Bostad Has A Dream

With Wisconsin needing to find three new starters on the offensive line, offensive line coach Bob Bostad, with nine scholarship players and six walk-ons at his disposal, is trying to create enough competition to get his starting unit penciled in.

Badger Nation: Last year you had the luxury of knowing the pieces and how they would fit together. Is that the biggest challenge for you right now is trying to fit the pieces?

Bob Bostad: The biggest challenge right now is making sure we come out with the correct starting five. That's it. That's the bottom line. We have to have a goal and that's our goal.

BN: How did the decision with Jake Bscherer end up?

Bostad: Well, you can only play with five. We had a lot of guys returning (last year) and I just did not want to go through that scenario and see that happening (him not playing). I was going to do whatever it took (to make sure he did redshirt) short of hurting the team from a performance aspect. After the Akron game, we told him that he wasn't going to go out. Truth be told, it never really came up in instance after that.

Josh (Oglesby) stepped in and played well at tackle against Ohio State and he got 301 reps that he desperate needs for this. I think overall, the plan worked out absolutely the way you want.

BN: Why did you decide to put him at left guard and not battle Josh for right tackle?

Bostad: It's not like we're playing games here. He'll be at left guard, Josh will be at right tackle, Bill Nagy will be at right guard and John (Moffitt) and Gabe (Carimi) will be the same. Those are the three guys (Nagy, Moffitt and Carimi) that the most experience so, I want to see if they can do it right now.

There's no time for me to deal with people's feelings and sensitivities from the guys that backed up or whatever. We don't have time for that. We've got to walk out of spring in 15 practices and we've got to know who are five starters are. We're going to start this and see if Jake can handle it. This is the biggest adjustment for him going from tackle to guard. Instead of fooling around and having Josh and him compete at right tackle and then all of a sudden put him at guard, that's a disadvantage for him. We're going to start it off like this right now and we're going to see if he can do it.

BN: Does he have some practice playing at guard?

Bostad: Yeah he has. In his true freshman year he played tight end.

BN: What's the big transition moving to guard?

Bostad: I think for our guards, it's a physical position and the pulling part is the biggest thing for those guys, just because we are a team that pulls our guards. I think that will be a big thing that will take some time to learn.

BN: Who will be the backup at right tackle with Bscherer moving?

Bostad: Konz will be at right tackle and Zeitler will be backing them up. I am trying to create with the nine guys on scholarships and the guys I've recruited hard as walk-ons. I am trying to create as much competition as I can but at the same time, it's more important that I find out who the starting five is and that it'll be an effective five.

BN: What made Bscherer the candidate to move to left guard?

Bostad: There's no way Josh (Oglesby) can play guard. I went back to the experience factor. Jake played as a true freshman, played a little bit as a true sophomore and we redshirted him. He's been in the program for three years and knows what we are talking about. This isn't a brand new thing for him. He's got snaps under his belt. He's gone through the preparation period and understands things a little bit more than the other guys. He was the guy, to me, that made sense. He was good for that. Like any other kid, you just want to get on the field and play.

BN: Do you think 15 practices is enough to get a pretty good fell of your two deep?

Bostad: That's all we got. If they give me more, I'd take them. I might take them anyway (laugh).

BN: Was there any thought to flip-flopping Josh and Gabe at the tackle positions or do you feel pretty comfortable with that?

Bostad: Not right now. Right now, this is based on … the downside to doing it this way is that you kind of give out the impression that you are giving it to someone. You always want competition. You always want them to earn things. Truth to be told, we don't have that luxury. We have 15 guys. We don't have a senior class on scholarship. We don't have one guy on the senior class that is on scholarship. Somewhere, five or four years ago, something happened. The next group would be Jake and some other guys and he would be a senior right now if we didn't redshirt him.

This is the best way I thought to do it.

BN: Josh seems like a really laid-back kind of kid. What do you need to see from him?

Bostad: He is. I thought he did some good things. If you watch the Ohio State game, he played as good as football as I have seen him play. I was really impressed with him. So, he needs to play at that level consistently. I've got to make sure I put him in the best position at right tackle and make sure that he maintains that edge. Don't ever be satisfied or feel like you have arrived. We always ward against that kind of feeling. I think Josh is number one, I've got to coach him hard and two, he's got to respond and produce.

BN: You mention the walk-ons you have used to create competition. Any stand out or pop out to you?

Bostad: Ricky Wagner is the number two left tackle behind Carimi. You'll see all of our kids get a shot. Robert Burge is out there at a guard position and we'll flip him to tackle. He's kind of done both. Jordan Bergmann will be a guard also. Those three guys are the ones that pop to me.

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