Big men on campus

first_imgIt?s no secret that one of the Wisconsin football team?sgreatest strengths is its offensive line. For years these mammoth-sized linemenhave been dominating the trenches, which, in turn has led to the success ofrunning backs Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett, Anthony Davis, Brian Calhoun and mostrecently, P.J. Hill.And with five guys who already have significant playing timeunder their belts, there?s no reason to believe the 2008 Badger running gamewon?t achieve similar success.?I think we?re very confident,? senior guard Kraig Urbiksaid. ?We?ve all started games, we all have experience. The guys backing us up,we?re all friends. We all push each other and help each other, so it?s goodcamaraderie.?Without a doubt, Urbik has the most experience on the UWO-line. His freshman year, he was named a second-team freshman All-Americanaccording to The Sporting News and Rivals.com. Sophomore year, Urbik moved fromright tackle to right guard, before moving back to tackle last season, when hewas named a consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection. Now the 6-foot-6-inch,328-pounder from Hudson, Wis. has made 39 consecutive starts and finds himselfas one of the leaders of this celebrated fraternity of linemen.?I?m the kind of guy who?ll go out and work every day, whodoes things right, has a good attitude,? Urbik said. ?I?ll get after people ifI need to.?Urbik is not the only Badger O-lineman with some versatilitystashed in his arsenal. After making six starts at left guard last season,sophomore John Moffitt will be making the transition to center for the fall.?I?ve never played center before,? Moffitt said. ?The [Outback]Bowl practice was the first time that I had ever taken a snap. It feels prettygood now. I?m getting used to it, but it?s just one extra thing. ? It?sdefinitely a difficult position. The mental aspects that come with it add on tothe difficulties.?Despite his lack of experience at his new position, Moffittbelieves he?s already making significant strides throughout this short-livedspring season.?I think I?m adjusting; I?m still trying to learn how tomove,? Moffitt explained. ?I was working on my pulls. I was watching some filmthe other day, and I don?t think my pulls are up to par, so I?ve got to learnhow to snap the ball, stay low.?Even with his quick learning abilities, Moffitt knows he isfar from where he needs to be come September, as the transition from guard tocenter is no walk in the park.Moffitt credited ?the mental aspect, looking at the defenseas a whole,? as the biggest difference between the two positions.?Our coach always stresses, ?look at the D-line, thelinebackers, the safeties, try and pick up blitzes and stuff like that.? Butbecause I have two senior guards (Urbik and Andy Kemp) next to me, I?m gettinga lot of help; it?s not all on my shoulders, but you have to recognize what?sgoing on.?At first I had a lot of fumbled snaps,? Moffitt continued.?The laces weren?t on the right side. Now I?m getting a feel for every singlequarterback and where they put their hands and where to put the ball, but atfirst it definitely made a difference.?With so much talent and experience on the offensive line, itmay be difficult for 6-foot-7-inch, 338-pound Josh Oglesby to find playingtime. But that doesn?t discourage the redshirt freshman; he?s excited aboutcompeting for a starting job at tackle.?I just have to get better every day,? Oglesby said. ?Mygoals are to compete for a starting spot and push our starters right now (EricVandenheuvel and Gabe Carimi) to get better and push myself to get better.?Although he has yet to play in a college game, Oglesbycertainly adds depth to this already deep offensive line. Coming out of St.Francis High School, the Milwaukee native was named the nation?s No. 1offensive lineman prospect by Rivals.com.Needless to say, the UW running backs have something to lookforward to for the upcoming season, not to mention the following three.With a backfield crowded of P.J. Hill, Lance Smith, ZachBrown and newcomer John Clay, it?s safe to say the Badgers will have one of thedeepest, most talented set of running backs in the country next season, whichis a nice luxury for any offensive lineman to have.?It?s a great thing because we have a big opportunity to doa lot of things this year on offense, and be a real powerful offense,? Moffittsaid. ?We all have to do our part. We have a stacked backfield so the line hasto come together and get it done.??We still have to block our assignments and what not,? Urbikadded. ?But it?s a good confidence booster to know that P.J. and Lance, ChrisPressley helping out, it?s good when you have those type of guys to be blockingfor.?last_img read more