The goals were high and expectations weren’t met. There’s no question that Wisconsin’s 2018 campaign was a bit of a disappointment for the players and the coaches.
A year ago, the Badgers entered the season as the favorite to win the B1G West and were considered a true contender for the College Football Playoff. Instead, Wisconsin’s year ended with an 8-5 record and a trip to the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City.
It marked the first time under Paul Chryst that Wisconsin didn’t win at least 10 games in a season. It was also just the second time in five years the Badgers didn’t make the trip to Indianapolis for the B1G Championship Game.
This spring, Wisconsin has already set some early goals for next season, with a focus on getting back to playing Badger football.
“We just talked about, we gotta get back to what we play, Wisconsin football,” said star running back Jonathan Taylor. “That comes with hard work, smart, tough, dependable guys, taking it game by game.
Taylor was a bright spot for the Badgers last season, rushing for 2,194 yards to lead the NCAA. He also rushed for 16 touchdowns on his way to the Doak Campbell Award.
But individual accolades isn’t exactly what Taylor’s focused is on at this time. Right now, his attention is on improving as a player and giving Wisconsin the best chance to win games next fall. Taylor, like everyone else, just wants to win.
“Last year, we didn’t finish off how we wanted to,” Taylor said. “First things first, we gotta win the West. Gotta win the [Paul Bunyan] Axe. Those things, you gotta take it game by game and first things first is winning the West.
The loss at the end of the season to Minnesota stung particularly hard, as it was the first time in 14 years the Badgers lost to the Golden Gophers. It wasn’t exactly how Wisconsin envisioned the season ending.
“Going out of last year toward the end, we kinda didn’t play true to ourselves,” Taylor said. “Guys gotta make sure everybody is doing their assignment so that we can come back, go game by game, win the West and build upon that.”