20 on '20: David Moorman on Wisconsin's Current Offensive Linemen
As Wisconsin football student-athletes started "voluntary athletics activities" on June 15 -- AllBadgers.com wanted to begin a series dedicated to the program entering a 2020 season.
Ed. note: The Big Ten announced in July that the conference's fall sports would compete within its own league. Any updates to UW's football schedule are still unknown as of Aug. 3.
I had some questions as to the parameters, however. Do we highlight breakout or "most important" players according to a specific set of standards?
Perhaps we look at the biggest concerns with a team returning many starters and contributors but has specific questions needing to be answered at key positions?
In that light, AllBadgers.com presents its "20 on '20" series where we dissect (you guessed it) 20 topics pertaining to the football program. For those needing to catch up, here is the series so far:
- No. 1: Wisconsin's Deepest Position Groups
- No. 2: Wisconsin's Special Teams
- No. 3: Replacing Two Key Wisconsin Linebackers
- No. 4: 20 on '20: Wisconsin's Recruiting 'Upswing' in Recent Years
- No. 5: Tailgating Before, Attending Wisconsin Games at Camp Randall Stadium
- No. 6: Wisconsin's Running Back Room Post-Jonathan Taylor Era
- No. 7: Wisconsin's Wide Receivers and Replacing Three Contributors
- No. 8: Wisconsin's Deep Cornerback Room and a South Florida Connection
- No. 9: Jake Ferguson and What 2020 Could Bring
- No. 10: Wisconsin's Walk-On Tradition and Potential Contributors Next Season
Topic No. 11: Wisconsin's Offensive Line
Whenever next season will commence, Wisconsin will have to answer the question of how it will replace three starters on the offensive line--Tyler Biadasz, David Moorman and Jason Erdmann--from 2019.
Why not ask one of those three departing linemen about the room led by offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joe Rudolph? AllBadgers.com reached out to Moorman, who started eight games and played in 14 overall last season, and he graciously gave his time earlier this week.
The one question asked about each of the following linemen below was what Moorman expects out of them each next season. Here were his answers, very lightly edited for clarity.
Cole Van Lanen: “Well as you know, Cole's one of the best offensive linemen in not only the Big Ten the past couple years, but I think this year, he's gonna make a big step and be one of the better ones in the entire country. I know he's ready to go for a big fifth year. He's had a lot of success, and he's played in a lot of big games and blocked against a lot of great people. Obviously, I had the honor of blocking next to Cole last season. Playing next to him, I learned so much and I became a better player, so I can't wait to see what he does with whoever steps in the left guard role.
“I'm just so pumped for him to have a great senior campaign and set himself up for a big, potential, rising draft stock and all the accolades that he deserves. I'm super pumped for him and I can't wait to see what he does on the field next year.”
Logan Bruss: “Logan's just an absolute freak. I think I've said this before, but Logan, he's definitely the most explosive, probably the nastiest football player I’ve played with on the offensive line in all my days at Wisconsin. He's just super talented. He's such a great guy. He's obviously been a staple on the offensive line now for all of last season. He's even played more the season before that, but I can't wait to see him take a next step and really kind of start getting the national recognition I think he deserves and the recognition he's going to bring to himself this year. Just kind of be one of the anchors on the offensive line.
“I'm just so pumped to see him take the next step and just continue to dominate and dominate even more than he has in the past.”
Tyler Beach: “'Beach' in my opinion has probably, he has the prettiest pass set of all the guys on the team. I know he's been having a great offseason just talking to him and talking to other guys and coaches who are around the locker room. But I'm just so excited to see him take the next step in the sense where he's played in big games. He's done really really well, and I wouldn't be surprised if ‘Beach’ gets in the lineup and shakes things up. Who knows, they can move Bruss wherever on the line or Bruss can stay at tackle because Bruss is versatile. Even 'Beach,' who knows what 'Beach' can do?But at the same time, I think he has really set himself up nicely to start impacting in an even larger role. Obviously Coach Rudolph has the innate ability to kind of mess around with lineups and put different guys in their positions to get the best five players on the field at any given time regardless of situation.
“I'm so excited to see ‘Beacher’ have a different role, and who knows? He played tight end last year, I think he did a little bit of 'Hippo' (package) in one or two games last year. He's versatile and can play in a variety of different roles so I'm excited to see him. I'm excited to see how the coaches weaponize him and how he has an impact on games next fall.”
Kayden Lyles: “Kayden as you know, he's a really good player. He's really smart and he's really strong, really physical, and I think he kind of plays nasty as well. I mean, he's everything you want out of an interior offensive linemen. I mean he's going to be probably the favorite for the center job, in my opinion, you never know who can come out there and push him. In my opinion, he's probably one of the best interior offensive linemen we have in the program. So I'm so pumped to see him compete to earn the center or one of the two guard spots.
“I'm super excited for him to kind of come in this year and just put together an All-Big Ten-like season. He's gotten hurt in the past so I can't wait to see him be healthy, and just kind of unleash it on the field. Unleash all the talent, potential he has, so I'm super excited for Kayden.
Josh Seltzner: “You've seen Josh up close, he's probably the biggest physical freak I've ever met in my entire life. I can't wait to see him kind of step up in a different role in the sense where the last couple years he's had the ability to kind of learn and like just keep growing as a player. Now, he's going to be the dude and I can't wait to see him start just throwing dudes around like he's done in the past.
“I know he's had a great offseason as well, just from talking to all the guys and from staying in it a little bit. I think he's gonna hit big strides. Josh has all the potential in the world to be an All-American, so I'm so excited for him and I can't wait to see whatever tackle he's partnered up with. Can’t wait to see them kind of toss some hips around and throw some guys to the ground, so I'm super pumped for that, super pumped for Josh.”
