Home at Last

After bouncing around between positions the last two seasons, including a stint at fullback to open the 2010 season, junior Ryan Groy has found his comfort zone working between Ricky Wagner and Travis Frederick at left guard on the first-team offensive line.

MADISON - Bret Bielema often says that at a school like Wisconsin, he can't afford not having his best 11 players on the field at all times. That's one of the main reasons junior Ryan Groy hasn't found his niche through his first three seasons in the UW program.

Groy started his redshirt season as a fullback, filling in at the position for Bradie Ewing to begin the 2010 season, and then bounced around for the remainder of the season. Last season he was the offensive line utility man, as Groy learned the center position for the first time last spring and played in 14 games with four total starts at the left guard and center position.

Now, Groy has finally found a home, as he has spent the entire spring working at left guard on the first-team offense between left tackle Ricky Wagner and center Travis Frederick in addition to some work under center. For the Badgers, and as Groy told Badger Nation, the firm move has allowed the redshirt junior from Middleton to finally hone his craft.

What was the biggest challenge for you last year bouncing around between the guard and center position?

Groy: It was nice playing those games last year at left guard and game plan for that position. It's not that bad going from guard to center, but it's hard getting your body use to playing both positions because of the different technique. It was nice to get comfortable at one position.

After being thrown into the center position last spring, how hard is it compared to the other positions on the line?

Groy: It is hard. Is it the hardest position on the offense line? It could be with the snaps. Even last year in the spring I thought I could snap, but then I went out and fumbled multiple times. I realized it was way harder than it looked. Even in high school we didn't have many center-quarterback exchange issues or errors. It was weird for me.


Groy: Absolutely. Once I figured it out it was nice, but it was tough that whole spring.

To have that one spot and assert yourself to be the guy at the one spot, how important is that to you?

Groy: It's nice. It's nice to finally get comfortable with my sets, my technique and recognize certain defensive alignments being on the left side. It's just going to be nice being able to settle down and focus on one spot.

When did you know that the left guard spot was going to be yours to lose? Was it after coach Mike Markuson came?

Groy: I knew that if Peter Konz was going to leave, I was going to be left guard and Travis would be center. If Pete stayed, Travis would have been left guard and I would have been right guard. Pretty much it was penciled it. It wasn't anything for sure, but that's what we all thought was going to happen.

How did you change your body in winter conditioning to prepare yourself for the opportunity?

Groy: I didn't try to get bigger but I did. I got up to 330 pounds for a little bit, but I cut down to 320. That's what I am at now. I am trying to stay around there so I can still move.

Coach Markuson talked about for your size, you are able to bend really well. He said taller guys don't have the ability that you do. Is that something you have stressed during spring in being more mobile?

Groy: It's something coach Markuson is definitely focused on compared to coach Bostad is bending, getting your chest back and really sitting down in the pass protection. It's nice going from one coach to another because you can learn some new things here and there. It's been one of the things he's really focused on. He talks about bending in every situation, but he's focused on getting under the pads. It's been nice to focus on a couple different things.

Coach Bielema talked about how you helped in the recruitment of Danny O'Brien and other coaches have said you are taking of more of a leadership role. Are you embracing that?

Groy: I think so. I feel like I can step up and be a leader now. I feel I have earned that position, but I don't want to be too much of a vocal leader and push guys away. You want to lead by example and not be too long or too obnoxious. You just have to lead by example and do your thing. If something needs to be said I'll say it. I'm not going to back down from that, but I am not going to talk when I don't have to.

What was your impression of Danny when you took him around campus and spent some time with him?

Groy: Right away from the first hour I was talking with him, I knew he was going to fit in great here. He's a well-spoken, smart guy, so he's going to come in here and do well.

What's it like working between two experienced guys in Ricky and Travis? Either way you turn it's a wealth of knowledge for you.

Groy: No doubt. I am really excited about the group on the offensive line. We've played together the last four, five games of the season. It's great having that experience and having played with them the last three years. It's going to be exciting moving forward.

How did your first start on the offensive line compare to your first start at fullback?

Groy: I think it was a little different. I knew I wasn't going to get every rep out there at fullback. I had to know three or four plays at fullback but you have to know every single play on the offensive line. You have to know the whole offense, what defense you are going against, who you are going against, what to expect and that kind of thing. I think it was much more difficult in terms of learning and preparing for the game.

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