Adapting After Recovering

Two years after tearing his ACL, redshirt freshman Josh Oglesby is back to 100 percent and is looking to make a push for the starting right tackle position.

MADISON - In a matter of seconds, Josh Oglesby saw everything he worked for flash before his eyes.

Tabbed the top offensive tackle in the country in 2006 and a five-star recruit by Scout Media and earned All-America and all-state honors as a junior in 2005, Oglesby tore his ACL in his fourth game of his senior year at St. Francis and missed the rest of the season. A dominant run blocker in a run oriented offense with a tremendous frame and outstanding footwork, Oglesby thought that his knee would never be the same.

Two years removed and not only is Oglesby back to his old self, he has started to adapt to the college game, a thought that makes Wisconsin fans gleeful and the opposition fearful.

Having a very successful spring camp and continuing to adapt his pass blocking skills, something that he has struggled with throughout his career, Oglesby is looking to push incumbent starter Eric Vandenheuvel for the starting right tackle position and, as he told Badger Nation, is going through the most important spring of his career.

BN: A lot of people take the offseason to get away from football for a little while and relax but I heard you were pretty busy in the off season trying to get in shape and get healthy. Can you talk about what you did to focus in on spring football?

Josh Oglesby: I took my offseason as not even being an offseason. I felt that missing my entire senior season, I had to basically play catch up with everyone else. So I used what I had as a redshirt year basically as my senior year to prepare for college.

BN: Well in that sense, how was your senior year rehabilitating, getting stronger and healthier?

Josh Oglesby: It was, I guess you can say kind of a scary time because you have a major injury while everyone else is at full strength. I don't know. I guess my senior year was like you said, rehabbing and trying to get back.

BN: When that injury happened, what were you initial thoughts and reactions to what this would do to your college career?

Josh Oglesby: When we first went and found out that I tore my ACL, my family and I sat down and talked about it and we were like, ‘Well, now it's about getting back to being able to play football.' Not whether you'd be able to play next year or not but just being able to get back to play whenever.

BN: How did the Wisconsin coaching staff try and help you through that process?

Josh Oglesby: You know, as soon as they found out, they were behind me 100 percent. They encouraged me and my family that everything was going to be all right, reassuring us that it happens to multiple people and they all go on to have great success careers.

BN: Do you feel 100 percent now or you still trying to get back to that level?

Josh Oglesby: I feel that I am 100 percent right now. Every now and then there's a little reoccurring pain but I guess that's going to happen with any major knee surgery.

BN: Getting back to almost 100 percent after missing a whole year, how are you approaching these spring practices and the spring game to be able to get out there to show that your knee strong and what talents that you bring?

Josh Oglesby: I think its one of the most important and most crucial times of my whole career right now. Now that I am able to be out on the field with guys who have played multiple games, starters in the Big Ten conference and being able to show that I can hold my own against them really shows the coaches why they brought me here.

BN: Do you feel that you are holding your own so far?

Josh Oglesby: In certain aspects of the game I am but with everyone else, I have to get better. I have to get better in a lot of areas. Obviously, my pass protection has been my biggest pitfall ever since I was high school. Our high school never really threw the ball so I never had many reps at it. That's what I have been trying to work on that the most.

BN: What's been the biggest change between blocking at this level and the high school level? What's the one thing that made you step back and go ‘Whoa, this is totally different'?

Josh Oglesby: The fact that you basically have running backs at defensive end (laughing). Guys that could run sub 4.5 40s coming around the corner and you have cut them off basically.

BN: When you look at this veteran offensive line, I take it you have absorbed a lot of information and knowledge from these guys. What are some things that you have learned from these seniors?

Josh Oglesby: So many things. Just basically everything. They act as coaches for me. They help me with my technique. When we first started running plays, if I had a question, I would go to them and they would explain it. Some people say it's better to learn from players than from coaches because players know how it is. They have helped a tremendous amount.

BN: Has there been a big change with Bob Bostad now running the offensive line or has it been smooth since he was here last year?

Josh Oglesby: He's been real fluid. He's an excellent coach. He's an excellent teacher and he's a great guy, too.

BN: You talk about all the athletes that are running off the end, you are going to be blocking for some pretty good athletes in the back field. Talk about the running backs and what has really opened your eyes about these eyes?

Josh Oglesby: These are some of the best backs in the country. Like I've said before, having those guys in the backfield makes our job a whole lot easier. We definitely have a stable of running backs at Wisconsin.

BN: Do you feel you are in a position now that you can compete for a starting job at the tackle position or do you feel that you are another year away from earning a job?

Josh Oglesby: As a player, you always have to feel that a starting job is within your grasp. You have to stay hungry and not become stagnate. I am going to push and push and push to show the coaches what I can do and hopefully get them thinking about me. But Vandy (Eric Vandenheuvel) is a great player. He's played multiple seasons here, he's a strong, great athlete. It's going to be a challenge either way.

BN: In your opinion, why don't offensive linemen get any respect? Why are you guys the ‘unsung hero' so to speak of the offense?

Josh Oglesby: I mean, look at us (laughing). Without us, nobody scores but it's because we don't score, we don't get the big hit, they don't announce our names for anything. You never hear over the loud speaker ‘Oglesby with the AMAZING block' but you'll hear ‘Oglesby misses the block to give up the huge sack.' I don't know. I guess we're just expected to do what we do.

BN: Lastly, this offense with a veteran line, a veteran quarterback, talented running backs and big Travis Beckum, how explosive, solid could this offense be if you continue to progress heading to fall camp the way it has been so far?

Josh Oglesby: I think with Coach Chryst as our offensive coordinator, this offense could be one of the best offenses in the country. If you just look at the depth that we have at our wide receiver position, the running back position, some great quarterbacks and, like you said, our offensive line has been put together for awhile now, we really have a chance to do some great things.

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