September 8, 2009

Line needs work in run game

MADISON, Wis. - Offensive line coach Bob Bostad has been working with a unit featuring three new starters at left guard, center and right guard throughout the majority of fall camp. Now, with game one in the books, Bostad saw some encouraging and not so encouraging things from his position.

Following a recent practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with Bostad. The following is a question and answer with him.

First of all, what was your overall impression with the offensive line?

Bostad: Well, as I told the guys before, I thought in the run game we were a little bit on edges. It's not that kind of game. We weren't where we wanted to be. We're not quite there. I thought as far as the pass game, I thought we were solid. I thought we did some good things. The protection was where it was supposed to be.

With three guys that are basically in their first start with Jake Bscherer, Travis Frederick and Kevin Zeitler, were you pretty impressed with the pass protection?

Bostad: Well, you know, yes and no. Yes, in that for what they thought, they did a nice job. They gave the quarterback a pocket there and a chance to throw it. On the other side of it, they didn't pressure a lot or anything like that. So, we're still looking to see just how well they'll do.

Was Travis pretty wide-eyed going into the game, going into his first start at center?

Bostad: You know, I think he was pretty good. We certainly didn't make a big deal of it. He just really stayed on task.

I don't know how close Bill Nagy and John Moffitt are, but when those guys get back, are they going to have to beat out Zeitler and Frederick?

Bostad: Well, I think the first thing they need to do is come back and show that they're back to they're maximum or to where they feel they can play at their highest level. Yeah, I mean, that's huge. I think that's the starting point because we can't put a guy in there like, 'Well, I'm back, but I'm 75 percent, 80 percent back.' We can't do that to the team. So I think if they come back and they're ready to go and are 100 percent and show it on the field, that's why we practice.

The current line has been getting a lot of reps through fall camp. I was talking to Bscherer after the game and he was saying that you got more reps last week than you will probably for the rest of the season as far as practice reps. What's the chemistry like on the offensive line right now?

Bostad: I don't see any bad chemistry. I think, again, we're just staying with the task at hand. We're just trying to do our job the best we can do it. I think the kids are communicating and that starts with the center. So, when he does a good job of communicating and talking to people, then everybody else gets on the same page.

You hit on the run game a little bit, but what specifically do you need to do to pick up on the mistakes you guys had?

Bostad: Well, just being on our targets a little bit better. There's always pad level and those things that go into it. If we want to be that physical style running offense, you have to be on target. You're not going to get many chances to run a play, this or that. The way you fit it and the way you practice it, you get that chance out on the field, you might not get another chance.

You guys kind of harped on discipline a lot through fall camp. Are you pleased with the lack of penalties? I think there was one holding penalty.

Bostad: We had a hold and we had an illegal procedure so I wasn't really pleased with that. You know, in some of the illegal procedures, it kind of comes back to having a new center. The ball's not getting snapped as fast as it should be or something like that. But I really thought it got worked up.

Is it maybe harder for people to understand how tough it is for Frederick to snap to two different quarterbacks?

Bostad: Well, I'll put it in perspective. In 2006, we never went in the gun one time because we felt like our guy couldn't get it back there. Not one time. Now, he's doing it to two different guys. That guy was a junior or a senior and this guys is brand new.

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