying to convey to those young men is the aspect that you can't [just] be results-oriented. You have to focus on the execution. And hopefully, through the months of training and that, they can focus on the execution in critical situations and pressure situations, and when adversity strikes. How do you respond? Hopefully I can instill a culture of great want-to, excitement, and having fun on special teams. Understanding how important field position is, big plays, momentum shifts. But more than anything, understanding that it really puts our team in a great position to have everyone involved.”
Recruiting Emphasis: Genyk will primarily recruit in Michigan, Northern Ohio, and the San Francisco Bay area. Given his history at Eastern Michigan and Cal, there are familiar areas for Genyk to work with in terms of recruiting.
Also, he mentioned he might recruit in Illinois because of his ties with Northwestern. “It's all about relationships and ties, and it also helps geographically to know where to go. You can be more efficient as far as logistics are concerned,” he said in the aforementioned interview. That sounds like a promo for UPS, don't you think?
Impression: If he doesn't switch schools by next January, he's a safe pick with me. But, in all seriousness, I really like the pick. His eyes should light up with the overall skill level of the tight ends but it is still important for Genyk to get the most out of this talent pool. Unlike former tight end coach Eddie Faulkner, he actually has experience with both groups and should get Badger fans extremely excited. However, my biggest concern is obviously with the special teams unit. The kicking game was horribly inconsistent (horribly is a nice way of putting it) a year ago and cost Wisconsin some huge opportunities for victories (see: at Nebraska primarily). I would like to see Genyk pick the starter for placekicker and kick-off, respectively, and stick with them, whether it be Kyle French or Jack Russell. In the punting game, the sky is the limit for sophomore punter Drew Meyer and it will be fascinating to see how Genyk handles his abilities going forward.
On the contrary, the return game should be in good hands with Genyk, as he will be able to utilize Abbrederis and Doe in the punt-return game and possibly White and Gordon in the kick-return game? I highly doubt both of UW's starting running backs will be in the end zone to return kicks but it's still fun to imagine the possibilities.
There is a lot of work to do at many of the key positions offensively (i.e. quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line). Will this new coaching staff be able to overcome the difficulties at the various positions both for the short-term and long-term? I hope these previews will allow you to judge for yourself.