Wisconsin seems to have narrowed in on who they want to hire for their vacant offensive coordinator job. Paul Chryst typically likes to hire coaches he has ties to, and this situation is no different. The person he’s targeting is Ravens tight ends coach Bobby Engram to be the new offensive coordinator. Engram has been coaching in the NFL for nine seasons with one year coming with the 49ers and the other eight with Baltimore.

Engram had previously worked with Chryst at Pittsburgh as his wide receivers coach from 2012-2013. After that stint at Pittsburgh, Engram moved on to the Baltimore Ravens; where he has coached the wide receivers and tight ends ever since. It’s also worth noting that his son, Dean is currently a cornerback for Wisconsin.

Bobby Engram knows what the Big Ten is all about having played at Penn State. During his time playing for the Nittany Lions; Engram became the team’s first-ever receiver to win the Biletnikoff Award in 1994. Bobby Engram would go on to break many Penn State receiving records. Until Deon Butler passed him in 2008, Engram was Penn State’s all-time leader in receptions. He still holds school records for yards (3,026) and touchdowns (31).

Engram would go on to have an NFL career that spanned from 1996-2010. He played for the Bears, Seahawks, Chiefs, and Browns. His best years came with the Seahawks as he crossed the 1,000-yard threshold for the only time in his career. Despite injuries limiting him during his career, Engram would tally 650 receptions for 7,751 yards and 35 touchdowns.

After retiring as a player, Engram went to work as an offensive assistant for Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers. That season San Francisco would go 13-3 and win the NFC West and make an appearance in the NFC Championship.

After one season with the 49ers, Paul Chryst would hire him as a wide receivers coach at Pittsburgh. Despite spending just two years with the program, Engram made an impact. He was instrumental in turning Devin Street into a two-time all-conference performer. Street would eventually become a fifth-round draft selection of the Dallas Cowboys. Another receiver Mike Shanahan would set career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns in 2012. In his last season coaching at Pittsburgh, Engram’s best work came with a freshman named Tyler Boyd. Under Engram’s coaching, Boyd would catch 85 passes for 1,174 yards and seven touchdowns.

Since the 2014 season, Engram has been a part of John Harbaugh’s coaching staff with the Baltimore Ravens. From 2014-2018 he coached the Ravens wide receivers. During those four years, while he didn’t have the greatest talent to work with; he was able to get the most out of the last three years of Steve Smith’s career.

Upon being moved to coach tight ends in 2019, Engram has arguably performed his best work. Mark Andrews has become arguably one of the best tight ends in the NFL under Engram’s direction. He even turned Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst into solid contributors as well.

If Paul Chryst hires Bobby Engram, it would be a great hire. Engram brings an NFL pedigree to the program that could help rejuvenate this struggling offense. He has had success as a position coach and is ready to help get this offense going. This would be the second time Chryst has gone after a former NFL coach to fill a vacancy on his staff. He did that last year with the hiring of Gary Brown as running back coach. While it helps that Bobby’s son Dean is a cornerback on the team; having someone who has had success in the NFL as a player and coach would be beneficial to the offense.

I am hoping that Paul Chryst allows Bobby Engram to add some elements to the offense from the NFL. This offense needs creativity and I believe Engram can bring things from his time with the Ravens and 49ers. We saw the benefit of bringing a former NFL coach to the program in Gary Brown. I believe Engram can have that same impact. Wisconsin’s offense needs a jump start and the Badgers will only go as far as the offense takes them. Having someone with the experience and success that Engram has is a step in the right direction.

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Eric Katz

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