Several members of the Wisconsin football team posted impressive performances in the season opening win over UNLV Saturday, but at his Monday press conference, head coach Bret Bielema singled out UW’s game MVPs.
Center Peter Konz was recognized after paving the way for the dominant UW running game.
“I thought he just handled his business,” Bielema said. “We got him on the perimeter on some plays that were very impressive to see a guy that big run and do what he was doing.”
While Konz was busy mowing down defenders, Chris Borland and Blake Sorensen were stifling a new-look UNLV offense, and the two linebackers also received MVP recognition from the coaching staff.
“Two guys we recognized were [Chris] Borland and Blake Sorensen,” Bielema said. “They really played a pretty good football game.”
Interestingly enough, Borland earned the team honor despite missing most of the second half after aggravating a shoulder injury. Last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year had offseason surgery on his bad shoulder, and the Badgers plan on being cautious with the star linebacker, limiting his contact during practice.
“The full test with what we want to do won’t be available until Tuesday,” Bielema said. “But we feel pretty good about him this weekend.”
Elsewhere from the infirmary, sophomore linebacker Mike Taylor and redshirt sophomore quarterback Curt Phillips are getting back to full strength.
Phillips has continued to progress at a rapid rate from his knee injury, and the quarterback could return for the home opener. A play Phillips made during Sunday’s practice stood out when the coaching staff evaluated the injured quarterback.
“We were in a team period, and somebody was coming right up at his face,” Bielema said. “He kind of had to move real quick. I looked, Paul Chryst looked and Curt kind of turned around and smiled at me. You definitely like that reaction.”
While the injured Badgers fight off nagging injuries, several others are fighting off teammates to remain in the lineup, particularly on the offensive line.
At right guard, Bill Nagy and Kevin Zeitler are going head-to-head to earn the starting nod for the home opener, and another battle exists at right tackle.
Josh Oglesby and Ricky Wagner are fighting for the starting tackle spot opposite Gabe Carimi, and while Oglesby started against UNLV, the coaching staff is looking for more from the former five-star prospect.
“Josh, again, has made nice strides, but he had the procedure penalty and some other things have popped up,” Bielema said. “Those are some loose ends that showed up a year ago. That’s something we’re not going to tolerate if he continues to do those things until he changes it.”