Getting the Feel

Last year, John Moffitt was the newcomer to an offensive line that had four experienced players anchoring the foundation. One year later, the junior find himself as the elder of the five and from his vantage point, has seen a lot of growth over the past 13 practices.

Badger Nation: How's spring going so far for you, personally?

John Moffitt: You know, it's going good. I've been trying to build every day. Coach made a reference at the beginning of spring to setting goals, and that's what I've been trying to do a lot. We'll be in film session and I'll write down a few things that I have to work on and try to do that. Obviously, every goal doesn't work out every day – I had a few mental errors today. But I think every day shows when you're going against ones, it brings out what you need to work on, which is good.

BN: Is there cohesion on the offensive line now, with the three seniors gone and some new faces up front?

JM: Yeah, we're starting to get a feel for each other and get a feel for how we play next to each other, working on double teams and things like that. But there's still a lot of movement going on the line, also, with young guys coming in and switching around. So I think that's something that we have to continue to work on.

BN: Is it different this year for you and Gabe, being the veterans on the line as opposed to being the new guys last year and the year before?

JM: Yeah, I think we have more responsibility on our shoulders. I can only really speak for myself, but I'd say I have more responsibility to see what the defenses are doing, picking up blitzes. I don't have ‘Urbs' (Kraig Urbik) or Kemper (Andy Kemp) giving me a shout every time that they see something. (Bill) Nagy sees a lot, Jake (Bscherer) sees a lot, but I feel like the calls are more on my shoulders, where the older guys would take the reins a little bit more last year. But I still think I have good guys on either side of me.

BN: Kraig did most of the talking on the line last year. Are you that vocal guy now?

JM: Definitely. Last year, I'd make my calls and everything, but ‘Urbs' would always be giving alerts, if a sam linebacker walked up or we had a safety coming down. That was a big help because it would put my eyes on it. Now, I've just got to see that myself.

BN: How are Josh Oglesby and Jake Bscherer coming along? They're obviously talented, but they're replacing some pretty good seniors.

JM: It's easiest for me to talk about Jake, just because I play right next to him. I like playing next to Jake, I feel like our double teams are starting to become strong and we're starting to get a feel for how we play pass-blocking. I think we still need to give each other a little more space, because we're tripping over each other's feet a little bit here and there. But I like playing next to both those guys, and I think those are guys that are getting time to develop. If they really maximize spring and fall camp, we'll be a good line by fall. But it's all about putting in the work.

BN: When you're watching the twos, are those guys coming along too? Guys like Kevin Zeitler and Peter Konz are getting more experience.

JM: I'd say Konz is looking really smooth on his pass protection sets. With the offensive line, it's every day, it's so hard to be perfect, there's always something to improve on. If you attack it like that, you're going to get better, and I think Konz takes that approach to the game. I've definitely seen improvements with him. Kevin is becoming real explosive, becoming a north-south lineman driving guys off the ball. Just what I've seen in film, I was watching him with some double teams and he looked real good.

BN: How about backup center Travis Frederick, who's been in the program just a couple months with early enrollment?

JM: I'm pretty impressed with Travis, he's a really smart kid. He picked up this offense pretty fast, it was really amazing to me. I'm the kind of guy where sometimes you might have to tell me things a few times, and I've really got to focus on it and pound it into my own head. But Travis, he really picked it up fast. You tell him something once … I remember telling him about how to make a declaration one time. That was something that took me a little while to learn, and he picked it up like that, which is really impressive.

BN: Is the line as a whole running the way it should, especially in scrimmage situations?

JM: You know, it's tough to say, because there's negatives and positives. We're doing some good things and we're doing some bad things too. As an offensive line, we have to start winning on the play side. There's a lot of cutbacks going on, and you can't live by the cutback. (Offensive line) coach (Bob) Bostad's been saying a lot, someone's got to win by sealing guys off, creating holes. That's what we need to do a little better. As a whole line, we need to see things better when it comes to pass protection, see what defenses are doing better, do a better job of keeping our eyes on linebackers while we're passing off defensive linemen.

But at the same time, in our scrimmage, we were moving the ball, running it five yards at a time. There's good and bad.

BN: With the spring game coming up, are you excited to put everything into play soon?

JM: I think we just love playing when it comes down to it. When we had that scrimmage last Saturday, guys are having a great time, and that's when it's fun. That's like the payoff, this is why I do this other stuff and this is why it's so tough, because the reward is just strapping the pads on, just you and your guys next to you, and you've got to do what you've got to do. We're definitely looking forward to the spring game.

BN: Will you be doing a second season of blogging for during this fall?

JM: I don't know! Honestly, it's up to our media guys. To be perfectly honest with you, I don't even know what I would say anymore. I feel like they were getting really dry toward the end, I was really pulling some stuff out of nowhere (laughs). So I don't know about that.

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