By Tom Lea
Bret Bielema told a throng of reporters that sophomore left guard Travis Frederick was able to squat more than 750 pounds when he broke down his team at the pre-spring camp press conference. As it turns out, though, either Bielema exaggerated that number a little bit, or Fredrick is incredibly modest.
"I don't know where he comes up with this stuff," Frederick said in reference to Bielema's proclamation. "I think he just inflated the number a little bit or misunderstood. It's not quite that much. I'm not really going to go into specifics, but it's not quite there. I'm doing the best and I'm a lot stronger than I was over last summer. I'd say we're probably about 100 pounds off from the 780 pounds."
Even if Frederick is squatting 680 pounds, it still makes him one of, if not the, pound-for-pound strongest players on the entire roster. Plug him in between Ricky Wagner and Peter Konz and it seems as though the left side of the line might be the strongest yet again. They're not quite at the level of Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt, but both Frederick and Wagner have the talent to reach the level of play each of those two veterans played at a season ago.
Frederick, who hasn't played a competitive game since his true freshman season, has to get back into the role of being an every down player. Will he be rusty? Will he be able to play at the high level he demands of himself? Is there even reason for concern?
"First of all I need to earn a spot," Frederick said. "That's the first thing for me. I had a spot and I know that it's like to play and I also know what it's like to sit out and watch. I don't want to do that anymore. I want to earn a spot. From there, I want to take my spot to the next level. I want to play much better than I ever have before. I want to show people that I'm ready to ply in the Big Ten."
With a young quarterback (or a completely new one should Russell Wilson wind up in Madison) along with a couple of stud tailbacks, it's obvious Paul Chryst will look to utilize another strong offensive line to establish yet another potent rushing attack. Having a guy like Frederick, who is hungry to get back on the field after having missed all of last season, will do nothing but help.
And if Fredrick is able to play to his potential, UW will again be a favorite to contend for a Big Ten title.
UP NEXT: No. 15 on our list broke onto the scene a year ago. Can the walk-on turned every down player become a household name in 2011?