Cormac Sampson: “Cormac did such a great job at tight end last year. I was kind of nervous that we would never get him back on the offensive line to be honest. I didn't think (tight ends) Coach (Mickey) Turner would let him go, but Coach Rudolph, he has final say, man. I tell you what, Cormac, I just know from watching him in the bowl prep practices -- when he kind of went back to the offensive line (and) played a little center, guard, tackle -- he had a great, great bowl prep.
“I know he's looking huge, and he's getting after it in the weight room. Cormac, he's one of the smarter players I played with. He’s one of the smarter guys in the room, and he’s just exciting to watch. He’s so athletic, and he just doesn't take crap from anybody, and he gets out there and he's reliable. He's definitely one of those guys competing for the center position I think, in my opinion. I don't know what Coach Rudolph has in store for him, but I think he's smart enough and he's athletic enough and strong enough to be in the competition for the center position.
"If not, I think he's one of those other guys who coaches can put in a variety of different roles. Who knows maybe it's 'Hippo' package or a tight end role. He's just a good football player, so I'm super pumped to see him in whatever role he is, but I know he's definitely a reliable asset to have in the offensive line room this year.”
Michael Furtney: “Well Furtney, I think I've mentioned this before, but Furtney's the past couple of years has been so raw, and he's shown glimpses of being a ridiculous football player. ... I'd say Bruss is the most explosive. I think Furtney is right there with them. When Furtney puts it all together, he's just a nasty football player. And I'm excited to see him being going into year three, kind of take the next step and really compete for one of the guard roles. I mean, he also played tackle so I think that does him well in the sense of where he's versatile and can be kind of a staple in either competing for a guard spot or be in the two-deep in some level.
"I'm excited to see him -- kind of like all these guys -- take the next step, and he's not going to be the young guy anymore. Furtney has the opportunity to kind of come in and really step up and be a leader on the offensive line.
"I'm excited to see him. I haven't seen him in a while. He's one of the guys I've been dying to reach out to. I got to touch base with my buddy 'Furt,' but I wouldn't be surprised at all if Furtney locks down one of the guard spots and is contributing in a situation this fall. He has all the talent in the world so I'm excited for him."
Joe Tippmann: “I love Joe. I think Joe is going to be a hell of a player at Wisconsin. He is in a situation where there's a lot of good players around him, but Joe, he's a happy guy. He's a great dude, but he kind of gets it. He works his butt off every day. I think the coaches love that about him. That's what I loved about him, too, so I can't wait to see him kind of (get) an opportunity to compete for a spot on the offensive line. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Joe comes into training camp and locks down one of the spots up front.
"Joe Tipmman is definitely one of those guys you want to keep your ears open for this fall and for years to come, so I can't speak highly enough about Joe.”
Logan Brown: “He's massive. He’s huge, super tall, super long arms. From what I saw about him from the limited exposure (when) he actually got to play full-time snaps, he's just so athletic, and he's a ton of potential and he's a super-raw talent. Obviously, he hasn't really had an opportunity to fully strap it up yet and go at it 100%, but I know that the coaches are super high on him. I know that he had a good offseason, and he was getting back healthy and getting ready to play. So he's another one of those guys. He's one of the young players who has all the talent in the world and he's massive so I wouldn't be shocked at all if he comes in and competes.
“I mean you have three great tackles who are going to be competing for a tackle position with him. I think Cole and Bruss kind of solidified themselves but him and 'Beach' have opportunities to kind of go into these tackles roles and fight for them. I'm super pumped to see what he does, and I just want to see him in action, man.
"He's a great kid. He's super smart. He asked all the right questions and he's another one of those guys I can't wait to see what he does in his career because he's gonna be one of the better offensive linemen to come through Wisconsin when all is said and done in my opinion.”
Blake Smithback: “Blake Smithback’s another guy who has battled some injuries, and Blake’s an all-around, super-reliable player. I can't wait to see him have an opportunity to stay healthy all year and contribute on the offensive line. He's just a great guy to have in the room to bounce ideas off of, to kind of just help, especially with the center competition. He'll definitely be one of the guys whoever the starting center is -- or Blake even might get a chance to compete for the job -- but Blake would be a guy who's gonna be there to kind of help out all the way. So I'm super excited to see what Blake's role is going to be.”
Aaron Vopal: “Well, It's funny because I'm more used to blocking Vopal because I had to block that dude for so long. But yeah, he transitioned (from defensive line) last year, man. He got so much better as the year went on. He literally looks like ‘The Mountain’ from Game of Thrones. He's just that like muscular and built, so I'm super pumped to see what ‘Vops’ does. He's one of those guys that's athletic, and … it's a lot to ask a player who's played d-line his whole life and have to ask him to switch over and play offensive line. Not just offensive line (but) offensive line at Wisconsin and have to play right away. He was right away, because of injuries, thrown into the two-deep and stuff. I'm super excited for him, and I just can't wait to see what he does.”
Moorman also noted "the young guys" I did not ask about, mentioning by name redshirt sophomore Andrew Lyons, redshirt freshmen Logan O'Brien and the incoming 2020 freshmen.
"I'm excited for the (offensive line) group as a whole," Moorman said. "Coach Rudolph, he's gonna do his thing, man. Then Micah Kapoi, he's my boy, one of my best friends -- he’s a GA (graduate assistant) in the group -- and our strength staff. I can't wait to see what the product is. I know they're salivating to kind of get back to normal so they can get their hands on them fully.
"But they got a great group, great staff in there. I can't wait to see what the results are as soon as you get back on the field, whether that's the fall or spring. I'm proud of these guys and I'm just so fortunate to be able to play with them, and I can't wait to see what they do in the future."