Frederick will be competing in, not watching, Rose Bowl
In an experience that could be classified as a vacation for the Walworth native, Frederick got to partake in the celebration of his team making it to Pasadena for the first time in 11 seasons, got to pick his lavish gift (a large recliner) and got all the free steak he could stomach.
Frederick knew he wasn’t going to play against No. 3 TCU after deciding to redshirt prior to the season, so he enjoyed himself to the fullest, but made sure to watch and absorb the experience in case Wisconsin would make it back to a BCS environment in his final three seasons.
“I got to see how our team was going to do things and although things didn’t turn out our way, it gave me several lessons on how to do things,” Frederick said. “In the back of my head, I thought our team could get back to the Rose Bowl and learn from those lessons.”
Frederick’s hunch that UW could make it back to the Rose Bowl came true on Dec. 3 when the Badgers won their second consecutive Big Ten championship by beating Michigan State, giving them the opportunity to face off against No. 6 Oregon (11-2) in the 98th Rose Bowl on Monday.
Even better, Frederick, a consensus second team All-Big Ten selection, will start for No. 9 Wisconsin (11-2) at either left guard, where he started the season’s first 11 games, or at center, where he has started the last two games, depending on the health of junior Peter Konz’s left ankle.
“Computer science and computer engineering is a pretty good double major,” UW coach Bret Bielema said of Frederick’s two areas of study. “I think it does carry over on the field. He really has a grasp of what is going on around him all the time to be able to make the calls at the line of scrimmage. He’s pretty conscientious.”
Prime-time openers are nothing new for Frederick. Two years ago, Frederick became the first true freshman in school history to start a season opener, as he delivered all the snaps in the win over Northern Illinois.
Frederick started three more games that season but with the team having cultivated plenty of depth, Frederick redshirted to build his strength and not waste a year of eligibility as a backup.
“We didn’t get our full value with him his freshman year,” said Bob Bostad, UW’s offensive line coach. “Four games for him wasn’t enough. We didn’t promise him a redshirt, but we had a plan and hoped it would work.”
The plan was to have Frederick and right tackle Ricky Wagner take over for left guard John Moffitt and left tackle Gabe Carimi, respectively, when the two All-Americans graduated following the bowl game. This season, Bostad’s vision has come to fruition. Wagner moved seamlessly from right to left tackle and Frederick didn’t missed a beat, which helped UW rank fourth in the country with 44.6 points per game and 10th in the nation with 237.4 rushing yards per game.
“We did mesh well over the course of the year and it took a little time to get used to each other,” Frederick said of his communication with Wagner, a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten choice. “There are always little things you can work on, but I think we did well and it’s only going to benefit us next year. We’re going to make it better next year.”
Mentoring Frederick throughout his tenure, Moffitt helped Frederick focus on the details and perfecting the nuisances of what makes an offensive lineman successful. The result was Frederick transforming his body into a solid 330 pounds and eliminated excess fat. Frederick’s strength drew headlines in the spring when he squatted 730 pounds, which is a little more than the combined weight of UW’s first-team linebackers.
“He was an influence to me,” Frederick said of Moffitt. “That guy, when I sat back and watched him my last two years, he was a strong guy that worked hard in the weight room and influenced me to work hard.”
And because of that mindset, Frederick gets to enjoy all the benefits he experienced last season and compete for the school’s fourth Rose Bowl championship with a motivated group.
“We are a different team than we were last year,” Frederick said. “We aren’t any better, but we aren’t any worse. The personnel and the way we do things is a little different but the way that we approach things is very similar, and what benefits us most is us having been there last year, been through the experience and remembering that we didn’t come out on top.”