When people think of the most dynamic offenses in football names like Oregon, Clemson and pretty much any team that plays in the Big 12 come to mind. These teams run a wide-open offense that is the stuff of video game legend. The Wisconsin Badgers are not known for being an offensive juggernaut. They run a traditional, pro-style offense that is known for grinding opponents into submission. Behind a bruising offensive line and a stable of running backs, the Badgers have become one of the premier rushing programs in the country. While the ground game has been dominant, the passing game in years past has lagged behind. This season could be the year to buck that trend.
Entering his first season as the full-time starter, Alex Hornibrook will look for weapons to latch onto. Tight end Troy Fumagalli will be a focal point of the offense following a strong 2016 campaign, but the player that could push the Badger offense to the next level is senior Wide Receiver Jazz Peavy. Peavy has grown tremendously during his time in Madison. The Kenosha native has gone from a part-time specialist seeing the majority of his action as a punt returner, to a dynamic playmaker whose quickness and sudden burst are invaluable to the offense.
Peavy primarily operates out of the slot, allowing him to get mismatches against linebackers and safeties whom have little chance of keeping up with him. He is quick enough to shake defenders on underneath routes, while still being explosive enough to punish teams up the seam. Where Peavy really took the Badger offense to the next level last season was with his ability to create big plays on jet sweeps. The threat of Wisconsin’s traditional downhill ground game has defenders locked in on stopping the between the tackles runs, which leaves room on the outside for Peavy to run wild. Whether on a jet action, or on a reverse, Peavy could explode outside and leave defenses guessing as shredded them for chunk yardage. With a young quarterback like Hornibrook, being able to get plays of 20+ yards can be instrumental in relieving the pressure of mounting long drives.
With the departure of Rob Wheelwright, Peavy is now the most experienced member of the receiving core. If he can continue to build on his strong season from last year, Peavy’s skill set will translate well to the modern NFL. With teams using multiple wide-out sets now more than ever, his ability to operate out of the slot while impacting the running and passing game makes Peavy a desirable NFL asset. He will face more of a challenge this year as teams will load up to stop him. He will likely see bracket coverage and a heavy dose of first-team corners each and every Saturday. With that being said, if the Badgers continue to find creative ways to get him the ball in space, Peavy is set to have a major impact on what could be one the better offenses that has graced Camp Randall in recent memory.