David Edwards came to the University of Wisconsin football team expecting to play tight end. His first start for the Badgers, however, came in at right tackle Saturday night against Nebraska.
The last time he had started a football game on the offensive line was the sixth grade, Edwards said. But Edwards’ transition from tight end to tackle, which occurred during spring ball this year, went quickly and relatively smoothly. A shaky offensive line and an injury to redshirt sophomore Jacob Maxwell, who started UW’s first seven games at right tackle, opened the door for the redshirt sophomore’s performance.
“I thought I did some good things,” Edwards said. “Obviously there were a lot of things to clean up. I came back out Sunday, I felt pretty good about myself.”
Edwards’ first step was nearly simultaneous with the snap of the ball, using a technique tight ends coach Mickey Turner helped him work on by timing the snap. Edwards’ ability to be in his stance early off the snap allowed him to settle into his pass-protection stance and to get his hands on his oncoming defender early.
“I thought my pass protection and my pass sets were pretty solid,” Edwards said. “But there are a lot of things in the run game I need to clean up.”
UW head coach Paul Chryst was impressed with his young lineman’s performance.
“He did some really good things,” Chryst said. “He had played some, this was the most extensive action. I thought with that, he was good. You didn’t see a big drop-off as the game went on. [I] thought he was challenged and battled in those challenges. From that, now getting that significant experience, this late in the season can be big.”
After significant flipping and flopping of personnel across the offensive line, Wisconsin stuck with a five-man lineup for the majority of the Nebraska game consisting of (from left-to-right): Ryan Ramczyk, Jon Dietzen, Michael Deiter, Beau Benzcahwel and Edwards. Micah Kapoi came in for a couple of series at the guard spots.
Regardless of who is next to him, Edwards said he is comfortable, but would thrive with a cohesive unit.
“I feel pretty confident with whoever is in there,” Edwards said. “Offensive line has a lot of continuity and chemistry [to it].”
All-in-all, Saturday was a successful night for Edwards, and one he will never forget.
“I was thinking about it, what a really cool experience to be able to say my first start was against a top 10 team and we won in overtime,” Edwards said. “It was kind of unreal.”