Badger Bits: Bielema names 2012 team captains

Senior Shelton Johnson (24) returns to UW not only as a starting safety, but as a team captain as well.

At every football game, players from each team make their way to midfield for the obligatory coin toss. These men are chosen, not based merely by their on-field performances, but because they represent their team well as leaders in the locker room.

Head coach Bret Bielema announced the Badgers' team captains for this season via Twitter (which is becoming a recent trend of his) late Tuesday night.

The newest group of team captains at UW includes four seniors (offensive tackle Ricky Wagner, running back Montee Ball, linebacker Mike Taylor, safety Shelton Johnson) and two juniors (center Travis Frederick, linebacker Chris Borland). It surely wasn't difficult for Bielema to find six players on his roster suitable for the roles, given their past successes and respect from teammates.

It's not necessarily a negative, but these are captains better known for leading by example than by their voices. I agree with Bielema's selections and fully anticipate the players to represent UW-Madison and the Badgers well. With that said, there are multiple times throughout a season where teams need vocal leaders to take charge when things go into disarray.

I think we'll see players like Ball, who have been more reserved in the past, step up well in a new leadership role this season. And they weren't named captains, but still look for other upperclassmen like Jared Abbrederis and Danny O'Brien to assert themselves in captain-like roles as well.

Wednesday's Links:

Wide receiver Manasseh Garner and defensive back Jameson Wright have decided to leave the UW football program. Both players are looking into transferring elsewhere. Garner always had talent but struggled to stay on the field with Wisconsin, but it's still surprising to see the backup wide receiver leave the Badgers.

Read the latest from Badgers' practice, including Mike Taylor's return to practice.

Examiner.com forecasts a one-loss Wisconsin team facing Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game this year.

Looking for some humor? Read Brian Bennett's best case/worst case scenarios for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The best case scenario is laughable for its absurdity, while the worst case is funny (sadly) because it could actually come to fruition.

Wisconsin wide receivers' coach Zach Azzanni is not afraid to chew his players out.

Brian Bennett says the Badgers' bye week is well-timed this season.

Kirk Herbstreit's annual Herbie Awards are loaded with players from the Big Ten.

It appears backup quarterbacks Curt Phillips and Joel Stave are handling the backseat roles to Danny O'Brien well.

O'Brien fits the Wisconsin QB mold well. His ability to limit errors makes him the right man for the job.

Who's flying under the radar in the Big Ten this year?

Never doubt the man. Russell Wilson will be starting for the Seattle Seahawks in their next preseason game!

Ken Werner takes being a Badger fan to strange extremes. For that, he deserves your vote in the ESPN/StubHub Hall of Fans voting over the next 10 days.

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