By Tom Lea
It's remarkable when you look back at the historical progression of Josh Oglesby's latest ACL injury. The first tear, albeit minor, occurred in the season opener at UNLV when an opposing player's helmet wound up striking the side of his knee. Oglesby, though, returned for the next play not knowing what had just happened to that area of his leg. With the game fully in control, he did sit the remainder of the contest. When he returned the following week against San Jose State, it was all she wrote. The entire knee gave out and he was unfortunately forced to sit out the remainder of what turned out to be a Big Ten championship season.
Now, as the 2011 season gradually inches closer, the biggest question mark on what should be another strong offensive line circles around the right tackle position. Oglesby was extremely limited in spring camp and was unable to participate in many team drills, if any. That, in essence, opened the door for younger players like Rob Havenstein and Casey Dehn to make an impression that would last throughout the summer and into fall camp. The right tackle position was open for grabs, at least the two deep was open for what turned out to be a competitive spring camp.
That's where things get a little bit interesting and where the importance of a healthy Oglesby comes into play. Look, if for nothing else, Oglesby offers a veteran presence of quality play that both younger players are capable of but aren't close to imitating. Both Dehn and Havenstein made progress throughout spring camp, but neither were playing at a level consistent with what a healthy Oglesby is capable of.
Again, the offensive line at Wisconsin, with starting experience at every other returning spot, will be the strength of Paul Chryst's offense yet again. Should Oglesby regain the needed strength in his knee, the Badgers offensive line will have another opportunity to be a top two or three line in the Big Ten. If he's not healthy or proves to be timid when he makes his return to the field, the line will be functional. Will it be as good as it would be with him at full health, though? Maybe not.
UP NEXT: No. 21 on our list is a player that initially started off in the defensive backfield but has since flourished at a new position. Will he earn a starting spot in 2011?