Badger Bits: Wilson more than just a quarterback

Happy game week everyone! We'll get to football, but first some awkwardness: No, I am not John Veldhuis. John is moving into an expanded role with B5Q, and I've been brought on to help pick up the slack a couple times a week with Badger Bits. My biggest piece of Badger cred would be the big cardinal and white 'W' letter jacket hanging in my closet for my time spent as a coxswain on the UW rowing team from 2005-09. I also studied journalism and history somewhere in that time as well. I still live in Madison, semi-employed as a contributor to SBNation.com during the day.

Now onto the things you won't immediately forget.

The University of Wisconsin is supposed to be good at football this year. One of the biggest reasons why is that, as it turns out, this Russell Wilson guy is actually pretty talented. As the New York Times pointed out this weekend, he is a heck of a human being as well. You'll have to wade through the same three repeated memes that accompany every national news story about the Badgers' big slow offense. It's worth it to get to the meaty parts, however. Don't read the following if you need to look tough at any point in the next couple minutes.

A few hours later, in a hallway 50 yards from his father's hospital room, Russell and his mother stopped in the middle of a conversation. "The Holy Spirit came between us and said, ‘You need to go back in there,' " Wilson said. When he got to the doorway, he noticed the heart monitor moving normally.

"As soon as I walk in and say, ‘Dad, I'm here,' the line goes flat," Wilson said. "That's how I knew he could hear me." 

About 1,200 people attended his father's funeral, which Tom Holliday, an assistant baseball coach at N.C. State, said was essentially "conducted and written" by Russell. Harrison IV may have told the most fitting story that day when he recalled returning an interception 80 yards for a touchdown and looking back to see if any defenders were chasing him. Instead he saw his father, in a suit and fresh from court, sprinting alongside on the sideline.

Wisconsin has something special in Wilson, that much is pretty clear. The fact that he was named a captain after just a couple months in Madison is all the more testament that UW is in good hands on offense. The stage is set for Wilson to do wonderful things. If only Thursday could get here sooner.

Bill Connelly does a wonderful breakdown of the 2011 UNLV Runnin' Rebels. If you haven't yet read his Wisconsin preview seriously do it right now. I'll wait.

UNLV released their official depth chart Saturday. The first thing that stands out is that seniority seems to be heavily weighted towards the defense. The Rebels have just four offensive starters with junior or senior eligibility.

UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring will be making his first start in Camp Randall. If 17,000 Idahoans can get in his head, it'll be interesting to see what happens after he throws his first pick under the lights.

More previews! Badgers Roundtable is back for the Journal-Sentinel, featuring our own John Veldhuis along with Tim Shover of ESPN 980, Jim Rutledge of 100.5 ESPN, Tom Lea of BadgerBlitz.com and Anshu Khanna of NFLDraftBlitz.com. John likes the Badgers to roll over UNLV, but to drop one of the two in back-to-back trips to East Lansing and Columbus.

Tom Oates thinks that Wisconsin will score lots of points. Also, even more salivatory praise for Russell Wilson. It's comforting to know that Peter Konz was just as surprised by the outburst against Indiana as everybody else. Oates also isn't worried about the offensive line.

UW apparently has other quarterbacks. Tom Mulhern profiles Joel Stave's quiet recruitment. Bret Bielema says that Joe Brennan is ready to step in if need be.

Finally, Peter Konz and Ricky Wagner talk about the offensive line in Sunday's practice report. Spoiler: They also really like Russell Wilson.


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