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October 11, 2011

Wilson's play does the talking

MADISON - The precocious case of Russell Wilson and his Heisman quest might as well be embraced.

With every game that goes by on the schedule, with every opponent the senior quarterback vanquishes and with every win the Badgers seal - - quite commonly via large margins - - the hysteria will only continue to grow.

So instead of shying away from the reality that is, Wilson senses an opportunity.

"I always strive to be the best that I can be," Wilson said. "I'm trying to be the best quarterback in college football."

Bret Bielema, UW's sixth-year head coach who secured the commitment from Wilson during the summer months, also senses opportunity.

Great players often provide great exposure. With every touchdown pass, every shockingly elusive move and every scintillating play comes a barrage of radio, television and print opportunities.

The birth of 'Russelmania XVI' on Twitter is the quintessential example.

"It's definitely an honor," Wilson said. "As a college football player it's where you want to be. In terms of my mindset I don't focus on that type of stuff. I'm not a big social media person or anything like that.

"My focus is on the football field, in the classroom and the community."

That attitude, in short, is why Wilson will likely be among the Heisman hopeful's throughout the remainder of the regular season.

Wilson, now a mature and impressive senior signal caller, will continue to get praise for his effort on the field. Should he continue to complete 74.8 percent of his passes, should he continue to fire 13 touchdowns for every one interception and should he continue to chip in some rushing yardage and touchdowns along the way, he'll be a household name throughout the country, if he isn't already.

His dynamic abilities, combined with the creativity of Paul Chryst's offensive machine that is churning out 48.4 points per game and 523 yard of total offense, will provide endless possibilities for the most talked about transfer in college football.

In some eyes that's enough. Sometimes there is simply no need for any hyped up Heisman campaign.

"All the major awards are won on the field," Bielema said. "I don't think you can put a poster up in the middle of New York City or anything like that. I think it's about what you do on the field.

"I think Russell buys into that."

That's obvious.

Through five games at Wisconsin, and really through just about two and a half months within the program, Wilson has already established himself as one of the best players UW has ever seen.

His worst game statistically would be a dream for 80 percent of the quarterbacks in college football today.

The worst completion percentage Wilson has had in a single game was a lowly 70 percent clip against Nebraska. He once threw for a meager 189 yards against Oregon State, but also backed it up with three touchdowns.

He hasn't shown any sort of propensity to make bad decision and he certainly hasn't shown any reason to lose faith in his ability when facing adversity.

So far, Wilson has 1,391 yards passing. For perspective, it took Scott Tolzien seven-plus games to pass that mark a season ago. What Wilson has been doing has been nothing short of sensational.

And the best part about it, even with a relatively modest Twitter campaign in his favor, is that his play is doing most of the talking.

"It's a blessing to be in that type of company," Wilson said. "And to be in there among the players that are being mentioned for the Heisman trophy. It's definitely an honor.

"I'm just trying to do the right thing whenever I get the opportunity."


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