In the days leading up to the start of the University of Wisconsin’s spring football practice on March 26, State Journal beat reporter Jason Galloway will preview each of UW’s position groups. Today, in Part 7 of an 11-part series, he breaks down the Badgers’ offensive line.
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
1. Cole Van Lanen, Jr.
2. Tyler Beach, So.
1. Jason Erdmann (above), Sr.
2. David Moorman, Sr.
1. Tyler Biadasz, Jr.
2. Jason Erdmann, Sr.
1. Kayden Lyles, So.
2. Josh Seltzner, So.
1. Logan Bruss, So.
*2. Logan Brown, Fr.
Alex Fenton, So.
Blake Smithback, So.
Michael Furtney, R-Fr.
Andrew Lyons, R-Fr.
*Joe Tippmann, Fr.
*Logan O’Brien, Fr.
*Not enrolled for spring semester
UW will be without four of five starters from last season. Left guard Michael Deiter (above), right guard Beau Benzschawel and right tackle David Edwards are off to the NFL, while left tackle Jon Dietzen retired after dealing with multiple injuries the past couple years.
Cole Van Lanen split time with Dietzen, however, making him somewhat of a returning starter at left tackle. Reserve Micah Kapoi also graduated.
This group wasn’t as consistent as expected after coming into the season hyped as one of the best offensive lines in UW history.
David Edwards (above) battled through a shoulder injury all season, which affected his play the year after he earned first-team All-American honors by the American Football Coaches Association.
Outside of a few poor games, however, the Badgers’ line still dominated in the run game and helped pave the way for running back Jonathan Taylor’s 2,194 rushing yards.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2019
There should still be plenty of talent on the roster to fill in the holes left by the four key departures.
Logan Bruss earned meaningful playing time when David Edwards sat out the final three games last year. Kayden Lyles came to Madison as a highly ranked recruit before making a one-year switch to defensive line in 2018. Jason Erdmann (above left) has played in 40 games during his career and rotated regularly with Jon Dietzen at left guard in 2017.
The coaching staff also appears to be encouraged by the development of both Tyler Beach and Josh Seltzner, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship last year.
NAME TO WATCH
Logan Brown didn’t enroll early but will arrive on campus this summer as a legitimate five-star prospect.
It’s not easy for a true freshman to play on the Badgers’ offensive line immediately, but he can’t be counted out of a competition with Logan Bruss (right) at right tackle.
It won’t be easy to replace so much talent up front, but UW has enough potential waiting in the wings to give hope for a quick and successful reload at the position.