Redshirt freshman LB Vince Biegel has found a home as a pass-rushing linebacker in Wisconsin's new 3-4 scheme, having racked up two sacks on the season to go along with seven special teams tackles, which ranks second on the team. A highly-touted recruit out of Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, Biegel is trying to follow in the footsteps of his father, Rocky, who was a standout linebacker at BYU in the late 1980s, as well as his uncle, T.D., who played fullback for the Cougars.
Your father, grandfather and uncle all played college football. What were you able to learn from their experiences?
"From the start, football has always been a big part of my life. My dad always emphasized football and hard work from an early age. Football has always been there. My father playing at BYU has a lot to do with football being a being a big part of not only my life, but my brother's as well."
What's it like having your brother, Hayden, playing with you at Wisconsin?
"It's a huge blessing. It's pretty rare for brothers to be able to be teammates at both the high school and college levels. I love having Hayden here. He is over quite a bit and we're always making dinner together and we're going to be roommates next year. I know our mom is happy to have us both in the same spot looking after one another."
Did you try to influence Hayden's decision to play at Wisconsin?
"I think Hayden knew in his heart where he needed to be and that was right here. But, at the end of the day, it was Hayden's decision, just like it was my decision on where to go to play college football. I wanted Hayden to make the best decision for himself, but I did think that this was the best fit for him."
You were recruited by BYU coming out of high school. Considering your family's history there, was it tough to turn down that offer?
"It was a very tough decision. It came down to BYU and Wisconsin and it was a tough decision because both programs are such great programs. Both have good players and good coaches. At the end of the day, though, I felt that Wisconsin was the best place for me and I think that this is where I am supposed to be. I have a lot of respect for BYU, though."
Is your dad going to feel conflicted at all Saturday?
"My dad played at BYU and that's his alma mater, but I think at the end of the day he's going to be rooting for his boys and for Wisconsin. I think he's going to be wearing red and white this weekend, at least I hope so."
What is it like being a pass-rusher in the Badgers' 3-4 defense?
"First off, Coach (Dave) Aranda is a great defensive coordinator. He puts us in the best spots and we are fortunate to have him here, because he's a great coach. He knows how to utilize his players and, for me, that means being a pass-rusher. That's what I am comfortable doing, that's what I'm good at and that's what I'm going to keep doing for him. This weekend against BYU I know we are going to have a lot of pass rush opportunities, so I am looking forward to that."
What makes you well suited to be a pass-rushing linebacker?
"Probably my body type. I'm 6-4 with about a 240-pound frame and can get good speed off the edge. I can get the tackles on their toes, which opens it up for the inside (linebackers). Overall this year I have been grooming my pass rushing skills and getting them where they need to be. I think I've really progressed as the games have gone on."
What have you been working on to see the field more this season?
"First of all, it was coming out and working special teams and trying to be a dominant player on the special teams and kickoff units. I think the coaches see that, that you're working your butt off, and I think I've been able to progress on third downs and now to the point that I can be a first- through third-down player."
Who are some of the older guys you've tried to emulate or learn from?
"Without a doubt Brendan Kelly. BK and I both play the same position and he's been around for six years, so he knows the ropes. From my freshman year to now, and especially this year now that we're both playing the same position, I've tried to learn from Brendan. We're always working after practice and hitting the weights later than everyone else. He and I have the same tough, blue-collar mindset to outwork everyone else. He's a guy that I look up to. I've always been a fan of Brady Poppinga, as well. He played at BYU and for the Packers as a 3-4 linebacker. He's a guy that I still call to this day for advice. He's a good family guy and a good person as well."
- Ryan Evans