Oglesby handles nerves, OSU

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoIt has been a rough couple of weeks for fans of the Wisconsin Badgers, as the football team has suffered back-to-back defeats in heartbreaking fashion. Two conference losses by a combined five points is a tough pill to swallow. Although it may be hard to point out positives in UW’s recent performances, Badger fans have reason to be excited as offensive tackle Josh Oglesby is poised to make his presence known.The Wisconsin football program preaches the “next man in” philosophy, and Oglesby now knows how important that lesson really is. Oglesby, a redshirt freshman, was thrust into action Saturday against the Ohio State Buckeyes. After starting left tackle Gabe Carimi sustained an injury and was forced to leave the game, Oglesby was the next man in for UW.“I’m not going to lie; I was pretty nervous when I stepped out there on the field,” Oglesby said.Oglesby had plenty of reasons to be nervous; he entered a night game in a packed stadium that was nationally televised, not to mention he was lining up against last season’s Big Ten champions.Apparently, Oglesby’s teammates noticed the nervousness in the tackle.“They said they’ve never seen someone’s eyes so big,” said Oglesby.One of those teammates was senior offensive lineman Eric Vanden Heuvel, who plays the other tackle position. Vanden Heuvel also dealt firsthand with the “next man in” philosophy and used the experience he gained to prepare Oglesby.“When I was a freshman, I went through the same thing when Joe Thomas went down in the bowl game,” Vanden Heuvel said. “I told him you have got to be ready to go because you could be one play away from starting.”Despite the pressure surrounding Oglesby in his first game, he seemed to fit in right away. In fact, he did not allow a sack, effectively paving the way for the Wisconsin running attack.“I thought he played amazing,” Vanden Heuvel said. “He was a little nervous at first, but after a few plays he played like he belonged out there.”“Josh Oglesby did not miss a beat when he popped in there at left tackle,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “I was very proud of the way he competed and the way he showed up, ready to play.”This was a highly anticipated debut for Badger fans and the program as a whole. Oglesby was one of the most highly-regarded recruits to commit to UW, as he was the top offensive lineman prospect in the 2006 class. Numerous high-profile programs were in the running for the 6-foot-7-inch and 328-pound tackle, but in the end, the Milwaukee native chose to stay in the state.“I came here to play in big-time games, to win Big Ten titles, and to play in national championships,” Oglesby said.The prized recruit set high goals for himself and his team, but the coaching staff felt Oglesby needed a redshirt year to learn and improve before cracking the starting lineup. Sitting out a year was not easy for Oglesby, but it played a vital role in his development as a football player.“The redshirt year was one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” Oglesby said. “It allowed me to practice my skills against some of our best players.”After a year of improving, Oglesby now seems ready for the stiff competition he will face in the Big Ten. His debut against Ohio State was the first step, and Oglesby is well aware that with each coming week the expectations and the pressure on a prized recruit will continue to grow.But that simply serves as a motivating force for the offensive tackle.“I accept the [pressure], and I use it to motivate me, to make me be better,” Oglesby said.Oglesby and the Badgers will now turn their attention toward the sixth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, a team that physically dominated UW last season. Although the status of starting left tackle Gabe Carimi is still unknown, Oglesby is sure to play a large role in Saturday’s game. Even if he does not see any more starts this season, Oglesby is fine with whatever role he is given.“I’m ready to do whatever the team needs me to do,” Oglesby said.last_img

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