Wisconsin OC Praises Team’s WRs, Appears To Take Subtle Dig At The Old Regime And Graham Mertz

Videos by OutKick

Wisconsin offensive coordinator Phil Longo wants fans to know the wide receivers on the roster are pretty talented.

The Badgers have had a passing attack over the past three years that resembled more of a water gun than a rifle. It was downright watching the Graham Mertz-led offense at times. Passing the ball seemed like an impossible task for large chunks of his tenure.

Now, Luke Fickell and Phil Longo are in charge, Mertz left for Florida, Tanner Mordecai is the presumed QB1 and the team’s OC wants people to know the WR room isn’t terrible.

Former Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz transferred to Florida. It’s a new era under Luke Fickell in Madison. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Phil Longo has confidence in the passing attack.

Longo praised the team’s wide receivers while also appearing to (accidentally?) take a small dig at the old regime Paul Chryst oversaw before being fired.

“The receivers here are actually very talented. I don’t think everybody knows how talented the current receivers who are here on the roster are because the offense was different. So, the stage that they had to perform and present what they’re capable of doing in open space and routes and catching the football really wasn’t an option for them. Here, we’re just giving them the platform to go do what they were recruited to do, and that’s run routes and catch the football. Now, they get to do it more,” Longo said in a video recently shared by the team.

Fans are expecting much better in 2023.

Longo might not have mentioned anyone by name, but when the word “actually” is used before praising someone, it’s rarely a good thing.

It’s used as a buffer when someone generally doesn’t believe what’s being said. For example, if I say, “Joe Biden actually is competent” compared to “Joe Biden is competent,” it reads differently and inherently has a different tone.

Same applies here, and it’s hard to blame anyone lacking confidence in the WR room. Chimere Dike, Keontez Lewis, Skyler Bell and C.J. Williams might all have a lot of natural talent, but so far, nothing has been proven.

Will Wisconsin’s passing attack be better in 2023? (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Last year, Graham Mertz threw for 2,126 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing just 57.3% of his passes. While it wasn’t horrific, it definitely wasn’t good enough. Dike finished the year as the team’s leading receiver with 689 yards. No other receiver had more than 450 yards.

When Longo says he’s just giving guys a “platform” to show off their skills, it definitely comes off as a dig at Paul Chryst and the Graham Mertz era. Throwing the ball was a chore back then and an impressive throw was about as rare as dinosaur sighting. That definitely won’t be the case with Tanner Mordecai slinging it around.

Wisconsin Badgers football fans have huge expectations for the 2023 season? (Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Wisconsin fans have huge expectations for Fickell, Longo and the Badgers in 2023. The passing attack better be much better (it should be) or frustrations will quickly boil over.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply