Good beginning

Freshman right tackle Kraig Urbik played well in his first career start

MADISON — Kraig Urbik's first of what will be many days in the starting lineup went about as well as one could imagine Saturday.

The redshirt freshman right tackle played well, helping to clear the way for the University of Wisconsin to rack up 388 rushing yards in its season-opening win over Bowling Green.

"The experience went pretty good," Urbik said. "Just very exciting, very emotional. I was really nervous in the beginning but after the game went on it was just calmed down."

What calmed Urbik's nerves?

"Knowing that I know what to do every play," he said, "and after I was making my blocks and everything I got confidence and it took the nervousness away."

Urbik, the rest of UW's offensive line and its receivers, tight ends and fullbacks did a marvelous job clearing paths primarily for tailback Brian Calhoun, who ran for 258 yards and five touchdowns on 43 carries.

"It was great seeing Brian get 260 yards rushing, Big Ten Player of the Week," Urbik said. "It's great knowing that you are partly responsible for (that production)."

Urbik is one of three new starters on the UW offensive line this season. But the other two — guards Matt Lawrence and Jason Palermo — are fifth-year seniors. The returning starters are another fifth-year senior, center Donovan Raiola, and junior left tackle Joe Thomas. Urbik is a wee pup by comparison, but the 6-foot-6, 317-pounder does not feel like an out-of-place young guy on a gray line.

"I don't really see them as seniors and juniors, I just see them as teammates," said Urbik, who, in his second year as a Badger, said he already knows his teammates pretty well.

Urbik won the starting right tackle spot in a competition with sophomore Danny Kaye last spring, despite missing about a month with an ankle injury. During preseason camp, UW offensive line coach Jim Hueber said that he was impressed with the strides Urbik made after returning from that ailment.

"After I got injured I was seeing Danny get all the reps and I didn't want to let an ankle injury get me to the No. 2 spot, or scout team again," said Urbik, who toiled on the scout team last season. "I wanted to just push myself and I wanted to be the one that was starting."

Now that he has earned a starting spot as a freshman, Urbik is poised to become a four-year starter on UW's offensive line.

"That would be great if I can," Urbik said. "(I have to) keep fighting for my position every year."

Urbik said that he feels Hueber likes his hustle and effort.

"And just some of the things I'm not doing so well it starts with my technique on some of the blocks," Urbik said. "I've just got to work on that…

"The whole week coach would tell me I've got to… emphasize on like the blocks I needed to work on. Like getting under people; (he) told me like all week to work on that specifically."

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