A Slap in the Face

Coming to Madison for spring football, first-year defensive tackle Jordan Kohout's transition from high school to college has been anything but easy. Kohout talks to Badger Nation about fall practices, the strides he's made and his plans for this upcoming season.

Wisconsin freshman defensive tackle Jordan Kohout -

Badger Nation: How did the summer treat you?

Jordan Kohout: Well, I got a lot stronger, a lot faster and bigger. I am up to 285 (pounds). When I got here, I was 268.

Badger Nation: Was spring football a cold, slap in the face for you, just trying to figure everything out with the defense?

Kohout: The first practice in pads was a big eye opener. I had never been put on my back like that before. In high school, I was always doing it to other guys. It was an eye opener and it was tough.

Badger Nation: Talk about the grind from day to day. Did it get any easier or did that slap resonate for awhile? Did it take you time to adjust?

Kohout: It took me a little while with school and being away. There were a lot of things compounding with being away from my family, friends and people I love. Trying to learn college football at the same time as going to school with harder classes, but you push through and I am stronger for it.

Badger Nation: Can you picture how this would be if you came in now instead of at semester?

Kohout: It's tough enough as it is. Now with camp, it's tough for everybody. The true freshmen have got to be … it's got to be an even harder slap in the face.

Badger Nation: You said you spent the summer bulking up, did you spend a lot of time watching film and trying to figure things out?

Kohout: I studied my playbook quite a bit. I got some film watching to study what I need to work on and everything like that. I had a problem in the spring of peaking. If I blocked the offensive lineman and start peaking, he would take me back. I am getting rid that now. I have really improved since spring just by studying the playbook. Our strike work that we have been doing with (Ben) Herb(ert) in the weight room has been great.

Badger Nation: Herb has got a lot of rave reviews, especially from the defensive linemen for keeping them low and having that first-strike capability. After just a couple weeks working with him, could you tell an immediate difference?

Kohout: Me and Patrick Butrym would always do one-on-one footwork to work on our steps and everything after workouts. We both say to each other, "Man I feel so much more explosive and so much more quick," and we really are. To Herb's credit, he's a great teacher, he's got great ideas, fresh ideas and he's a great person, too.

Badger Nation: Has this fall camp gone according to plan with you? What were your goals coming in here and have you achieved what you were hoping to achieve?

Kohout: You know, I came with the goal to work my hardest, work my best and keep my reputation as a guy that works his hardest on every play, and that's strong at the point of attack. I think I have done that. As far as redshirting or playing, I realty haven't focused on that too much. I wanted to come out, work hard, show them what I have and get better. That's all I wanted to do.

Bader Nation: Have you gotten any indication of what the coaching staff wants you to do or do you know what you to do?

Kohout: I have, actually. There was one time that I talked to Coach Partridge and he said I was pretty close to being activated and seeing some playing time. But at the same time, I have also heard about things about redshirting and Coach Bielema said he would recommend it. I think I might … you know, I don't know what's going to happen yet. I think I might, but whatever happens, happens.

Badger Nation: What's it need to take for you to look at the situation and be like, "Yeah, it would be worthwhile for me to play and be in there in different or situations?" Have you figured it out what more you would need to do for that?

Kohout: I think that I need to really work on my pass rush and start recognizing the pass more. I am a decent run defender. I get low, stick my head in things and try to keep my feet pounding. I am getting better at that. As far as my pass rush moves, I can do pretty good when we're doing one-on-one. When it comes to game situations, sometimes I can just get stuck in the bull rush or a certain move. I need to work on my pass rush, definitely.

Badger Nation: What is the biggest thing you have taken away from the upperclassmen from watching them from the first team?

Kohout: I always talk to Dan Moore and some of the other guys. I really respect them. The one thing I have really picked up from them if not playing it wise, having a short memory when it comes to mistakes. We all make mistakes, freshmen make more mistakes than some of the older guys. I get down on myself pretty easily with that. You just need to have a short memory, play the next play and be tough, fight through the aches, the bruises and the pain. Be tough and just play.

Badger Nation: As much as the frustration and the aches factor in, are you having the time of your life just being here and being in this program?

Kohout: I tell ya, it's an experience. It really is something else. I mean … there aren't many people that get to experience something like this. There are sometimes when all of us probably wish we were at home, go to sleep or sleep in late. Being here … it's just an experience I'll never forget. This camp has been kind of tough for me but down the road, it's going to make me a stronger person. It's a great experience.

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