Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Big men on campus

It?s no secret that one of the Wisconsin football team?s
greatest strengths is its offensive line. For years these mammoth-sized linemen
have been dominating the trenches, which, in turn has led to the success of
running backs Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett, Anthony Davis, Brian Calhoun and most
recently, P.J. Hill.

And with five guys who already have significant playing time
under their belts, there?s no reason to believe the 2008 Badger running game
won?t achieve similar success.

?I think we?re very confident,? senior guard Kraig Urbik
said. ?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 good


Without a doubt, Urbik has the most experience on the UW
O-line. His freshman year, he was named a second-team freshman All-American
according to The Sporting News and Sophomore year, Urbik moved from
right tackle to right guard, before moving back to tackle last season, when he
was 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 himself
as one of the leaders of this celebrated fraternity of linemen.

?I?m the kind of guy who?ll go out and work every day, who
does things right, has a good attitude,? Urbik said. ?I?ll get after people if
I need to.?

Urbik is not the only Badger O-lineman with some versatility
stashed 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 pretty
good now. I?m getting used to it, but it?s just one extra thing. ? It?s
definitely a difficult position. The mental aspects that come with it add on to
the difficulties.?

Despite his lack of experience at his new position, Moffitt
believes he?s already making significant strides throughout this short-lived
spring season.

?I think I?m adjusting; I?m still trying to learn how to
move,? Moffitt explained. ?I was working on my pulls. I was watching some film
the other day, and I don?t think my pulls are up to par, so I?ve got to learn
how to snap the ball, stay low.?

Even with his quick learning abilities, Moffitt knows he is
far from where he needs to be come September, as the transition from guard to
center is no walk in the park.

Moffitt credited ?the mental aspect, looking at the defense
as a whole,? as the biggest difference between the two positions.

?Our coach always stresses, ?look at the D-line, the
linebackers, the safeties, try and pick up blitzes and stuff like that.? But
because I have two senior guards (Urbik and Andy Kemp) next to me, I?m getting
a lot of help; it?s not all on my shoulders, but you have to recognize what?s
going 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 single
quarterback and where they put their hands and where to put the ball, but at
first it definitely made a difference.?

With so much talent and experience on the offensive line, it
may be difficult for 6-foot-7-inch, 338-pound Josh Oglesby to find playing
time. But that doesn?t discourage the redshirt freshman; he?s excited about
competing for a starting job at tackle.

?I just have to get better every day,? Oglesby said. ?My
goals are to compete for a starting spot and push our starters right now (Eric
Vandenheuvel and Gabe Carimi) to get better and push myself to get better.?

Although he has yet to play in a college game, Oglesby
certainly adds depth to this already deep offensive line. Coming out of St.
Francis High School, the Milwaukee native was named the nation?s No. 1
offensive lineman prospect by

Needless to say, the UW running backs have something to look
forward to for the upcoming season, not to mention the following three.

With a backfield crowded of P.J. Hill, Lance Smith, Zach
Brown and newcomer John Clay, it?s safe to say the Badgers will have one of the
deepest, most talented set of running backs in the country next season, which
is a nice luxury for any offensive lineman to have.

?It?s a great thing because we have a big opportunity to do
a lot of things this year on offense, and be a real powerful offense,? Moffitt
said. ?We all have to do our part. We have a stacked backfield so the line has
to come together and get it done.?

?We still have to block our assignments and what not,? Urbik
added. ?But it?s a good confidence booster to know that P.J. and Lance, Chris
Pressley helping out, it?s good when you have those type of guys to be blocking

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