MADISON, Wis. - There's an old saying that football games aren't won on paper, they're won on the field. If you ask Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, he'd say the same thing about the major college football awards. They hype around Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson continued to build during the Badgers' bye week, compounded in part by Wilson and Bielema's plethora of media appearances during the week. But when you get down to it, according to Bielema, the results on the field matter the most.
"I think the world has changed a lot over the last 10 years," Bielema said in his Monday press conference. "All the major awards are won on the field. I don't think there's a campaign, I don't think you can put a poster up in the middle of New York City or anything like that stuff, I think it's about what you do on the field."
That's not to say that a media campaign isn't helpful for a potential Heisman candidate like Wilson, or that Bielema minds the public relations campaign that is already underway. The Wisconsin athletic department has already started touting the senior quarterback through official Twitter and Facebook accounts.
But Bielema said last year's awards season showed that a good on the field product can overcome even bad public relations. Bielema specifically mentioned former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton as a player who demonstrated that on the field performance is more important than having good public relations.
"I believe that Russell buys into it," Bielema said. "I think our kids enjoy being around that kind of conversation ... [Last year] is when it became clear to me - you really just have to play well, and [have] your team play well, and you've got a chance."
-- Shelton Johnson practiced again Sunday, and the depth chart lists him as a co-starter at strong safety with Dezman Southward.
-- Kevin Zeitler hurt his ankle during the Nebraska game, but he is still listed as the No. 1 right guard.
-- Bielema said there's still no timetable for backup quarterback Jon Budmayr's return, but Bielema mentioned Budmayr is making progress.
News and Notes
-- The Badgers are working senior kicker Philip Welch slowly back into the rotation. Welch is the No. 1 field goal and extra point kicker, but Alec Lerner is still going to handle kickoffs with a little help from Kyle French.
-- Bielema reached out to a few senior bowl representatives during the bye week to make sure they don't overlook senior punter Brad Nortman, who hasn't had much of a chance to display his skills this year.
"He's one of the best in the country at his position," Bielema said of Nortman.
-- Badger quarterback Russell Wilson addressed the media as well today. When asked if he was paying attention to the Brewers' success as a former professional baseball player, Wilson knew he couldn't express too much support for the National League's Central Division champions.
"I'm still affiliated with the Rockies, so technically I'm not supposed the jump on the bandwagon," Wilson said sheepishly. "But I did watch the game. It's pretty exciting. Obviously being in Wisconsin - all the teams are doing great. You've got the Packers, you've got the Brewers, and then us so it's pretty fun to watch."
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