In a 38-13 win over the Minnesota Gophers, the Wisconsin Badgers went creative and introduced a wildcat formation known as the “barge” package.
At the hub of the package is running back James White who’s actually quite familiar with taking the direct snap.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s something I did in high school, so it’s not something that’s too new to me. It’s just another way to me the ball, and I just try to take advantage of it,” said James who scored one of his three touchdowns out of this formation.
Minnesota coach Jerry Kill said following the game, “When you get all of those big guys on one side and you get shifted over there and take care of that side, then they come back on the other side. Well coached, they’ve got a good team.”
Bret Bielema gives all the credit to offensive coordinator Matt Canada who has been practicing the formation for most of the season. They have just been waiting for the right time to use it.
Why not bring it out when the offensive line and running back duo of Montee Ball and White are playing their best football?
The wildcat formation is known as the “barge” package because the large number of offensive lineman used represents a real-life barge quickly moving down a river.
While it showcase’s the running back taking the direct snap, it’s also a favorite of the offensive line.
“It’s an honor for us to be able to do that. As an offensive lineman, you want to be able to put the team on your back. We did that when times were bad and we want to do that when times are good. For us to have a chance to put seven offensive lineman on the field, that’s really putting it on your back,” explained center Travis Frederick.
When left tackle Ryan Groy was asked about the formation, he couldn’t help but jubilantly laugh and say “It’s awesome, James as quarterback is fun. We’ve had the package for a couple of weeks now, but we finally ran it.”
On whether Ball will see some reps from the package, he admits it’s kind-of James’ thing.
“We started off in practice with me doing that, but I’m not really comfortable back there. I wasn’t too good back there. That’s James’ job right there, so he can get the ball in open space.”
For an offense who struggled mightily to find an identity through their first three or four games, it was quite a site to see the Badgers having fun on the football field. Especially for the running backs and offensive line who represent what Wisconsin football is all about.
What did you think of the Badgers wildcat formation? Do you think they can use it in the future? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at email@example.com.
*Pictures obtained from Madison.com and Wisconsin.247sports.com