After a brief hiatus, the Hope and Concern series is back with the Wisconsin Badgers.
Biggest reason for hope: The rushing attack (what else?)
Wisconsin has reached a point where it can count on having an elite rushing attack every year. The Badgers can lose a former Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year winner in John Clay and still feel very confident about their situation at running back. Wisconsin boasts quite possibly the nation's best running back tandem in Montee Ball and James White, the 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Arguably no back in the country had a stronger second half in 2010 than Ball, and White's speed and elusiveness bring a new element to Wisconsin's power run game. Both backs have improved their bodies during the offseason and are poised for big things this fall. And while the offensive line loses two All-Americans in Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt, Wisconsin's track record of producing first-rate linemen suggests the team will reload up front.
Biggest reason for concern: The quarterbacks
Wisconsin couldn't feel overly confident about the quarterback position coming out of the spring. Projected starter Jon Budmayr had his ups and downs, and the news that injuries would keep Curt Phillips sidelined for the season elevated concern about quarterback depth. The team is wisely pursuing former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson, who would add a proven signal-caller to the mix. Wilson could be the piece Wisconsin needs to win another Big Ten title, but there's no guarantee he comes to Madison. If not, the Badgers need Budmayr to progress during the summer and perform more consistently (read: limit mistakes) when the season rolls around. Perhaps most important, Wisconsin needs Budmayr to stay healthy as there's no proven depth behind him.
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