April 2, 2009

Bscherer benefitted from redshirt year

MADISON, Wis. - For offensive lineman Jake Bscherer, time was running out. As a true junior, the Sturgeon Bay (WI) native was buried within the depth chart as his eligibility was beginning to run thin. But, after consoling with the coaches, Bscherer used his redshirt year and now finds himself with the starters during spring practice with two full years of eligibility remaining.

Following Tuesday's practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with Bscherer and discussed the transition to left guard, his redshirt season and what he expects moving through the rest of the spring season.

The following is a question and answer with Bscherer:

Well, we're a little over a week into spring practice, how does it feel to get back out there?

Bscherer: Oh, it feels good. It feels real good. They have me in a new position now and I'm just trying to pick up on that as much as I can. It's a good learning experience right now.

Is that something that you knew was going to happen after your redshirt year. Did you know that you would be switching positions?

Bscherer: I didn't know that until three or four weeks before spring practice. So I mean I did know a little bit in advance but not a real long time in advance.

How tough does it make it to transition into a new role when you don't have much time to mentally prepare for it?

Bscherer: Well I had enough time where I was definitely able to watch a bunch of tape. My freshman year I actually played left guard for four or five weeks so I had a little taste of that. It is a hard transition but I had a little taste of it. Being older, I kind of have a good sense of what to do as far as responsibilities at any position. So it wasn't as bad. Maybe for a younger guy it would have been a lot tougher, but I played it a little bit so it wasn't as bad as I thought.

I know it is still early, but what have you seen yourself pick up on the most and what do you still need to work on so far at the new position?

Bscherer: I think I definitely picked up on combination blocks. There were times at the beginning during the first few practices I was coming off a little too early or I was holding a double team a little too long. So I definitely think I improved on that. Areas I think I need to improve on is a lot of times my set and pass blocking and pulling, just really getting used to that. And that's something that's hard to kind of simulate in practice or a drill, it's really just game situations that makes you better.

When you pull to your right, is that the hardest part? Or is going to your left tough too?

Bscherer: It doesn't really matter. It's not the pulling, it's really just-if it's a gap play where I'm pulling to the right -it's really just seeing everything and picking your best alley to kind of go up and block the linebacker on that.

Looking back at last year with the redshirt year, was that the best thing that could have happened?

Bscherer: Yeah, definitely. I mean I know at times redshirting where I didn't know if I was redshirting I would have went in and played a little bit. That was a little tough, but I knew in the end as long as I worked hard that this could really line me up for a nice opportunity.

Was it set the whole year, or was it kind of like, if we don't have to play you, we're not going to play you, type of thing? When some of those guys, Gabe Carimi, started to go down, did you ever think you were going to get the call to go in there?

Bscherer: Yeah, when Gabe went down, because Josh Oglesby was strictly playing right tackle, I looked at Bob Bostad and asked him. He got on the headset and went over with coach Paul Chryst real quick whether or not to put me in. They put Josh in. I know then when Kraig Urbik and Eric VandenHeuval got hurt we were starting to get short on guys. For a while there, I knew it was getting to the point where I was just one play away from going in.

You mentioned some of those guys, Urbik and Vandy, you are losing guys who accomplished a lot here. How do you go about replacing that or is that something you don't worry about?

Bscherer: I don't worry about it too much because really there's nothing you can do about it. You have to replace them. But, I know Andy Kemp's my roommate, and they're real good players, but I think with those guys, a lot of those guys came together and really became good friends and were close as it is. So that makes it kind of unit chemistry real easy because it's already there so you can just build on a lot right away.

It seems like when I watch you guys, you mesh really well as a unit.

Bscherer: Yeah, I feel like for how long we've played together, I really feel like we are a pretty close-knit unit.

What do you think the potential of this unit is?

Bscherer: I think the sky is the limit. We're definitely all making a lot of gains and I definitely give all the credit in the world to coach Bostad because he's a great coach. I really feel like we're all getting better and I think, like I said, the sky is the limit. It can really be a good cohesive unit.

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