Name Recognition

Overshadowed by the work of their predecessors, senior defensive linemen Dan Moore and Jeff Stehle aim to make a name for themselves, using their work ethic and determination to make Wisconsin's front four a powerful unit.

MADISON - A quick pop quiz. If I asked you to name the 17 seniors of the 2009 Wisconsin football team, could you do it?

There are a couple names you would get right away – Dustin Sherer, Garrett Graham, O'Brien Schofield, Jae McFadden, Shane Carter and Aubrey Pleasant.

There are a couple names you may get if you thought about it for awhile – Chris Maragos, Mickey Turner, Dan Cascone and, maybe, Elijah Theus.

Seniors Dan Moore and Jeff Stehle understand you're still probably missing their names. Being stuck behind Jason Chapman and Mike Newkirk on the depth chart, no other defensive tackle saw a lot of time in 2008 behind those two ironmen.

But with Chapman, Newkirk and end Matt Shaughnessy graduating, the defensive line, led by seniors Moore, Stehle and Schofield, is going to have a new look, and a new style, that is hopefully going to catch opponents by surprise.

"We're a hard working group and you get a little bit something different with each player on the line," Stehle said. "There's no superstar, but that makes us feel like we can go up against anybody. Everyone has their own little thing that they are good at, which combines into a hard, tough unit."

Although his numbers don't back it up (logging only 21 career tackles), there are few people mentally tougher than Stehle. Having been in the program for five years, longer than any other UW lineman, Stehle has paid his dues and transformed his body in preparation for his final season.

Making the personal decision to add 15 pounds of muscle and strength, Stehle checks in at 310 pounds, the biggest man on the UW's front line and 30 pounds heavier than he was a summer ago, and is fully recovered from a painful mid-foot sprain that hampered him the final eight games a year ago.

"I felt my body could handle it without hurting it," Stehle said about putting on the extra weight. "It's been great, because I haven't lost any of my speed or quickness. There really isn't anything to get used to because it feels all the same. All my clothes still fit, so it's a little weird to where the weight is going."

In addition to strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert's rigorous summer workout, Stehle also was the benefactor of picking the brain of Ross Kolodziej, a former Badger linemen during the 1999 and 2000 Rose Bowls that played eight seasons in the NFL. With Kolodziej in town, Stehle routinely talked new techniques and harnessed the new knowledge.

"It's coming from a guy that has done it and proved it," Stehle said of his time with Kolodziej. "You hear a coach say something to you, but then a NFL player comes in and says basically the same thing and you're like ‘wow, this is what really has to happen.'"

While Stehle recognizes the time he's spent in the program, Moore is on the other end of the spectrum. After spending time at Eastern Illinois and Joliet Junior College, Moore came to Madison as part of the 2008 recruiting class and comes into this year wanting to prove he belongs.

"I really honestly can't believe I am a senior, (but) I look at myself as a senior though," Moore said. "I took a long road to get here. I do have that senior mentality, and I am excited for my last year to go out and prove that I can do."

Like Stehle, Moore spent the majority of last season studying the different aspects Chapman, Newkirk and Shaughnessy used in their preparation. Imitating the work ethic, the approach, and the tempo they lead the defensive line with, Moore tapped into that resource, trying to mirror his fundamentals, his strike and his initial step after last year's senior class. "The only thing (I) want to do better this year is that when coach turns on the film, he tells (me) that a fundamentals are getting better," Moore said. "On the defensive line, that's what it all comes down to and as along as we're getting better, we're going to be OK."

For a group that has three players that have never started before and a group of reserves that are even greener behind the eyes, the focus throughout the first nine fall camps have been focusing on the same fundamentals Moore took from the departed seniors and the ones Stehle grabbed from Kolodziej.

If those two mirror the works of their predecessors, suffice it to say that you'll remember their names by season's end.

"Anytime you are under the radar, it's usually a good thing," Stehle said. "I don't think you have expectations, or have a target on your back. You can just go out there, work hard and good things will come."

"Coming into my fifth year here, I've waited my time for my seniors to graduate. It's been five years of hard work and if I and the others keep pushing, it'll pay off."


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