Williams, Biegel round out No. 20 Badgers' battered line
GENARO C. ARMAS
Aug. 31, 2015
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The new starters on No. 20 Wisconsin's offensive line will need to get familiar with each other in a hurry this week.
There will be little room for error on Saturday night in the season opener against No. 3 Alabama.
Badgers coach Paul Chryst rounded out his front five on Monday after being forced to mix and match all through training camp because of injuries. Junior Walker Williams will get the start at right guard, while sophomore Hayden Biegel will start at right tackle.
Chryst said both players will practice fully this week after missing time in camp with head injuries. Several other linemen thought to have a shot at cracking the starting lineup have also been maligned by injuries.
"You would have liked to have more snaps, absolutely," Chryst said at Camp Randall Stadium. "But at the same time, they're going through it together, and I think that there can be some benefits from that as they go through and watch the tape."
The uncertainty has raised questions about a unit that is traditionally a position of strength for the program. Wisconsin prides itself on pushing defenses around up front to pave the way for a potent rushing attack.
"I would say it was kind of scary," running back Corey Clement said about watching offensive linemen shuffle in and out in camp. He said he trusts that whoever is blocking for him will be ready for the Tide.
But familiarity does help in the running game. The little nuances that come with knowing a running back's tendencies or a defensive lineman's moves can lead to a hole opening up for a split second — just the amount of time needed for Clement to dart through the line of scrimmage.
"You just have to act natural and just do whatever you see. Sometimes the hole is not going to be there, sometimes it is, and this is not a game where every run has to go for a home run," Clement said.
That is going to be tough against Alabama's formidable front seven.
Biegel was considered one of the top candidates at right tackle in the offseason after seeing action in six games last year. Williams, who has played in six games over the last two seasons, had been bouncing around on different spots before getting the nod at right guard.
Redshirt freshman Michael Dieter is also a newcomer up front, slated to start at left guard after initially being ticketed to play on the right side.
Left tackle Tyler Marz and center Dan Voltz are the veteran holdovers. Marz, a senior who will protect quarterback Joel Stave's blind side, has started all 27 games the last two seasons.
Voltz started all 14 games last year, along with 20 of 25 in his career.
"Bottom line is that they've all got to communicate and that's where I feel really fortunate with Dan Voltz at the center spot," Chryst said. "You've got a guy that's got great knowledge of what we're trying to do."
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