Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Wisconsin junior center Peter Konz says he is ready to go for the 98th Rose Bowl this Monday against No.6 Oregon. When it comes to the NFL, the All American is still on the fence. That decision, like the one to come to Wisconsin, may come down to his mother.

LOS ANGELES - As Peter Konz went through the recruiting process, UW coach Bret Bielema knew how big the upside was for the kid from Neenah, a reason why he offered Konz early in the process. He also knew how badly Konz's mother, Margaret, wanted her son to stay close to home, but wasn't going to force her son into a choice he didn't want to make.

So in order for both to get their way, Bielema suggested Margaret sweeten the pot for her son if he committed to Wisconsin.

"I really played up to mom (to) maybe put a carrot in front of him," Bielema said. "She said if he committed to Wisconsin, she'd take him on a trip, maybe a cruise of something … I don't know if they ever took that cruise."

It wasn't a cruise, but a trip to anywhere in the continental United States. With another big decision coming up on the radar, there's a possibility that Margaret Konz could bring out another tempting offer if her son decides to bypass the NFL for one more season.

"I wish she would," Konz said laughing. "When I was a kid in baseball, she said she would give me $100 if I hit one of the houses across the street. The closest I came was hitting a rusty truck."

The first mission is to get healthy, which Konz has evidentially accomplished. After missing the last three games with a dislocated ankle and going down to Charlotte, N.C., last week to get a second opinion, Konz went through an abbreviated practice Tuesday at the Home Depot Center, a practice where Bielema reported no problems and cautious optimism that UW will have its entire top line against No.6 Oregon in the 98th Rose Bowl Monday.

"He's a kid that's going to have an (NFL) opportunity," Bielema said. "He's got a lot big things in front of him, whenever they happen."

That's one of the reasons why during Wisconsin's bye week on the weekend of Oct.8, Bielema brought Konz and his mom in to discuss his NFL future. It breaks from his normal routine of typically just having that discussion with his seniors, but UW's head coach wasn't blind to the fact that NFL personnel have been inquiring about Konz and agents have been reaching out to him.

"He just wanted to make sure that I didn't fall into the trap where I had to pick an agent or declare right now," Konz said. "I am setting myself in a position where I don't have to stay, but I don't have to leave either. He wanted to make sure that I had the facts straight.

"I feel more comfortable that this isn't something I have to decide right away. When you make a decision that is going to affect the rest of your life, you don't want to make the decision hastily."

Konz admits that he is 100 percent on the fence and hasn't made a decision either way as to whether to stay or to test the NFL waters. If he does go, it would be hard to fault him. Not only was he named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and Pro Football Weekly despite missing three games, Konz is scheduled to graduate in the spring with a degree in radio and television communications.

If he stays, Konz would pursue graduate work by doing some field work and stressed the decision is not about the money, but about being the best lineman he can be.

"Right now, I just want to put that aside and focus," Konz said. "I just refer everything to my mom. She is my main person in this process. I don't want to have too much on my plate and those are unnecessary distractions right now. There will be plenty of time after the season to make those decisions. As of right now, I just want to play my best football. That's going to get me where I want to go."

There's no doubt that Wisconsin is a better unit with Konz in the mix. A finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in the nation, Konz has been a steady influence on an offense that has averaged 44.6 points per game and helped senior quarterback Russell Wilson and junior running back Montee Ball rake in the accolades.

"He's meant a lot," said Ball of Konz. "He's the leader up front for us. What he's capable of doing with his speed after he snaps the ball and being the first pull (lineman) out on the edge of the perimeter is pretty impressive."

For his high school commitment trip, Konz went to Tampa to watch the Badgers play in the 2008 Outback Bowl. Fans are hoping now that following the 2012 Rose Bowl, another trip is placed on the table to entice the glue of UW's offensive line to stick around for one more Rose Bowl run.

"My mom just wants me to do whatever I want to do," said Konz. "It's a hard decision. I want to wait at least a week after the bowl game so I can make sure I can take some time, reflect and make a sound decision."

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