Snow may still be flying from time to time, but it is also time to kick-off another Spring football season for the Wisconsin Badgers.
It’s hard to believe, but this will be the fourth such edition under head coach Paul Chryst and the second straight in which the Badgers own the Big Ten West division and a New Year’s Six bowl game victory.
Expectations continue to be high surrounding this program. What does that mean for this team in 2018?
As Spring Football gets going inside the Dave McClain Center, it’s a good time to look at what to expect from each position this Spring. Up today is a look at the star of UW’s offense — the offensive line.
Offensive Line Preview:
Returning Starter(s): Michael Dieter (Sr.), Jon Dietzen (Jr.), Tyler Biadsz (So.), Beau Benzschawel (Jr.), David Edwards (Jr.)
Other Scholarship Players: Cole Van Lanen (So.), Patrick Kasl (So.), Brett Connors (Sr.), Logan Bruss (RS-Fr.), Tyler Beach (RS-Fr.), David Moorman (Jr.), Alex Fenton (RS-Fr.), Micah Kapoi (Sr.), Kayden Lyles (RS-Fr.)
Reason to Watch This Position: Youthful Competition
Last offseason proved why Spring football can be so important even at a position of strength. It’s where Tyler Biadsz’s performance while Michael Dieter missed the Spring camp that earned him the starting center job and helped push Dieter out to left tackle this past season. Now, the Badgers will be without Dieter once again and will also be without fellow starters Jon Dietzen and David Edwards, who are all taking the spring off to get 100 percent healthy.
That means its time for youth to shine and it could lead to shuffling along a deep and talented offensive line for the fall once again. Redshirt sophomore Cole Van Lanen played in all 14 games last season, spelling Dieter at left tackle often, and will slide in with the No. 1 offense this Spring. He’ll have fellow redshirt sophomore Patrick Kasl opposite of him at right tackle, while redshirt freshman Kayden Lyles and sophomore David Moorman are going to get looks on the right side of the line as well. This is going to be all about figuring out a lot about the young players in this offensive line group.
UW certainly has a lot to love at offensive line for the first time in a while, with multiple capable bodies at every position. The competition for spots can only help this group get better for fall.
Player to Watch: Cole Van Lanen
Van Lanen used his redshirt to season to full advantage, as he managed to get playing time in all 14 games of his freshman season despite sitting behind one of the best offensive linemen the Badgers had — Michael Dieter. With Dieter out this spring, Van Lanen will take over the first-team reps at left tackle and he may just do enough to have to once again slide Dieter around the line. Word out of Madison is that Van Lanen is grading out as one of the most athletic and best overall linemen the Badgers have, and keeping him off the field in 2018 is going to be hard to do. A quality spring would go a long way towards making that dream a reality for the Bay Port graduate.
Projected Depth Chart:
LT: Cole Van Lanen, Michael Dieter
LG: Michael Dieter, Jon Dietzen
C: Tyler Biadsz, Brett Connors
RG: Beau Benzschawel, Micah Kapoi
RT: David Edwards, Patrick Kasl