August 18, 2010

Oglesby using competition as fuel

MADISON - Following the conclusion of April's spring game, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema didn't mince words when it came to the play of junior offensive lineman Josh Oglesby.

"Josh Oglesby isn't close to where he needs to be as a right tackle to win in this league with consistency," Bielema exclaimed following the game. "I know he's going to take it upon himself."

Now, with the summer in the rearview, Oglesby, who heard the comment and used it as fuel, says the summer went very well.

"It's definitely motivation," Oglesby said Tuesday afternoon following the team's only practice. "That's just his way of trying to push me to get to where I should be and expects me to be."

But has it worked?

"It definitely put me in a step towards the right direction," Oglesby said. "I'm just trying to come out here and get better everyday."

Up front, the Badgers have a stable of seven guys that have either played as a starter or have the ability to start on the line. Though the left side is secure with Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt handling their business, the middle and left side could be in a state of flux with injuries and inconsistent play surfacing.

Peter Konz is playing plenty at center, but behind him is Travis Frederick that started each of UW's first two games a year ago before a sprained ankle hampered his progress.

Kevin Zeitler, who was a stalwart at right guard has been sidelined since Saturday with a sprained ankle. Bill Nagy, who entered fall camp on the same line as Zeitler is filling in his void.

Then there's Oglesby.

Arguably the most inconsistent player on the line, Oglesby acknowledged he feels Ricky Wagner nipping on his heels behind him.

"There's never a time where you can feel complacent," Oglesby said. "Everyday you've got to come out and earn your keep."

So for a player that has drawn the ire of his head coach for not being "anywhere near where he needs to be," what needs to be the primary focus?

"It's not so much (about) proving myself to other people," Oglesby said. "It's taking one thing every day to get better at and pick one day to come out and work on this and the next day to come out and work on that.

"Eventually you'll put it all together."

But for a player that is entering his fourth season in the program, the time has got to come sooner rather than later. Knowing that, Oglesby is primarily focused on his pass sets and pad level.

A week and a half through camp, it seems to be coming along to the liking of Oglesby's standards.

"Things are definitely getting better," he said. "That's all you can do. Just try to get better everyday."

Following a summer where Oglesby was able to fully participate in conditioning workouts without suffering a setback to his knees or any other body part, the time is now for the starting right tackle to put the pieces together.

"It's huge competition," Oglesby said. "That's what's driving us to get better as a unit. Guys are pushing people in front of them and guys are trying to keep the guys behind them off your heels."

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