If you think Vince Biegel, pass-rushing Godzilla, is a yappy camper, that’s nothing.
You should see Vince Biegel, pass-rushing coach.
“Even when he’s not in practice or in the game,” Wisconsin linebacker Garret Dooley chuckled when asked about Biegel, the Badgers’ injured defender, “he’s always chattering.”
Watch the screen.
Let me show you something.
You got this! You got this!
“He’s watching us every minute of practice,” said Dooley, the 6-foot-3, 247-pound junior who’s been charged with helping to replace Biegel at outside linebacker while the latter recovers from foot surgery. “He’s basically like another coach out there.
“If there are any corrections that need to be made with me or T.J. (Watt) or any of the younger guys, he’ll definitely help us. Even with Vince not out there practicing with us, he’s in the mindset.”
So, basically, in your head.
“Yeah, definitely,” Dooley said.
The day after a grinding, draining 14-7 loss at No. 4 Michigan on Oct. 1, Biegel was back in the meeting room, helping his fellow linebackers break down film. And to offer pointer after pointer after pointer. Dude.
“Vince has played in big games, and he can help guys that maybe haven’t,” Badgers coach Paul Chryst told reporters this week. “Vince gives you emotion. He gives you energy. He’ll do all that. He may not play, but he’s invested in this group, and so he’ll do whatever he can to try to help the group.”
Even if it means bending their ears until they bleed. Dooley gets the bulk of it, having already deputized for Biegel up in Ann Arbor and given that he’s likely to make his second start in No. 47’s usual outside linebacker slot Saturday night against No. 2 Ohio State.
“I was kind of nervous going into that (Michigan) game,” Dooley recalled, “and he kind of helped me keep my head, and (work through) it. That was a big help for me.”
And if there were butterflies, it sure as heck didn’t show. Dooley was credited with seven tackles at Michigan, five unassisted, a sack and a quarterback hurry. Pro Football Focus handed the Illinois native the fifth-highest grade among Wisconsin defenders that afternoon (77.9), trailing only inside linebacker Jack Cichy (86.8), safeties Leo Musso (82.1) and D’Cota Dixon (81.6) and defensive end Chikwe Obasih (78.0).
In fact, on the whole, it looked largely as if the Badgers’ defense hadn’t missed a beat. The last week in September, Biegel underwent surgery to repair a fractured bone in his foot, a procedure that was expected to put him out anywhere from two to four weeks. The middle of October makes it officially a fortnight, so Coach Biegel could get the green light to lace ’em up any day now.
Of course, recovery timetables can be unpredictable — something Dooley knows as well anyone. Coming to Wisconsin as an inside linebacker in 2013, he injured his right knee during the preseason and wound up getting redshirted. The Illinois native was moved to defensive end, then re-injured the same knee again the following spring.
Perhaps, it’s no wonder one of Dooley’s new favorite songs is “Numb” by Linkin Park, a tune suggested by fellow teammate and edge rusher T.J. Watt and now a fixture on his pregame, get-hyped playlist:
“It’s a nice song to listen to,” Dooley explained. “Before the game I (was) listening to them and I thought it was good, so I’ll probably keep that on my game-day playlist. (It’s) pretty much the beat. And I guess I like the intensity of the song.”
Chester Bennington in one ear, Coach Biegel in the other.
“He kind of helps me keep my head,” Dooley said. “He said that I’ve been in this situation before, that I’ve played in these big-time games. And that’s something that really helps me execute.”