WISCONSIN BADGERS

UW offensive coordinator Bobby Engram working to understand strengths, weaknesses and what changes to make

Jeff Potrykus
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Bobby Engram, shown here as the Baltimore Ravens tight ends coach, is Wisconsin's new offensive coordinator.

MADISON – One week into his new job as Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator, Bobby Engram hasn’t had enough time to become familiar with his personnel and begin formulating any potential tweaks to the offense.

However, Engram acknowledged Friday he has met with quarterbacks Graham Mertz and Chase Wolf. The topic of discussion was UW’s interest in quarterback Caleb Williams, who transferred from Oklahoma to USC.

Sources told the Journal Sentinel that Williams never planned to choose UW and would instead follow his former coach, Lincoln Riley, to USC. Williams announced last Saturday he was transferring to USC.

“With the (transfer) portal now, I think you look at any great player that becomes available,” Engram said. “I’m excited about the guys that we have and I’m ready to get to work.

“I’ve already talked to Graham. Talked to Chase. Those guys are good. They understand the nature of college football now."

UW junior Dean Engram, who is switching to wide receiver from cornerback, played with Williams at Gonzaga College High School in Maryland and the families remain close. The expected hiring of Bobby Engram fueled rumors/reports UW would land Williams.

“The relationship was intact long before the transfer portal,” Bobby Engram said. “The timing of it, I think people really have linked us together more than what it might have been.”

As expected, Engram said Friday he isn’t sure yet which position group he will coach and it remains unclear whether head coach Paul Chryst or Engram will call plays in 2022.

“There’s different ways to do it but I will be involved in all aspects of the game plan,” he said when asked about play-calling. “The main thing is to have a great plan."

The Journal Sentinel has reported that one reason for the uncertainty regarding Engram’s position group is that running backs coach Gary Brown continues to deal with health issues that could prevent him from coaching in 2022. Chryst was impressed by Brown’s work in 2021, wants to keep him on the staff and has time to be patient.

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The entire month of February is a dead period for recruiting, UW isn’t scheduled to start spring practice until mid-to-late March and Chryst is also working on building the recruiting department.

Engram, who was the wide receivers coach under Chryst at Pittsburgh in 2012 and 2013, and coached wide receivers and tight ends during his eight-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens, stressed spring ball will be critical as he works to find ways to help bolster UW’s offense.

“After the spring, hopefully I will have a good idea, being with them for 15 practices and meetings,” he said. “Then the natural progression from that is how we grow the offense.

“When you’re around guys day in and day out, in the meeting room, watching them on the field, you get a great sense of who they are and what they can do.

“The change will come really from what our players can do. What can our players do well?”

Engram was asked how he viewed the potential of the UW program.

“You guys have seen this team for a lot longer than I have,” he said. “I think winning a championship is possible. That is the goal. That is why we’re all in it.

“We’ve got some work to do but there are a lot of good pieces in place here.”