LOS ANGELES - Until recently, Tyler Dippel's Wisconsin football bio read:
High motor. Coachable. Explosive athlete who spends more time on the sideline because of nagging injuries than he does in the defensive-line rotation.
No one was more frustrated with that description than Dippel, a redshirt junior defensive end from Hartford (Wis.) High School.
Finally I'm feeling really, really good, Dippel said recently.
The pain in his right foot, caused by an injury to the plantar fascia he suffered last spring, is gone.
His right ankle, sprained in camp, is sound.
The acromioclavicular (AC) joint in his left shoulder – which he injured Oct. 6 against Illinois, left him home for the Purdue game the next week and proved troublesome for most of the season – is pain-free.
The result: Dippel enjoyed his best game at Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game with two sacks and is eager to return to the field when the Badgers face No. 8 Stanford on Tuesday in the Rose Bowl.
Obviously no one is 100 percent at this point, he said. But as far as the things that were nagging me, we really focused on them and put a plan together to limit me on a few things at practice and it really helped.
In order to keep Dippel available and sharp for games this season, he sometimes was limited in practice. As the season progressed and his health improved, Dippel practiced more consistently but was held out of certain drills that would put strain on his shoulders.
During the season it was things like not hitting the sled, Dippel said, just stuff to take off a little wear and tear.
I'm going to do enough striking in team drills and working against the scouts.
It wasn't like I was limited too much. It was just that I was held out of drills. . . .
I have a whole bunch of stuff wrong with my shoulders. I've always been dealing with it.
Extra work in the weight room designed to strengthen Dippel's shoulders appears to have worked.
On both of Dippel's sacks in the 70-31 victory over Nebraska in the Big Ten title game, the 6-foot-4, 262-pounder exploded into a blocker, threw him aside and got to quarterback Taylor Martinez with ease.
Dippel's first sack came in the second quarter.
4:30 p.m. Jan. 1