Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, October 16, 2015
While the Wisconsin offense has battled inconsistency this season, the defense has been good all along. And a big reason for that is outside linebacker Joe Schobert.
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The 6-2, 236-pound senior arrived on campus as a walk-on in 2012 from Waukesha, Wis. with big dreams. He?s now part of a unit that is No. 2 scoring defense (11.5 ppg) and the No. 4 total defense (285.5 ypg). In fact, Schobert may be the best player on what is one of the Big Ten?s best defenses.
He paces the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 13.5 and is No. 2 in sacks with nine to go along with 40 tackles. Wisconsin plays a big game this Saturday against Purdue, looking to stay in the Big Ten West race after opening with a home loss to Iowa and winning at Nebraska last week. I caught up with Schobert to get his thoughts on a variety of subjects.
Q: What have been keys to your big season?
A: Work in the offseason, working on being down in the box and not being in pass coverage. (Outside linebackers) Coach (Tim) Tibesar has done a good job with me on my foot work. And work in the weight room has helped, too, getting stronger. Having the experience of playing for a few years helps, too, and starting last year.
Q: How would you describe the Wisconsin defense?
A: Aggressive and unpredictable on where people are coming on each play. Especially now, since coaches have had me and Vince (Biegel) working on opposite things in the spring. He dropped more in coverage in the spring and I rushed more. It?s a little more balanced now where in games either one of us could rush or drop on any play. It keeps offense on their toes not knowing who could come or where we?ll come from. We like to be aggressive and put the odds in our favor. Coach (Dave) Aranda does a good job where we will be one-on-one with a running back or tackle where we can take advantage of those opportunities and make plays.
Q: What do you still want to get better at?
A: Physicality in the run game. Being able to win more one-on-one matchups in the pass-rush game and run game. You don?t want to miss plays. Better understanding offenses and indicators on what they may run. Enhance my footwork and hand work.
Q: Coming to Wisconsin as a walk-on, could you have envisioned having this type of success?
A: Yes, Wisconsin has had a lot of good walk-ons in the past, J.J. Watt, Ethan Hemer, Jim Leonhard, Ethan Armstrong, guys who have been key contributors on defense. I did what people told me to do when I got here, so I am not shocked I am in the position where I am at.
Q: How big was the Nebraska win?
A: It was huge to get that first Big Ten win of the year. We lost our first conference game last year but at the end of the year were still in the title game. We didn?t want to lose our opener to Iowa. But now we have our first win and hopefully can build on it and end up achieving what we want to this season.