Wisconsin pulls back the curtain Saturday for fans to get a look at first-year coach Luke Fickell’s team. The Badgers’ athletic department is calling it “The Launch,” which includes kids’ activities, food and beverages and scrimmage situations at Camp Randall Stadium.

Fickell takes over after Paul Chryst’s firing following a mid-season loss to Illinois. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonard took over as interim head coach, but it was Fickell, the former Cincinnati Bearcats head man, who landed the job.

After a bit of turmoil and uneasiness surrounding Fickell’s hire and Leonard’s eventual departure, things have settled. Players, coaches and fans seem ready to turn the page and embark on a new era of Badgers’ football.

Here’s 5 key storylines to keep an eye on as Fickell’s tenure begins.

1. Phil Longo’s new offense

There’s been plenty of talk about philosophical changes within the program since Fickell’s hiring. New offensive coordinator Phil Longo comes to Madison after 3 seasons as the OC at North Carolina. During that span, Longo directed an up-tempo, passing offense led by QB Drake Maye.

Longo fully intends to implement his dynamic offense at Wisconsin. It will be a culture shock to fans used to watching Bucky line up and bully people with its rushing attack. Also, how will it translate to the B1G, A league known for its brutes and bullies? Big, strong linemen and a downhill running game are what wins in November in this league. Can Longo’s offense translate? It will be fun to find out.

2. Tanner Mordecai takes over at QB

With a new offense comes a new signal caller. Gone is Graham Mertz, who transferred to Florida. Enter Mordecai, a transfer from SMU. Mordecai has 1 year remaining after throwing for 7,152 yards and 72 TDs over the past 2 seasons. His 39 TDs in 2021 were 5th best nationally.

He definitely looks like the guy to run Longo’s offense. He’s been turning heads in practice not only with his play but also with his leadership. He’s set the bar high for what he expects in 2023.

“Championship status, that’s it,” Mordecai told reporters. “Championship.”

But Mordecai’s not fooling anyone as to why he decided to join up with Longo for his final season. Longo puts guys in the NFL. He’s coached not only Maye, but current Washington Commanders’ QB Sam Howell. Longo’s helped developed DK Metcalf, AJ Brown and Javonte Williams. He knows what it takes to get to the next level. Mordecai is hoping he’s next in line.

3. Who steps up at receiver?

With Braelon Allen back at running back, that position is in good hands. But with a new pass-heavy offense, reliable receivers — and plenty of them — are needed.

Returning guys along with newcomers have shown flashes of brilliance this spring. Chimere Dike, Skyler Bell and Keontez Lewis all return from last year’s team and look to be involved more in 2023. Expect it to happen.

Redshirt freshman CJ Williams brings talent and athleticism to the table. He will surely be in the hunt for significant snaps, as will Will Pauling and Chris Brooks Jr. They’ve both been solid this spring.

Finally, tight end Jack Pugh has looked good and should provide a good target over the middle for Mordecai along with veteran Clay Cundiff. Cundiff returns in 2023 after suffering a season-ending leg injury against Ohio State.

Keep a close eye on this unit, not only Saturday, but throughout fall camp.

4. Who fills in at linebacker?

With Nick Herbig declaring for the NFL Draft, linebacker suddenly becomes a key position to get right for Fickell. Redshirt sophomore Darryl Peterson stepped up in Herbig’s absence last year vs. Purdue. He’ll get a long look at locking down one of the LB spots.

Maema Njongmeta returns at inside linebacker. Njongmeta led the Badgers with 95 tackles, including 12 TFL, a year ago while starting 11 games. He’ll be an important piece in stopping opponents’ run games.

Senior Tate Grass and grad student Marty Strey have had strong springs as well. Fickell and DC Mike Tressel plan to take a hard look at what guys bring to the table.

5. The roles of Allen and Chez Mellusi

With the ‘Air Raid’ offense coming to Madison, an obvious question to ask is: How will Allen and Mellusi’s roles be altered?

Longo would be wise to make sure his dynamic backfield duo gets plenty of touches. They likely will. Don’t be surprised to see Allen approach or even eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in 2023. Mellusi shouldn’t be far behind. It’s as strong a 1-2 punch as you’ll find anywhere. Even with Mordecai expected to sling it a lot, Longo has to make sure he feeds his RBs.

With Allen battling nagging shoulder and leg injuries late in the year, Mellusi filled in admirably. He had a season-high 98 yards in a 15-14 win at Nebraska. Mellusi carried 16 times for 77 yards in the Badgers’ 24-17 win over Oklahoma State in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

With both healthy, it gives the Badgers even more weapons to choose from.

With Longo calling plays and playmakers everywhere, this new-look Badgers’ offense looks frightening on paper.