MADISON - Early in the second half of Saturday's win over Ohio State, freshman defensive tackle Jordan Kohout suffered an injury that forced him into the locker room.
Though he returned and contributed to the Badgers upset later in that game, it seemed as though Kohout was pretty sore following the game. A number of days later, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the defensive lineman.
The following is a question and answer with Kohout.
What happened the other day with the injury and are you feeling pretty good right now?
Kohout: Oh yeah, actually it feels really good. It was just a little high ankle sprain. It's getting much better as the days go by. There's no doubt I'll play on Saturday.
Did you wrap it up in the game the other night when you went into the locker room?
Kohout: Yeah, we spatted and stuff like that after the injury happened. It will be all right and it will be fine. I'm happy with where it's at right now.
Is this game going to be won in the trenches?
Kohout: Yeah, I think it's definitely going to be a big factor in the game. Iowa has a very well coached offensive line, actually both their offensive and defensive line. We're kind of the same way. We've got a good defensive line and offensive line. I think we're very similar in the way that we try to do our thing the best we can. We're both respective of the philosophies of our team. I think it's really going to come down to, like you said, the trenches.
How did you guys grade out as far as the defensive line goes against Ohio State?
Kohout: We did pretty well actually. I, myself, graded out with a 98 (out of 100). I came out in the third quarter so I had 21 plays going into it. I think the other defensive linemen usually had in the 90's. That sounds about average.
Will it take another effort like that again this week?
Kohout: Yeah, definitely. Jim Leonhard came in and talked to us today (Wednesday) and said when you win big games like that against Ohio State the game after that becomes even bigger. We've got to step our game up that much more.
Is it kind of good that you're playing a team like Iowa maybe instead of a lower end Big Ten team?
Kohout: I think so because I think this is a great opportunity to kind of solidify Wisconsin as an elite program and kind of show everyone that we can be in the Rose Bowl this year and that we can take steps toward a BCS bowl.
You've been a Badger fan your whole life haven't you?
Kohout: Oh yeah.
What does the UW-Iowa rivalry mean to you growing up as a fan and then even more so as a player now?
Kohout: It's kind of funny. Iowa was kind of the first school that really started to recruit me pretty hard after my junior season in high school. I was actually kind of planning on it and was pretty excited about Iowa. Then Wisconsin came in and offered me right away after that. It's kind of ironic to have those two schools and such a big rivalry between those two schools and what they're competing for.
That just makes it that much more sweet, I guess, to play against them. I chose the right school and Wisconsin is where I want to be. If you're a Wisconsin kid it's where you dream about when you're growing up and you dream to play here and be a part of this. It's going to be an experience just like Ohio State was.
The recruiting is pretty common between Wisconsin and Iowa. You look at Jay Valai who said he verbally committed there at a certain point and then he winds up in Wisconsin. There's a lot of battles going on here.
Kohout: Coach Bret Bielema has really got the battle going on between those two schools recruiting wise. It just amplifies the rivalry that much more.
Does that translate when you're on the field? Are you cognizant of that type of thing?
Kohout: Well, myself not so much. I think that's kind of inaccurate to say for me, at least. After I got my offer from Wisconsin there was no looking back. I kind of just forgot about everybody else. In some circumstance, let's say in the case of Wisconsin and Minnesota you've got Minnesota guys coming to Wisconsin. I know last year people on the Minnesota sidelines were calling Blake Sorensen a traitor and things like that. I don't think it's to that extent with the Wisconsin and Iowa game but I'm sure it will play a factor for some players.
Can you compare the rivalry in this game at the fan level in a similar fashion to UW-Minnesota?
Kohout: I couldn't really give you an accurate statement because I've never really been to Kinnick Stadium to see what it's like with a full crowd. From what I hear they're good fans. They're really close so they'll be chirping in your ear the whole game. You've just got to tone them out and zone them out. But we dealt with that at Michigan State. We'll be fine with it, but it's definitely there.
Kohout: I don't think people give him enough credit for his ability to run. He's a pretty fast player and he can get out of the pocket and he can move. He's a quick player and a good quarterback. We've just got to contain him inside the pocket like Pryor and just have an emphasis on keeping our pass rush lanes even and getting after him.