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Wisconsin defense retools at OLB this spring, but set inside

From FOX Sports - April 11, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP)Its barely a few weeks into spring and T.J. Edwards is already thinking about the first weekend of December.

Back for his senior season after testing his NFL draft stock, the All-American linebacker would like to finish an already impressive career at Wisconsin with an elusive accomplishment.

A national title would be nice. Winning the Big Ten Championship game would give the Badgers a better shot at claiming that crown.

The part that gets me every time is we cant win the (darn) Big Ten championship, so that hurts, Edwards said. Just going back to Indianapolis is something that sticks in my brain.

The Badgers have lost the last two conference championship games. To get to Indianapolis again, they have to win the Big Ten West. To do that, they need to restock the defense.

Inside linebacker is set with standouts Edwards, Ryan Connelly and Chris Orr. The outside needs work this spring, though.

They need two new starters at the position for a second straight year. Andrew Van Ginkel seems locked into one spot after serving as the top backup last year to Garret Dooley and Leon Jacobs. A defensive back as a senior in high school, Van Ginkel played defensive end in his first year of college at FCS school South Dakota before attending Iowa Western Community College the following year.

Now hes at linebacker with the Badgers. Rushing the passer should not be a problem after Van Ginkel recorded 6 1/2 sacks.

This spring, Van Ginkel has to get used to being the guy that the offense must watch all game long. Hes also working on pass coverage again.

Ive come a long ways, Van Ginkel said.

Hes off to a good start after getting interceptions in the Orange Bowl against Miami, and in the Big Ten title game against Ohio State.

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