Overcoming the Doubt

Battered and beaten by the rigors of fall camp, freshman Jordan Kohout has gone through a transformation in four months. Bigger, stronger and able to hold his own against the UW's offensive line, Kohout has his eyes squarely set on a starting position on UW's 2010 defensive line.

MADISON - It was easy to see the frustration written over Jordan Kohout's face as he exited the field on the final week of fall camp. Once the biggest baddest force on Waupun High's defensive line, Kohout was humbled by the overwhelming talent on the Division 1 level, seeing his aspiration of having playing time slip away after each passing a week.

Four months on the scout team has renewed his spirit, which can easily be seen in the way Kohout carries himself today.

"After fall camp, I had a little bit of a leg issue and that was frustrating," Kohout said. "I got healthy and everything and things seemed to start pick up as the season went along. I got myself better from that point in camp, and to be able to play healthy really allows you to open up, play to the best of your ability and take the techniques they are coaching you on instead of worrying about your leg getting slammed."

Not only as Kohout gotten healthier, he has gotten bigger. Adding what he estimates to be between 10 and 15 pounds of muscle and maxing out his squat at 540 pounds and his bench reps at 22 reps at 225 pounds, Kohout's ability to maintain his strength through the injury, what he calls a major surprise, and the scout team is a testament to Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Herbert.

"Herb has always got new ideas and new things he's telling me about," Kohout said. "He makes it fun. We do tire flipping up here and he bought a bunch of new sleds for us to work with. He has all these great, fresh new ideas and he's able to change it up and have your body react positively to that. You do the same old repetitive lifting and your body plateaus."

The new added strength has allowed Kohout to make the biggest strides of all the young defensive tackles, according to position coach Charlie Partridge, who will have to replace two of its top three tackles, seniors Jeff Stehle and Dan Moore, and reserves Jordan Hein and Dan Cascone.

"I talk to Schofield quite a bit about what it's going to take and especially being a young guy on scout team, it's nice to see a guy that worked his way up to where he is now," Kohout said. "Those guys bring something to the table every single day – hard effort on every single play."

The other big assist to Kohout, who got the benefit of participating during spring football, has been his time working on the scout team. While he hasn't had the opportunity to learn Wisconsin's defense, the opportunity to go up against UW's veteran offensive line has done more to refine his skills than all the hours he's spent in the weight room.

"When I first got here, I was getting blown up because I didn't know what to do," Kohout said. "Now going against the ones, I can hold my own and do some things pretty well, like hold double teams pretty well. Playing against the ones all the time gives you the attitude of what college football is really like and how much effort you have to give on every play. You need to have toughness every play."

Since the start of the season, the only thing that has slowed down Kohout was a minor concussion in the early parts of the season. Turning from the biggest guy on the field to a compact 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle, Kohout, according to Partridge, has been able to use his height to his advantage and made solid strides into changing his style of play to be effective at the college level.

With the void being left by the seniors, Kohout has a chance during bowl preparation to show the coaches that his style could be a real asset come the 2010 season opener.

"It's great to get some developmental at the end of the season working with the twos," Kohout said. "Coach Partridge told me I am the most ready of the defensive tackles, but I want to keep it that way. I want to keep working hard, improving and getting better. I want to be able to contribute significantly next year."

"Being part of this whole experience, I never imagined what it would be like running out of the tunnel for the first time and that was quite the experience … I want to start and I am so dedicated and focused to that. I want it so bad right now."

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