Over the next week or so, we here at B5Q are going to run through every position group on the Wisconsin Badgers football team and give you a recap of how they did in the 2019 season. In the same damn post we are also going to give you a preview of what we think 2020 is going to look like! Without further ado, here is your review/preview of the Wisconsin offensive line.
- Cole Van Lanen - 13 starts at left tackle
- David Moorman - 6 starts at left guard, 1 start at right tackle
- Tyler Biadasz - 14 starts at center
- Jason Erdmann - 9 starts at right guard, 3 starts at left guard
- Logan Bruss - 12 starts at right tackle
- Tyler Beach - 1 start at left tackle, 1 start at right tackle
- Kayden Lyles - 4 starts at left guard
- Josh Seltzner - 4 starts at right guard
2020 returning contributors
- Cole Van Lanen (?) - January 17th is the underclassmen declaration deadline. Van Lanen is a 4th year junior.
- Kayden Lyles - left guard/center
- Logan Bruss - right tackle
- Tyler Beach - swing tackle
- Josh Seltzner - right guard
2019 offensive line overview
2019 was a season of change for the Badgers’ offensive line. For the first time in four years, there was no Michael Deiter or Beau Benzschawel, and for three years no David Edwards. Jon Dietzen also left due to injuries, as a two plus year starter at left tackle and left guard.
It was an opportunity to showcase the depth that had built behind those long standing players after Chryst had taken over the program. We saw some of that come to fruition this season. Kayden Lyles (pictured below), who had been forced to play defensive line in 2018, moved back to the good side and started at left guard.
Former walk on Josh Seltzner started games at right guard. Jason Erdmann, another former walk on who had played big reserve roles the past two seasons, finally had his opportunity to start at both guard spots. David Moorman, another fifth year senior, also got his chances, starting at both left guard and right tackle. These contributions are important, but for a different reason than you might think.
It’s important that Moorman and Erdmann got their opportunities. I don’t think there’s a football program in the country at any level that doesn’t preach some version of “those who stay will be champions” or something along those lines, promoting sticking it out and not quitting when times get tough. Those two did that, and were rewarded for their hard work as seniors.
However, what their contributions meant, maybe more importantly, was it allowed some of the very talented incoming players the opportunity to redshirt, and continue to build more competition and depth in the room moving forward. Logan Brown and Joe Tippman, both 4-star or higher rated players in high school, were able to redshirt, gain experience and get stronger and will now have an entire offseason and spring to prepare for their “freshman” seasons.
Overall, I think the group played fine. It wasn’t Wisconsin’s most talented iteration of their offensive line in recent memory, but they were far from average, as Jonathan Taylor had another 2000 yard season, and Jack Coan was able to continue to develop while avoiding being under duress for the most part. They finished second in the Big Ten, averaging 240.5 yards per game on the ground, and finished second in the conference in sacks allowed, with just 20.
2020 offensive line preview
The Badgers, again, will feature some new faces in 2020. At least Tyler Biadasz, Jason Erdmann and David Moorman will be gone, as well as potentially (?) Cole Van Lanen.
We’ll start with the returners. I would expect some combination of Kayden Lyles and Josh Seltzner at the guard spots. If Van Lanen returns, he’ll play left tackle. Logan Bruss will likely start at right tackle again. Lyles also provides some versatility at center, which I’ll touch on here in a second. Seltzner (pictured below) is a mammoth human being, and with another year of experience should be ready to lock down a guard spot.
The questions then turn to left tackle and center. If Van Lanen comes back, he’s the starter. But if he doesn’t, I’d assume Tyler Beach would be the answer. He’s done a good job as the swing tackle in the past. Now, this brings forth the question: what about 5-star redshirt freshman Logan Brown? That’s the wildcard here. He could beat out Beach for left tackle if it’s between the two - which could be one of the premier battles of camp.
Center is interesting. I mentioned earlier that Lyles could play center, and I don’t think we should rule that out. However, I think the key name here is Joe Tippmann. He practiced as a center during his redshirt season, and if he’s ready to go, it would go a long way to solidifying the offensive line. If Lyles is forced to play center, then I think you’re probably looking at Michael Furtney at one of the guard spots.
Name to watch for 2020
I’m going to cheat and pick two: Logan Brown and Joe Tippmann.
Brown is the second highest rated prospect in school history, and his measurables should already have NFL scouts salivating. 6’6” 311 as a freshman with vines for arms and remarkable athleticism, Brown is likely Wisconsin’s best bet for a surefire first round pick that they’ve had since Joe Thomas.
Tippmann is another highly regarded lineman coming into the program from Indiana, and if he can lock down the center position during the spring, the next three to four years of the position should be in good hands, with a 6-foot-6 312 pound true freshman having the physical profile to shore up the pivot for years to come.
2020 spring depth chart projection (2020 eligibility)
- Left tackle: Cole Van Lanen (maybe), Tyler Beach, Logan Brown
- Left guard: Kayden Lyles, Michael Furtney
- Center: Joe Tippmann, Blake Smithback/Tanor Bortolini
- Right guard: Josh Seltzner, Jack Nelson
- Right tackle: Logan Bruss, Tyler Beach, Aaron Vopal/Cormac Sampson