August 27, 2008

Bscherer likely to use redshirt option

MADISON, Wis. - When taking his first few steps onto the UW campus as a freshman two years ago, junior offensive tackle Jake Bscherer could not have thought he was walking into the situation he has.

A four-star in state recruit from Sturgeon Bay, Bscherer figured to have a good shot at becoming a starter early in his career. However, entering his third season in the Badger program, the 6-foot-7 lineman will most likely use his redshirt year this season.

"Right now it's looking like this year I'm redshirting," he said. "That will buy me an extra year so that will definitely help."

Bscherer played in 11 games his freshman campaign, mostly on special teams, and notched one start as an extra tight end against Western Illinois. Entering his sophomore season, after sitting behind All-American and 3rd overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft Joe Thomas, Bscherer was poised to become a starter to begin the 2007 season. But then offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, who entered UW in the same recruiting class, stepped up.

Both lineman engaged in an intense position battle early during fall camp a year ago before Carimi was able to overtake the true sophomore. The reality that he was beat out for the starting spot he was working so diligently for hit Bscherer hard.

"It was really the first time in my life where I've been in that big of a battle to be honest with you," he said. "Even with high school, I was always quite a bit better than everyone else."

"We pushed each other through and through and hopefully we really got the best out of each other as far as how we play…I really am a true believer in competition that will bring the best out in somebody."

Carimi started all 13 games last season for the Badgers and found his way onto and The Sporting News' second team freshman All-American team. Meanwhile, Bscherer was stuck with the "dirty work" so to speak with the special teams unit for the second straight year. Prompting the decision to go to his redshirt option for the 2008 year.

"(Coach) Bob Bostad is the one that mentioned it to me right at the end of spring ball," Bscherer said. "He was the one that brought it up to me."

"I knew more than likely this is (what) the situation I would be in, playing the small role on the field here and there." When he (coach Bostad) said, and I mean obviously, 'you probably would have played minimal time on like field goal and blocking tight end…it's not worth you losing a whole year of eligibility just playing those roles.' I mean, I guess I'm happy with the decision."

But for Bscherer, the consummate team player, he looks at his decision to redshirt as one that he can still help the team. Albeit most likely on the scout team.

"I'm a team player and I want to get out on that field as a starter too," he said. "Right now, my number one goal for me personally is just to be a starter. But while I am trying to accomplish that goal, I'm going to do whatever I possibly can to help the team out."

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