Death and taxes might be the only things more consistent than the Wisconsin football team’s offensive line in the last 20-plus years.
The faces of the players and the coaches change, but still these five very large men, no matter who they are, continue to open holes and protect the quarterback better than any other group in the nation. This notion may be tested this year, though, as the Badgers have lost three starters from last season: center Peter Konz, guard Kevin Zeitler and tackle Josh Oglesby.
Losing three starters is never good for an offensive line and can cause problems in the following year, but so far, that conventional thinking has not applied to the Badgers’ offensive line.
Last year’s offensive line is an example of that. Despite losing three members to the NFL the year before, new players stepped in and Wisconsin made a repeat appearance in the Rose Bowl. If past experience is any indicator, the Badgers might be in for another berth in Pasadena.
One thing that is different from last year, however, is the man molding these gargantuan men. Offensive line coach Bob Bostad left Madison with former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to become the offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, but then took off for the offensive line job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this February.
The man that UW selected to succeed Bostad is former Ole Miss offensive line coach Mike Markuson. Markuson is very experienced, having spent the last 14 years in the SEC under Houston Nutt. Markuson, who was born in Farmington, Minn., said that he was glad to once again be back in the Midwest and working under head coach Bret Bielema.