Healing Bscherer enjoyed all-star week

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. OT prospect broke his hand but still played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl

The doctor's recommendation was to skip the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Makes sense, considering Jake Bscherer had broken his hand in practice leading up to the Jan. 7 game in San Antonio.

"I wasn't going to (play) but then I thought about it, and I mean it's the only time I'd ever get to play in that game," Bscherer said in a telephone interview last week. "It's not something you can go back and do. So I decided to play with it."

Bscherer, a 6-foot-7 left tackle prospect, is glad he did. The experience provided him with an opportunity to challenge himself against the best high school football players in the country, which he hopes will help him down the road when he embarks on his college football career at the University of Wisconsin.

"It was awesome. The players down there they were just—they were good," Bscherer said. "I thought the biggest thing was the speed compared to around here. We do have some big guys in our conference but they definitely… are not as strong as the guys down there.

"All together it was a great experience."

Bscherer, a Sturgeon Bay, Wis., native, spent much of the All-American game matched up with defensive end Robert Rose, a Glenville (Ohio) product who will attend Ohio State.

"Well, first two plays I went against some different guys and it wasn't that bad," Bscherer said. "And then like when he got in, just he was so fast."

Rose came off the line of scrimmage so fast that Bscherer initially thought a safety was blitzing off the edge.

"After that play on I was definitely kicking back a lot harder than I was against the other guys," Bscherer said. "I really didn't have any other choice."

A focal point of practices during the week was pass-blocking technique, Bscherer said. It was a helpful emphasis, considering that Bscherer is much more accustomed to, and more comfortable with, run blocking. When pass blocking for Sturgeon Bay, Bscherer said, "I pretty much would be kick back one time, open up and just try to shuffle my feet in front of the guy and just stand in between him and the quarterback. I didn't really need a whole lot for technique up here. I know a lot of the other guys are the same way, where their offense in high school was just mostly running."

Bscherer said he anticipates facing bigger and stronger defensive ends in college, but that the Army Bowl gave him a good idea of the speed of the college game.

Because of his broken hand Bscherer did not expect to play as much as he did in the game.

"The left tackle wasn't doing that hot during the game, and so my coach told me to go in there and just see what I can do and I guess I was playing a little better than he was," Bscherer said. "So he kept me in there. The other guy still played a little bit, but I was in there for most of the game."

How did Bscherer feel he played?

"Well, if I would have been 100 percent I would say I didn't play that good," Bscherer said. "But with the hand it was pretty hard. It hurt really bad to play with it. Really any contact I made (with) the hand I definitely felt it. With the hand, because I couldn't use it that much, I thought I did all right."

Last Wednesday Bscherer received a splint for his injured hand. He will likely need to wear the splint for 4-5 more weeks. "After that I'm just going to have to tape my fingers a little bit and stuff," Bscherer said. "(The doctor) said I'm not going to have a whole lot of flexibility in my hand for a good week or so. Hopefully I'll catch the last part of the basketball season."

Bscherer weighed in at 273 pounds during the all-star week, which was close to his playing weight his senior season. However, he said that he had actually lost weight for two weeks prior to San Antonio due to illness. Last week Bscherer checked in at 283.

In addition to keeping Bscherer off the basketball court, the broken hand obviously impedes him from taking part in upper body weight lifting. However, he can devote far more attention to lower-body work than he normally could in the winter months, since he does not have to keep his legs fresh for running up-and-down the hard court.

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