First Impressions, part 2

Part two of Badger Nation's fall look at the 2003 recruiting class discusses the offensive and defensive linemen.

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DE Justin Ostrowski

Of all those who are set to redshirt, Ostrowski was the closest to avoiding the designation. He worked out almost entirely with the second unit defense throughout fall camp and showed good all-around skills. Ostrowski did not excel at any aspect of the game, but he was solid to very good in everything that he did. He had a great motor throughout camp. Though he held up against the run, the coaching staff kept saying that he needed to get stronger, which likely means that he could have played this year, but the team would rather see him develop and have him for four more years. Five of UW's top six ends are juniors or seniors. In a couple years, Ostrowski will be in line to start and will likely shine.


DE Jamal Cooper

At first glance, Cooper is Jonathan Welsh three years ago. They are each 6-4, undersized for end and their games are predicated on quickness. Now, they add a redshirt year to the commonalities. Cooper is only 210 pounds and the coaching staff hopes to see him weigh 230 by spring ball. He showed flashes of pass rushing potential, but Cooper definitely needs to get stronger. When offensive linemen locked onto him, it was over. Cooper did not shed blocks well at the point of attack, but he did display an above average assortment of pass rush moves, which, coupled with his quickness, made for some memorable plays.


General freshmen offensive linemen note: Wisconsin has for quite some time had huge offensive linemen, but when did they get so athletic? The quintet of incoming freshmen, four of which are discussed below (Joe Thomas was discussed in Part 1 of this series), all displayed remarkable athleticism for players so young and so big. The Badgers current starting offensive line consists of four juniors and one sophomore, with three sophomores, a junior and a freshman (Thomas) in reserve. The bulk of this freshmen linemen class may have to pine away for a while, but the Badgers' depth at the positions looks extremely solid. For all of these freshmen the future is bright; the working, improving and waiting is just beginning.


RT Andrew Weininger

At 6-6, 305 pounds, obviously, the first thing that stands out is how big Weininger is. He is technically solid as a run blocker and sets up reasonably well when pass blocking, though the latter is where he will need to work the most. Weininger was impressive when he could set up and lock on, but he struggled at times with counter moves, especially from pure speed rushers. This should be expected when a freshmen is going up against upperclassmen incumbent starters on the defensive line. Still, Weininger held up quite well in his first trial by fire.


RG Marcus Coleman

The most impressive of the quintet, Thomas aside. Coleman is another huge young player at 6-6, 305. He was a force as a run blocker and had good agility. He also has plenty to work on to hone his skills, but nothing stood out.


C Luke Knauf

Knauf and freshman quarterback Tyler Donovan struggled early in fall camp with their exchanges. Once that was set, Knauf could get to work. Knauf is 6-4, 295 pounds and a good athlete at his size. He should develop well and prove an able understudy to Donovan Raiola and Jason Palermo at center.


LG Danny Kaye

At 6-8, 317 pounds, Kaye looks poised to become an absolute giant. He struggled at times in camp to get a consistent push along the line but looked quite improved as camp progressed. He is a big, strong linemen who is only going to get stronger. Like the rest of this linemen class, he has almost too much athleticism for a player his size. He played tight end in high school and is another player who could receive reps at that position down the road in a Mike Lorenz-style blocking-end role.

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