Offensive Line Coach Mike Markuson may be new to the Wisconsin football program, but the first-year assistant will bring a similar smash mouth mentality, trademarked by the Badgers' front five.
Losing a lot talent to the NFL after last season, Wisconsin still expects nothing less than to have the best offensive line in the nation.
"Everybody knows it's always the next guy in," Junior Guard Ryan Groy said. "Everybody's always ready for guys to leave. The person behind is always ready. Last year we did it again and hopefully we can do it again this year."
The Front Runners
Career Starts: 24
Ricky Wagner has been tabbed as a preseason candidate for the Outland Trophy. Considered to be the next Wisconsin offensive lineman taken in the first round of the NFL draft, Wagner is a two-time consensus All-Big Ten selection. Wagner moved to left tackle at the beginning of last season, and continues to grow more comfortable anchoring the Badgers' offensive line.
Career Starts: 1
Although he has just one start under his belt this far, Rob Havenstein is considered to have a very bright future ahead of him. At 6-foot-8, 343-pounds, Havenstein very well could be the next stud offensive tackle at Wisconsin, following possible first round draft pick Ricky Wagner. Havenstein has tremendous upside and although he lacks starting experience, should replace Josh Oglesby without the offensive line skipping a beat.
Career Starts: 6
Ryan Groy has started sparingly for Wisconsin in each of his first two seasons in Madison. Although he's moving into a full-time role in 2012, Groy has plenty of experience, playing in all 14 games last season, and all 13 games in 2011 as a redshirt freshman. Groy played some center last season, but is happy and more comfortable at guard, where he'll be in 2012.
"I like left guard," he said. "I like not snapping (laughing). It's a little less mental, a little more physical."
Named to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy and Outland Trophy, Travis Frederick is coming off a solid sophomore season, in which he was a second-team All-Big Ten selection. Frederick will move back to center this season, after starting 11 games at left guard last season, taking over for Peter Konz.
Career Starts: 17
Robert Burge is coming on strong as a senior, and could be the favorite to start at one of the guard positions for Wisconsin. Burge had an excellent spring camp, getting a lot of reps with the No. 1 offense. Burge also has the edge of the competition with his experience, playing in 28 games over his career, although most of which came on special teams.
Career Starts: 0
Career Starts: 0
Kyle Costigan has earned strong praise throughout the spring by the coaching staff and his teammates, for his work in the weight room, and ability to move from the defensive side of the ball, to offense with ease. Costigan played in three games last season at defensive tackle, but is a serious challenger to start at guard for the Badgers in the season opener against Northern Iowa.
"That kid's a beast," Ryan Groy said. "He's got to get his fundamentals down, but he's an animal. He comes from the d-line, which is impressive."
Career Starts: 0
Dallas Lewallen is returning from knee surgery in the spring, but if he can remain healthy, has a chance to be one of the next great offensive lineman from Wisconsin. The coaching staff raved about Lewallen before his injury. The redshirt sophomore was named the Badger's scout team MVP in 2010. Look for Lewallen to take things slow this season, before seriously competing for a starting spot as a junior.
The Dark Horse
Career Starts: N/A
Enrolling early, Dan Voltz will have the opportunity to play, and compete for a starting role as a true freshman. Voltz comes in as one of the most highly touted players coming out of high school for Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema. The Nation's No. 53 ranked player in the class of 2012, can play either guard or center in college.