April 9, 2009

Oglesby playing with more intensity

MADISON, Wis. - For Josh Oglesby, getting bigger has never been a problem. The fact that he chose football as a sport of interest growing up was a fairly obvious one to make, because his body was simply made for it.

At St. Francis high school outside of Milwaukee, Oglesby was always the biggest and best lineman on the field at any given time.

"I remember the first time I met Josh, he was 6-foot-4, 320 pounds and he was 15 years old," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said. "He's always been bigger than everybody else."

That is, of course, until he became a member of the UW football team. In high school, the massive Oglesby stood out and above the rest. As a Badger, the sophomore right tackle looks like just another guy, maybe a little taller, on an offensive line that stands well over six feet and 300 pounds on average.

And with the majority of spring ball now in the books, Oglesby has fallen into a positional battle that many did not see coming at the beginning of spring camp with Peter Konz.

"It's been a battle," Oglesby said. "It's all about competition and just getting yourself revved up for every practice."

Last week, Oglesby saw Konz overtake him with the starting group after the burly sophomore was battling through inconsistencies at right tackle. But Oglesby responded to the surprising demotion by returning for the next practice and performing at an extremely high level, perhaps his best practice as a Badger.

Now, this week, Oglesby has been secure at the No. 1 right tackle spot.

"(It's) just playing with that pissed off mentality," Oglesby said. "Not pissed at the coaches, but pissed at myself for letting it happen."

During UW's most recent practice, that emotion was spilled out on the field as Oglesby, who has long been regarded as being too passive on the field, got into a bit of a scrum with defensive end O'Brien Schofield.

The fire shown in that instance was so far out of the norm from Oglesby, that it incited some hooting and hollering from the defense, encouraging Oglesby to play like that on regular occasion.

"Lots of time's I'll step in and intercede when I see a little spirited activity going on," Bielema said. "But today (Tuesday) when I saw that going on with Josh and OB, I didn't stop anything.

"It was intriguing to me to see how the kids reacted. There were defensive players yelling at Josh that that was a good thing, to keep it going."

For Oglesby, a former five-star recruit, the talent he has or is capable of enduring is seemingly limitless. He has plenty of size, it's just a matter of funneling that intensity to the practice field everyday.

"I guess it's difficult for me because I've never had to have it," he said. "I've always been the biggest and strongest in high school and things like that.

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