Two of the University of Wisconsin's best offensive linemen aren't participating due to injury this spring.
Two others with starting experience sat out team drills at times over the past month, while a fifth-year senior without any earned high praise from offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph on Tuesday.
There are plenty of reps to go around and ample opportunity for younger talent at the position this spring, and projecting the Badgers' starting five isn't quite as easy as it appeared only a few weeks earlier.
"I'm getting there, but I wouldn't say," Rudolph said when asked if he could identify his best five linemen. "We've got two weeks of spring ball left, and I think we got to maybe the last couple days of spring ball (in 2017) when we moved (Michael) Deiter out to left tackle. I think with a couple guys out it will take a little bit of time."
The absence of center Tyler Biadasz and left tackle Cole Van Lanen, perhaps the only sure starters in the group, opened first-team opportunities for tackles David Moorman and Tyler Beach.
Rudolph moved Logan Bruss, who started the final three games at right tackle last season, to guard for the first few weeks of spring. With Bruss (left thumb) currently out as well, UW's down to just 10 healthy linemen.
The Badgers expected Bruss to take reps at tackle again later this spring, but his ability to play both positions could open up more competition across the line.
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Rudolph recently singled out Moorman as having the best spring of anyone in the group. He took reps at left tackle throughout most open practices until switching spots with Beach at right tackle Tuesday.
An offseason jump from Beach or Moorman could give Rudolph the option to play Bruss at guard over Jason Erdmann or Kayden Lyles. Moorman's also capable of playing guard himself, and sophomore Josh Seltzner continues to fight for first-team reps on the interior as well.
UW may not ultimately be as thin as one would expect when replacing four starters at the position, three of which are expected to be selected in the NFL Draft next week.
"I think there's a lot of question marks still," Rudolph said. "And good question marks, as long as guys are growing and competing to fill those shoes.
"I think we've got great competition. ... It's a good group. But I can't tell you if we'll reach (last year's) level or not. I just don't know yet."
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Two of the Badgers' top-rated recruits in the 2019 class, Logan Brown and Joe Tippmann, are offensive linemen. Rudolph said neither should be counted out of competing for a spot in the two-deep this fall, noting Biadasz did so when he nearly burned his redshirt in 2016.
Brown, a five-star prospect, may prove more likely to compete immediately after the two arrive on campus this summer.
"Will they get over the hump and make that happen? I don't know," Rudolph said. "But with the numbers we have, there's no reason why anyone (couldn't). The two young men that are walking in the door will get reps, so they'll have an opportunity."
Replenishing depth doesn't necessarily equate to replacing the top-end talent UW lost with the departures of Deiter, Beau Benzschawel, David Edwards and Jon Dietzen.
The Badgers still have nearly five more months to prove they can do both.
"Obviously, we're not there yet," Biadasz said. "And we don't need to be right now. But we're going to keep growing as spring goes. I'm going to do my best to help everyone else grow. I think the guys we lost last year, they're really big impact players, but I think we have big impact players on this team right now."