Right Side of the Rivalry

A native of Springfield, MN, redshirt freshman offensive tackle Tyler Marz recognizes that his best years are ahead of him at the University of Wisconsin.

MADISON - As he weighed the options of playing in his home state or heading across the border, Springfield, MN, native Tyler Marz came to the conclusion that his experience at Wisconsin's high school summer camp and the possibilities provided to him were just what an up-and-coming offensive lineman was looking for in a college program.

His final decision was validated one week later with his future team routing Minnesota, 41-23, in Madison.

"It was obviously nice to see Wisconsin blowout Minnesota," said Marz this week.

While he likely won't have an impact on Saturday's 122nd meeting between Wisconsin and Minnesota at Camp Randall, Marz's improvement over his first two years has been a blessing for a Wisconsin offensive line that continues to build depth.

Adding upwards of 30 pounds since arriving on campus, Marz was recruited out of Springfield High School by former offensive line coach Bob Bostad and earned the team's offensive scout team player of the year award under his tutelage.

"There's not really a scout player award except for player of the year, so to get that shows me that I am moving in the right direction," said Marz. "I've put on the weight I've needed. I am trying to build muscle as I go. My body is feeling great. It all fell together and it was rewarding to get that at the end of the year."

The one thing Wisconsin didn't have to build in Marz was toughness. During his senior year, Marz tore his ACL in his right knee. He proceeded to play two more games before being having surgery. He was playing basketball for his high school team three months later and working with the second-team offense as a true freshman.

"When I came here, I was full go, although the strength and health staff paid more attention to my knee," said Marz. "I just really worked from the ground up."

Not having a deep background in college football until later in high school, Marz has started to immerse himself in the rich history of the Wisconsin rivalry with Minnesota, the Paul Bunyan Axe trophy and how the Badgers haven't lost at home to Minnesota since he was 2 years, 1 month old.

"It's a big deal," said Marz. "It's going to be a special day."

Working at both tackle positions since fall camp, Marz, like many offensive line, admit that it's been a challenging learning three different styles in the last year under Bostad, Mike Markuson and now Bart Miller.

Having played in four games this season, including Saturday's win over Purdue, Marz can already tell that he has picked the right side of the rivalry to be on.

"I love the coaching staff here, from the strength coach to the academic guys," said Marz. "The facilities are great. I am from a small town, so it felt more like home.

"Hopefully Saturday will be a fun day, so I can rub it in back home."

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