Building A Repertoire

A year after making Wisconsin history and starting in the bowl game, lineman Travis Frederick patiently sits on the sideline, a victim of the talented depth at the interior line. But even with No.4 Wisconsin going to the Rose Bowl Jan.1, Frederick has had his hand in every offensive play, a fact that been to his and the Badgers' benefit.

MADISON – At this time last year, Walworth-native Travis Frederick was preparing for his fourth career start against the heralded Miami Hurricanes in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Now with his team heading to the Rose Bowl to face the nation's top defense in No.3 TCU, Frederick will be holding a clipboard with virtually no chance of contributing.

"It's a little bit different," Frederick said.

A year after making four starts on Wisconsin's offensive line, Frederick was part of a logjam of talent – a group that included seniors John Moffitt and Bill Nagy, junior Kevin Zeitler and sophomore Peter Konz – that was battling for three interior line positions.

Stuck behind incumbent starters Konz, Moffitt and Zeitler, the topic of redshirting this season was broached to Frederick during fall camp, allowing him to get stronger in the weight room and study the game so the coaching staff could fully utilize his talent for his remaining three years of eligibility.

"We didn't get our full value with him his freshman year," Offensive Line Coach Bob Bostad said. "Four games for him wasn't enough. We didn't promise him a redshirt, but we had a plan and hoped it would work."

Frederick has stayed on the sideline, but has provided a valuable role in every single offensive play after being handpicked by Bostad. With a headset on and clipboard firmly in his grasp, Frederick charts the number of plays Wisconsin runs, the down and distance, the play, what the defense is doing and what type of configuration, blitzes or stunts the opposition tries to execute.

Frederick then relays that information to Bostad, who makes the adjustments with the starting five.

"It's an honor to be able to do it because somebody has to do it and he knows I am in the game the whole time," Frederick said. "I've learned a lot from it because not only do you learn how the defense, what they're doing and how we adjust to it, it helps me to be able to adjust on the fly by myself. I've learned about our offense in general and what kind of plays we run in certain situations."

After graduating a semester early and enrolling in January 2009, Frederick became the first freshman lineman in school history to start the season opener and made three subsequent starts after that, production that was limited because of an ankle injury suffered in week two. But it's been his work through the duration of this season that has the coaching staff excited about the future.

Frederick has increased his size to 340 pounds and says he feels faster, stronger and more agile when he's gotten extensive work with the backup units during developmental sessions.

"He's been fun to watch, watching his body change for the better and really change his composition," Bostad said. "I am thrilled it was able to happen because the University of Wisconsin is going to be the benefactor. He's going to be a great player for three more years."

Even with the Badgers losing three seniors, Wisconsin has plenty of depth on the offensive line with returning starters Frederick, Konz, Zeitler and redshirt sophomore right tackle Ricky Wagner, who has started nine games since taking over for Josh Oglesby (knee). When Oglesby returns, Wagner is expected to move to the left tackle position in replace of Outland Trophy winner Gabe Carimi.

The Badgers also will have redshirt freshmen Casey Dehn, who should open spring as the starting right tackle, Ryan Groy (who saw time as a fullback early in the season) and Zac Matthias.

"We have a deep pool of talent right now," Moffitt said. "They have to understand that it's not given, it's worked for, and I think we're starting to see that. I would never even think these guys couldn't handle the job."

With the decision costing him a chance to play in the Big Ten's ultimate bowl, Frederick admits, while difficult to sit and watch, will be a big benefit in him growing as a lineman and a leader.

"I feel like I am a part of it but I am not really part of it," Frederick said. "I've been game planning, helping in practice and where I can, but I am not as far in as I could be. The good thing is that I've been able to sit back, watch how the seniors have led the group and how the team has worked for this.

"I hope that someday I can bring that in a leadership role and know what's going on, which I think that's a good part for me."

Badger Nation Top Stories