UW Football: ‘Thunder and Lightning’ leading way for running game


UWBadgers.com Senior Writer


Operating out of a spread formation, mini-pistol, triple-option, Garrett Groshek was a dual-threat quarterback who passed for 2,398 yards (41 touchdowns) and rushed for 1,432 yards (16 TDs) in leading Amherst High School to the 2015 Wisconsin Division 5 state championship. Groshek was subsequently named the Offensive Player of the Year in the state. The Badgers extended a walk-on invitation to Groshek as a quarterback, but he switched to tailback before the start of spring practice.

"We just got done with a workout," said the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Groshek, "and Coach (Paul) Chryst came up to me and told me that third down running back might be the best spot for me. I could tell that he thought it was absolutely the right place, so I immediately thought it was the right place. I really had no questions about it. I was just excited to get started. And it has been fun this spring and a little different. It's not as easy mentally going from quarterback to running back as someone might think."


Because of an injury, Deal is not practicing this spring. But Settle says that he still looms as a wild card among the tailbacks going into next season. "The one thing that I've liked about him, when he's out here (for practice), he's engaged," Settle said. "It has been kind of fun hearing him coach-up the younger guys. He sees things and gives them pointers. He understands the protections and the run game and how it's supposed to look. My hope, when he comes back, is that he should have all the confidence in the world. That was the one thing with the ankle injury, it kept nagging him last season. Now that it's fixed, hopefully he'll compete for a role in the fall."


After making the transition from linebacker to running back as a freshman in 2015, Ingold is a hybrid tailback/fullback. At least that's how Settle is looking at him. "He's a guy who can play both spots and I kind of like the flexibility that he brings," said Settle. "He does have a lot of ability and he has proven that he can play in every situation. In practice, you'll see him on the field on third down. He's a big body that understands protection schemes. He can pick up the blitz. And he's a 240-pound guy with experience as opposed to a 210-pound guy. We're excited about him. Just like we're excited about Austin (Ramesh, who's injured). He'll be better than he was when he comes back."


n development of James, the Pittsburgh transfer, Settle said, "In the first practice, the first two touches, he fumbled the ball. He was just trying to do too much. He just had to calm down and relax. I think he was out to prove to his teammates and the coaches that he deserved to be here and he was just trying too hard. Since that day, he has been the Chris James that we expected to see with the burst, the acceleration, the elusiveness at the third level — all the those types of things that we saw when we had him at Pitt his freshman year. He's starting to get into a rhythm, so to speak."

Read about the "Thunder and Lightning" backfield tandem at UWBadgers.com

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