Just like it was following the 2010 season, the No. 1 question mark facing Bret Bielema and the Badgers as they enter the offseason is the quarterback position. They did get a bit of good news this week when Jon Budmayr, the favorite to open the 2012 season as starter, was cleared to start throwing again. Curt Phillips, Budmayr's main competitor, is also getting healthier.
Even if Budmayr's elbow problems or Phillips' knee problems go away for good in time for the start of the season, there's no way either will be able to completely replace Russell Wilson, who had one of the best seasons by a Wisconsin passer ever in 2011. It's probably not even realistic to expect either to put up the kind of numbers Scott Tolzien posted two seasons ago, when Tolzien won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award as the nation's top senior quarterback.
The good news is, Budmayr's (or whomever else starts) supporting cast will give him every opportunity to succeed. The return of Heisman finalist Montee Ball will help. Playmakers Jared Abbrederis, Jacob Pedersen and James White will also be back, as well as two starting offensive linemen and several others with significant in-game experience.
Additionally, the Big Ten Leaders division will be weak in 2012, so if Budmayr or Phillips won't have to be spectacular. I think if the Badgers get around 2,400 yards, 15 touchdowns, a 60 percent completion percentage and fewer than 10 interceptions from their quarterback(s) in 2012, they'll be in good shape. At the very least, they need to avoid another 2008.
The Badgers lost yet another assistant coach yesterday.
It looks like Bob Bostad is headed to the Chicago Bears to coach their offensive line.
Here's Michael Hunt on Jon Leuer's surprising start with the Bucks.
Thanks to the mysterious John Chadima scandal, Barry Alvarez has been forced to reconfigure his staff.
As a general rule of thumb, you need a career year to win the Heisman, and it will be incredibly difficult for Ball to surpass his 2011 numbers.
Scott Tolzien is playing the part of Eli Manning as the 49ers prepare for the NFC Championship. (via Dave Heller)
It looks like former 5-star recruit Kyle Prater is leaning towards transferring to Northwestern over Wisconsin. (via Dave Heller)
Here's new Wisconsin offensive coordinator speaking at his first press conference as a Badger.