Biegel, Schobert make for OLB odd couple at No. 22 Wisconsin
Biegel couples his mile-a-minute motor with unique buzz cuts that would make a pro wrestler proud.
Schobert is more reserved, a clean-cut senior who looks like the football player next door.
Together, they're wreaking havoc on a defense that hasn't allowed a touchdown at home going into Saturday night's game against Hawaii.
''Yeah, it's the odd couple,'' Badgers outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar said. ''They certainly have different personalities, have different styles and how they play. ... I think they're really good for each other.''
And bad for opposing offenses.
Through three games, Schobert is third in the country in with 7 1/2 tackles for losses, and tied for fifth in the nation with five sacks. Biegel isn't far behind with five tackles for losses and two sacks.
''Joe started off with a strong 2015 campaign,'' Biegel said. ''I'm kind of in catch-up mode.''
Wisconsin (2-1) hasn't allowed a touchdown since the 8:02 mark of the fourth quarter of the 35-17 loss in the season opener against Alabama on Sept. 5. Since then, they've defeated Miami (Ohio) 58-0 and Troy 28-3 at home.
It's not exactly the type of schedule so far that wins points with bowl selection committees.
On the other hand, the Badgers are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing on defense against inferior foes at a time when some other power conference squads are struggling against less talented teams.
''The biggest thing is just cleaning up mental errors on defense,'' Biegel said about the nonconference play. ''And it's becoming more familiar, the schemes, what (defensive coordinator Dave) Aranda wants from us.''
Paul Chryst is in his first year as head coach, and Tibesar in his first year as the position coach for Schobert and Biegel. But Aranda returned from previous head coach Gary Andersen's staff to bring a sense of continuity to the defense.
He asked his starting outside linebackers to broaden their skill sets in the offseason. In 2014, Biegel was primarily the pass rusher, while Schobert mainly dropped back in coverage.
In the offseason, Schobert worked on more on rushing the passer, a skill that Tibesar said came naturally to the senior. Biegel refined his drop-back skills into coverage, a skill that took a little time to hone.
The result, though, is that no longer can Biegel or Schobert be pigeon-holed into a specialty. They can flip-flop sides, too, or line up inside at times.
''More balanced, so (opponents) don't really know where everybody is coming from,'' Schobert said.
It's an easier transition to make with two experienced and athletic players. Biegel was a touted in-state recruit, but Schobert's rise up the depth chart started as walk-on - the latest in a long line of success stories for Badgers who began their careers as non-scholarship players.
Just another difference in a pair of players who together form one of the top outside linebacker duos in the Big Ten.
''Despite our different styles of play, we feed off one another, getting after the quarterback,'' Biegel said. ''Joe makes a play, I need to make one. I make a play, Joe's like, `Hey, I've got to make one.'''
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