Hearing the Message

After his first year on the starting offensive line under his belt, right tackle Josh Oglesby has overcome a knee surgery and, in his eyes, made solid strides heading into next season. From the eyes of the coaching staff, the junior has a lot more work to do to be an effective player during the 2010 season.

MADISON - Sitting in the locker room, Josh Oglesby apparently felt that he has a productive spring, especially considering he missed two games last season after recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Imagine his surprise when in the eyes of Head Coach Bret Bielema, Oglesby still needed to make major strides, and wasn't shy about calling him out.

"I saw a couple guys get beat on some easy moves that are elementary to football, so we're nowhere close," Bielema said after the spring game. "Josh Oglesby isn't close to being where he needs to be as a right tackle to win in this league with consistency."

Oglesby wasn't made available after the game but one offensive lineman said that Oglesby took the message to heart.

Appearing in 23 games the last two seasons with 13 starts, Oglesby, a five-star prospect and the top offensive tackle in the 2007 recruiting class by Scout.com, has been steadily improving throughout his tenure at Wisconsin, something he acknowledged to Badger Nation before the spring game and something Bielema drove home in his post game press conference.

Badger Nation: Can you talk about the knee injury against Indiana, when the pain became unbearable and fighting your way back into the lineup?

Josh Oglesby: I think right after it happened, it was pretty painful, but I thought I would be able to work back into the swing of things. During that next prep week, I just couldn't see myself going and the pain got worse. I sat down with the doctors and I decided to get the surgery now so that I would have time to recover and be able to play in the bowl game.

Badger Nation: How important was it for you to get back in time and contribute?

Josh Oglesby: It meant a lot to me because it proved to myself that I am able to fight through certain things. Being able to contribute to the team in a big victory meant a lot to me. I hoped it meant the same to my teammates.

Badger Nation: In terms of growth, was last year the best year you have had since you earned a starting position and seemed to find your niche to a degree?

Josh Oglesby: Definitely. You can only learn so much by taking practice reps. The speed of the game is hard to simulate. I think that was the biggest learning curve for me, just learning the speed of the game and the strength of the game. To be able to go against the defensive ends that I did in the Big Ten and in practice, I think that was a huge boost for my confidence and my learning.

Badger Nation: You told me in the past that you have paid a lot of attention to Gabe Carimi. He's going into his last year. Can you tell that he is determined to instill an aggressive attitude in this offensive line?

Josh Oglesby: It's evident that Gabe is a great player. He's got a certain demeanor when he steps on to the field for a game or for practice. I think if all of us could take away what he brings to the field and have that as a whole unit, we'll be one of the best in the country.

Badger Nation: You are both Wisconsin guys but you aren't as vocal as he is. Can you still feel a lot of younger guys starting to look up to you?

Josh Oglesby: It doesn't seem like I have been here that long, but I do like to give the younger guys the feeling that they can come and ask me about certain things and different schemes in the offense. I do like to lead by example because I was able to start last year and I want to set the bar for the guys behind.

Badger Nation: Who has come up and talked to you and who are you trying to point in the right direction?

Josh Oglesby: Now that Ricky Wagner has moved to right tackle, I have been trying to help him out because he was exclusively at left tackle before. Ricky is a great athlete and you can't be complacent at any position here because it's so competitive. You have great guys from No.1 all the way down through the depth chart. He's definitely pushing me and inspiring me to raise my level of play.

I have been helping Ryan Groy at the guard position with different calls that we have. Our offensive line is like a family. Guys pop things off different guys all the time.

Badger Nation: I think any hint of complacency anyone has gets knocked out of one's head pretty quick by Coach Bostad, correct?

Josh Oglesby: (laughing) You are right. The minute you become complacent is the minute that you start to lose that edge that you have.

Badger Nation: You obviously wanted to get your knee healthier and stronger, but what were some of the things you worked on during winter conditioning to prepare for the upcoming season?

Josh Oglesby: It's been a huge transformation with me with Coach Herbert and even Coach Vanden Heuvel. We've been trying to get my strength levels higher and higher and I feel like I have made big gains in the weight room. I think that's going to translate into big gains on the field.

Badger Nation: Does it help having a coach (Eric Vanden Heuvel) that was not only a former player but someone who played your position coaching you every day? Is the message a little different compared to other people?

Josh Oglesby: Definitely. He knows all the little tricks and nuisances to the game because he played the right tackle position. I was able to learn from him while he played here and now I have the ability to learn from him after he is a little bit older and wiser. It's a tremendous opportunity for me. Vandy is a great guy and he has definitely been a big help.

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