Lucas at Large: Resilient Oglesby keeps on grinding

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UW offensive tackle Josh Oglesby, helmet in hand, dropped to one knee on the sidelines after completing some post-practice conditioning with his teammates Thursday at Camp Randall Stadium.

Pausing to catch his breath and collect himself (all 330 pounds of himself), Oglesby then bounced back up on his feet; like he has done so many times following six knee surgeries during his football career.

"I'm a little sore,'' said Oglesby, a fifth-year senior from Milwaukee.

Had this been the toughest practice of the training camp thus far?

"It was one of the toughest,'' Oglesby said. "There were a lot of reps, a lot of full-speed game reps; then, of course, at the end that's always a little tough (running from one goal line to the other).''

"But you just have to keep going because you know the guys are counting on you and you can't be the guy who lets everybody down.''

It's hard to imagine anyone training harder than the offensive line. Perception or truth?

"There's no rest for the wicked,'' Oglesby answered with a big smile on his face.

Asked about the high tempo of practice, he said, "That's the nature of the game. There could be a sudden change (a turnover, for example) and you'd have to go out there and just go.''

Thursday's workout lasted nearly three hours; highlighted by a scrimmage that included Big Ten officials. "By making practices harder,'' Oglesby pointed out, "the games become easier.''

Much earlier, some two-plus hours earlier, UW offensive line coach Bob Bostad had called everybody up during a feisty one-on-one drill with the defensive line.

Bostad's face was red, his language was blue, his message was clear.

"He wanted us to stay competitive,'' Oglesby said, "but he reminded us that we were going against our own guys (teammates) and we had to make sure we didn't do anything stupid.''

Oglesby admitted that the grind of camp has begun to wear on everyone. "When you see the same person every day (across from you),'' he said, "things get a little edgy.''

Surprisingly, there have been few confrontations or fights this fall.

"Last year it seemed like it was breaking out every day,'' said Oglesby, adding that he even got involved once or twice; which was a little out of character.

"But our practice energy has been pretty good this year and a lot of people haven't felt the need to get one going.''

All in all, Oglesby had to be proud of "getting through'' Thursday's practice. Or not?

"The point is not to get through it,'' he said. "The point is to get better.''

With some satisfaction, he added, "I think I did today. It was my second time taking game speed reps since hurting my knee. Anytime I can do that, it makes me a better player.''

Oglesby admitted that he was still in the process of "trusting my knee'' and there was much to be encouraged about. "I'm close to being back to form'' he said. "For the most part.''

Over the last week or so, Oglesby has been getting a majority of the reps at right offensive tackle in the absence of redshirt freshman Robbie Havenstein, who has been sidelined with an injury.

Havenstein has been pushing Oglesby and Oglesby has been pushing Havenstein.

The competition has been healthy for everyone on the O-line with the exception of right guard Kevin Zeitler, who still hasn't returned from an ankle injury. Ryan Groy has been holding down his spot.

Oglesby looked at his own progress and said, "Always room for improvement. I can never be complacent. I have to come out every day and realize I'm not where I want to be; I should be better.''

The Badgers will soon begin game-planning for their first opponent, UNLV.  "Everyone is looking forward to getting the season kicked off,'' Oglesby said. "But we have to get through this week first.''

Completing his media responsibilities, Oglesby headed for the cold tub to bring down his body temperature. That would be followed by ice on his knees, a shower, a message, training table, meetings.

"Then I'm going home,'' he said, "and going straight to bed.''

Two-a-days continue Friday.

ON WISCONSIN