Konz Cleared and Ready

Medically cleared and working to get back into football form, sophomore lineman Peter Konz is happy to be back and training for the 2010 season.

MADISON - Watching his teammates grind away during spring practice while he stood handicapped on the sideline, Peter Konz felt like he was locked in prison isolation.

Unable to compete in anything strenuous and only workout by himself under supervision, Konz was getting tired of being limited by the blood clots found in his lungs in December, costing him the final two games of the season and all of spring.

"I didn't feel like I was even part of the team," Konz said. "I felt separated."

So when he was finally paroled and cleared on June 4 to resume full-contact work with no restrictions, the burden had finally been lifted.

"It was about time," Konz said with a laugh of relief. "I was anxious to get that six months (off) over. I called my mom because she is the worrier and then got back to work, which was good because I was getting bored."

Konz was able to put the time to get use, adding 15 pounds to bring his weight up to 313 pounds, but felt that he had been bypassed on the depth chart. Imagine his surprise when Konz started the first day of camp on Monday with the top line at center.

"I've had to play catch up a little bit, so now it's a matter of putting all that technique together," Konz said.

Konz, who took over as the starting center in Week 3 last season after Travis Frederick suffered an ankle injury, has certainly been given the benefit of the doubt to come back and earn his job, a far cry from where he was projected last year.

Working primarily behind right tackle Josh Oglesby during the 09 spring, Konz was planning on competing with the sophomore for playing time last fall. After incumbent center John Moffitt's freak weightlifting injury that sidelined him for most of camp, Konz was shifted to the center position to provide depth.

That moved proved vital when Frederick suffered an ankle injury in the opening quarter against Fresno State in week two, as Konz filled in and kept his job until his problem in Hawaii. With Konz now cleared and senior guard Bill Nagy fully recovered from his moped accident last summer, the Badgers have seven offensive linemen in camp with starting experience.

"We have options and anytime you have options, it makes your team a little bit better," Konz said. "When I think of the offense line, I really don't think of one guy. It might be cliché, but I think of us as one group. We're all on track and if we are all doing right things, I consider that our goal."

Although its one group, his defensive line counterparts signal out the redshirt sophomore from Neenah as a player that had made the tremendous strides in such a short time frame.

"He brings it every play," defensive tackle Jordon Kohout said of Konz. "I remember going against him on scout team and him having a few problems. Now, you don't see it anymore. He's the same Peter Konz he was in the fall – first-team All-Freshman All-American."

Konz doesn't feel like an All-American yet, admitting to not being in football shape and still getting used to the heat wave the campus has experienced. From where he was a couple months ago, he'll take whatever he can give.

"I just want to give 100 percent because if you do that, everything goes along with it," Konz said. "You may mess up on something, but the next time you know you are going to do it right because you have seen it before. If you work hard, everything else comes with it."

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