Centering the Ball with Derek Engler Part II

Derek Engler joins us for questions and answers post-Northwestern, and a look ahead to the Battle of The Axe.

1) That may have been the best second half I have seen in a long time. What do you think was said in the locker room?

I have a tendency to curse once in a while and when my four year old son, Sam, catches me he says, "Say shoot Daddy!". If Sammy heard audio of the halftime speach by Coach B he would have been telling the coach to say "shoot" an awful lot. Coach Bielema does a great job of getting his kids to understand that this is still the game they grew up loving to play in their backyard or on the playground. Under the "Friday Night Lights" the field was still 100 yds long and 55 yds or so across. He just wants his players to play with that same type of emotion when the game is about the game and nothing more. It is about having fun and not about ESPN or 80,000 fans. Saturday's are the players reward for a hard work week of practice, meetings, film study all the while taking care of their studies for college. I believe Coach Bielema has a great understanding of how to prepare his troops and then loosen them up right before game day so they do not come out of that tunnel tight because we all know there is no fun in losing football games.

2) Is PJ Hill THAT good, or should the offensive line get more credit than it does?

The only credit an offensive lineman ever wants is the credit that a RB gets after rushing for 250 yards or a QB throwing for 3 Tds and 300 yds with no sacks. That is our credit. None of those numbers get put up if it does not get done up front. Our credit goes to the guys who throw, run and catch the ball. We would not want it any other way. Remember the more limelight drawn to us the more we set ourselves up for the fall especially after a crucial holding or offsides penalty, a sack or TFL. Then all fingers are pointing at us and they usually are not nice fingers. We prefer to keep the workmanlike attitude and let the guys with numbers that are not from 50-79 take the glory. While I was in the NFL we had a kangaroo court in the offensive line. We would fine all media appearances or interviews by an offensive lineman. It would go something like a local newspaper or radio 25$, national newspaper 50$, national magazine or radio 75$, local television $50, national television $100. We would have a great time scouring the media trying to catch one or our compadres straying to the "dark side". We kept track of each individual players fines during the season and we would put them up on our grease board in our meeting room and then use the funds for our o-line Christmas party at the end of the year. The year we went to the Super Bowl we had one hell of a Christmas party.

3) Should Travis Beckum be talked about in the same breath as the Matt Spaeth's and Scott Chandler's of the Big Ten world?

I think Travis Beckum has the potential to be a great player in not only the Big 10 but in the country. He is a gifted player and like I mentioned last week his awareness on the football field is mature beyond his years. That being said, potential is nothing but unproven talent. He has started to show things that have gave us an inclination of what might be to come in the future but in the game of football there are many intangibles that can shape his play in the future. I believe he has good character and a work ethic that will give him the best opportunity to fully capture his full potential as a football player.

4) Minnesota - what should we be looking for?

I was able to watch a replay of the Minnesota game and this team should not be taken lightly or we will lose the game. Penn St. was given the game by the officials on Saturday. The Gophers won that game. They have a good veteran QB and probably one of the best Tight Ends in the country. The Gophers have a decent running game and a couple of weapons at receiver. They have always looked at this game in particular as their biggest rival. Minnesotans do not like the "cheeseheads" and being from St. Paul I know this for a fact. They will give the Badgers everything they have on Saturday and if Wisconsin does not come ready to play we will be in a fist fight.

Former Badger offensive lineman/center Derek Engler joins us again this week for "Centering the Ball" for the remainder of the football season. He will give us a look at the previous week's game from the field. Currently, Engler works for Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor. If you have any questions regarding investments, reach him by email derek.engler@morganstanley.com . Or reach him by phone (800) 776-7797.


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