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Tyler Biadasz returns to Wisconsin as leader on the offensive line

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Plus, Garrett Groshek chats about a couple of new running backs.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When asked what played a role into Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz’s decision to stay in Madison for another season, the redshirt junior initially responded with a simple answer.

“It just wasn’t the right time,” Biadasz said on Saturday afternoon after Wisconsin’s sixth spring practice. “That’s all I got for that.”

Instead of declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft to join former line mates Michael Deiter, Beau Benzschawel and David Edwards—who likely will all find professional careers on Sundays— Wisconsin announced Biadasz’s return to the program in January.

According to Biadasz, who will not participate in spring practices after recovering from surgery, the NFL’s College Advisory Committee gave him a grade “to come back” to school. He admitted that did not necessarily make the decision easier to stay at Wisconsin for what will be his fourth year, and he also stated having the procedure did not play too much of a role.

“I thought it just wasn’t the right time for me to go,” Biadasz said. “I want to come back, and I want to bring home a Big Ten Championship and a National Championship here, too, and I just wasn’t done here yet.”

Biadasz’s surgery revolved around “just kind of cleaning up my hip,” as he described. He said he will back in the summer and for fall camp.

Despite not partaking in these 15 spring practices on the field, the Amherst, Wis., native now steps in as a leader for offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph’s line that will be without four of its five “regular” starters from the 2018 season.

“First couple of practices, you’re kind of feeling it out and seeing what you can bring to practice obviously when you’re not practicing. It’s a different role but I like it,” Biadasz said. “I enjoy getting our team better obviously, but I think the younger guys appreciate it, too, because you’re talking to a guy with a lot more experience and everything, and that’s definitely a benefit. I thought that was a benefit for me. I think it was two springs ago when Deiter—he was out—and I was just talking to him a lot and all that stuff, so I’m bringing everything that I can bring.”

Along with Benzschawel, Deiter and Edwards, Jon Dietzen also left football before the spring. Redshirt junior Cole Van Lanen, who often spelled Dietzen last year at left tackle, will likely assume that first-team role during the 2019 season.

Like Biadasz, however, Van Lanen will miss spring ball as well, though that does not exclude them from helping mentor and guide the other linemen during these sessions.

“I tend to talk to the centers and guards so I bring them along the way,” Biadasz said, “and I know Cole, he’s bringing along with the tackles so we’re doing a really good job of just keeping an eye on them and making sure that once they make that mistake to remind them, so the next opportunity they get, they can seize the moment.”

With those two presumed starters out, new faces assume different roles on the line in the first six practices, including the two that have been open to the media so far. As seen from left tackle to right tackle on both the April 2 and 6 sessions, David Moorman, Josh Seltzner, Kayden Lyles, Logan Bruss and Tyler Beach can be viewed as the presumed “first-team” offensive line.

The offensive line should see redshirt senior Jason Erdmann also assume a role this season, but head coach Paul Chryst noted after Wisconsin’s April 2 practice that he was limited. He has not worked during team periods in the two practices open to reporters.

Despite losing four starters, Biadasz believes the group they currently have can get to the level of last year’s line.

“Obviously, we’re not there yet, and we don’t need to be right now but obviously we’re going to keep growing as the spring goes and I’m going to do my best to help everyone else grow,” Biadasz said. “I think the guys we lost last year, yeah, they’re really big impact players but I think we have big impact players, too, on this team right now.

“We’re helping them grow, and they’re doing a hell of a job this spring so far. It’s only week two, and they’re doing a really good job of just catching along and building themselves each practice and putting it on film, and then finding another thing to work on but still having that in the back of their minds so they have that as their base and their foundation, so they’re doing a really good job.”

Garrett Groshek on Biadasz’s return, two new running backs

A former high school teammate at Amherst, redshirt junior running back Garrett Groshek admitted he was not surprised by Biadasz’s decision to return to Wisconsin but that it was his decision alone to make.

Whatever that would be, Groshek would wish him well. That being said, he knows what Biadasz can bring to the offensive unit.

“I was a little happy obviously for selfish reasons just because he’s such a great player and a great teammate and a great leader that he can really help our offense take that next step,” Groshek said on Saturday.

The Wisconsin running back room loses seniors Taiwan Deal and Chris James heading into the 2019 season, but also brings back Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor—the nation’s leading rusher last season—along with Groshek, Nakia Watson and Bradrick Shaw.

Groshek rushed for 425 yards on 6.5 yards per carry last season with a touchdown. Regarding his role heading into 2019 and whether he would like to see it expand or alter from what was seen last year, the former walk-on approaches it like he always has since coming to UW.

“I think we got young guys that’s kind of at that point in spring where it’s like, can we see what these young guys can do,” Groshek said. “Nakia, Isaac and Brady, and they’ve picked it up pretty good, so I know we still got Brad coming back, too, so it’s kind of just be willing to do anything. Kind of same mindset that I’ve pretty much had my whole career is do whatever they ask. If that adds up to being more normal down and distance stuff or the kind of backup to ‘JT,’ then that’ll be it but not really focusing a whole lot on that right now.”

2019 signee Julius Davis will come to Wisconsin for summer conditioning, but two new faces to the tailback group this spring include redshirt freshmen Brady Schipper and Isaac Guerendo. Both transition over from wide receiver, and the two received a substantial amount of reps during Saturday’s scrimmage portion of practice.

Schipper, the Stoughton, Wis., native that followed a similar path to Wisconsin like Groshek as a walk-on, appears to be adjusting well as a college back. He technically is not a novice at the position, as he finished his prep career rushing for nearly 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns before donning the cardinal and white.

“Brady’s smart,” Groshek said. “He’s picking it up pretty fast, and you can see that today that he knows what he’s doing. Now it’s that, how to do it and where he can get better with it, and he’ll be fine just because of how smart he is and being able to figure things out.

For Guerendo—the former prep wide receiver and track standout from Clayton, Ind.— Groshek sees the potential but also called out where the young back needs to grow.

“Isaac’s got all the talent in the world,” Groshek said. “Then his greatest enemy is himself, thinking too much, and when that kid decides to and wants to and figures it out that ‘Just play, just run,’ it’s going to be fun to watch.”

Note: FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Dave Heller reported on April 5 that Biadasz underwent hip surgery, something B5Q did not see prior to Biadasz’s media availability.