Big Ten: Tom Burke
October, 15, 2009
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
After Wednesday's practice, Wisconsin defensive end O'Brien Schofield was having a hard time charging his cell phone.
"Aw, man, terrible," Schofield said. "You know phone chargers these days die out real fast."
|David Stluka/Icon SMI|
|Changing positions from linebacker to defensive end has worked out for O'Brien Schofield (50) and the Wisconsin Badgers.|
Fortunately for the Badgers, the same can't be said for Schofield. His battery is fully charged this season, and he provides a major jolt to the Wisconsin defense every time he steps on the field.
After a fairly quiet career, Schofield has been the Big Ten's biggest surprise on defense this fall, not to mention one of the nation's true breakout performers. The senior from Great Lakes, Ill., leads the nation in tackles for loss with 14.5, 2.5 more than any other defender, and leads the Big Ten with 6.5 sacks, 2 more than anyone else. Schofield has recorded at least 2.5 tackles for loss in four games and could challenge Tom Burke's amazing single-season school record of 31.5 tackles for loss in 1998.
Not bad for a guy who entered the season with only five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in 31 games during his first three seasons.
"Did I expect it? Yes. Did I know it was really going to happen? Didn't really know until we saw the bullets start flying," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said. "He's playing as high a level as anybody that I've been around since I've been here at Wisconsin.
"To be leading the nation in tackles for loss, that doesn't just come about by luck. He worked very hard to get there."