Fall camp for the Wisconsin Badgers has gotten underway so it is time for us to speculate wildly as to what the divvying up of reps during practice means for the depth chart come August 30th. Over the next two weeks we will be previewing each position group so that you’ll have an idea of what to expect once the season actually kicks off.
After looking at the defense last week, and the skill positions earlier this week, we get to the good stuff with the offensive line.
The Wisconsin offensive line, for the first time in four years, won’t feature Michael Deiter or Beau Benzschawel, and for the first time in three years, won’t feature Jon Dietzen or David Edwards.
They have built for this moment and are ready for this moment. They return three-year starting center Tyler Biadasz, a preseason favorite for the Rimington Trophy, given to the top center in college football. They also return left tackle Cole Van Lanen, who played more than half of the snaps last year despite not being the “starter”. Lastly, the Badgers return a bevy of depth. The roster is chock full of guys who have been salivating and waiting for their opportunities.
Cole Van Lanen was THE best run-blocker in the nation last year and will once again help anchor the Wisconsin offensive line. pic.twitter.com/YhObf2mcPf— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 9, 2019
Top returning reserves include: Kayden Lyles, Jason Erdmann, Logan Bruss, Tyler Beach, Josh Seltzner, and David Moorman. Along with key incoming freshman Logan Brown and Joe Tippmann, the level of talent in the offensive line room will not be falling, even if the names aren’t as familiar.
Projected Offensive Line Depth Chart
|Left Tackle||Cole Van Lanen||David Moorman|
|Left Guard||Jason Erdmann||Josh Seltzner|
|Center||Tyler Biadasz||Jason Erdmann|
|Right Guard||Kayden Lyles||Josh Seltzner|
|Right Tackle||Logan Bruss||Tyler Beach|
2019 Position Discussion/Overview
I’ve already written about Van Lanen and Biadasz, so we’ll focus on the other three for now. Jason Erdmann, Kayden Lyles and Josh Seltzner have all earned the right to be in the conversation for the two starting guard spots. Erdmann, who has been a key reserve for a few years now, is a road grader who has shown the ability to play both guard and center. Lyles played defensive line last season, but was brought in as a 4-star guard. He’s also a candidate to take over at center in 2020 for Biadasz. Selztner is a former walk-on from nearby Columbus who has worked his way into the two deep. A good athlete for his size, Selztner combines that with his brute strength to make run blocking his strength.
With Tyler Biadasz and Cole Van Lanen both limited, starting offensive line from LT to RT was Beach, Lyles, Erdmann, Seltzner, Bruss. David Moorman also rotated in at times along the line, but those first five received majority of snaps together. pic.twitter.com/3WzbgY2SwY— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 8, 2019
- RS SR OL David Moorman - Moorman is a fifth year senior who has been a swiss army knife, playing all three offensive line positions at times during practice for Wisconsin. Players like Moorman typically find their way onto the field as seniors for Wisconsin, in some form or fashion.
- RS SO OT Tyler Beach - Beach, a former highly-sought after prep recruit, is likely in a competition with Logan Bruss for those RT reps. Beach is an athletic lineman who reportedly had a good spring and it shouldn’t surprise if he pushes for a bigger/rotational role at right tackle at some point this camp or fall.
- FR OT Logan Brown - Brown, the second highest rated recruit the program has gotten in the recruiting rankings era (per 247), has the physical gifts to make his presence felt immediately in Madison. A 5* recruit in HS, Brown came into Madison at 6’6” 311 per the fall camp roster. I expect him to make full use of the four-game redshirt rule, and I think the coaches will play it by ear from that point on. Brown is a future star on the offensive line.
- FR OL Joe Tippmann - Tippmann, a 4* tackle recruit from Indiana, who I think will eventually end up at OG (we’ll talk about this later), is another kid who’s physically ready and could find his way onto the field this season.
- RS FR OG Michael Furtney - Furtney made use of his redshirt season last year by bulking up and putting on some needed mass. Now, he’s one of the top reserves at guard. He’s likely the 4th guard behind the three discussed earlier, and his physicality in the run game should allow him to fit right in if needed.
The Rest of the Group
This is certainly not an indictment of this group, rather those who aren’t likely to see playing time in 2019.
- RS SO OT Aaron Vopal - Big kid who was moved from defensive end during spring
- RS FR OT Cormac Sampson - Converted tight end who has put on around 30 pounds since spring.
- RS FR OT Andrew Lyons - Former walk-on who provides depth at tackle
- FR OT Logan O’Brien - Current walk on from Fennimore, Wis. who needs time to add bulk and strength
- RS SO OL Alex Fenton - Swing interior offensive lineman who hasn’t found his way into the rotation yet. Could find his way at guard this season. drew
- RS SO OC Blake Smithback - A compactly built former walk-on who provides good competition from the center spot.