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Badger Bits: Can John Clay win the Heisman?

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Happy fall-camp opening day, everyone!

Here are your Badger Bits for August 9th, 2010:

As we get closer to the start of the season, pre-season speculation about the Heisman Trophy has begun to build around Wisconsin running back John Clay. Clay won the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award last season, and is looking to build on a 1,517 yard, 18 touchdown season. Madison.com's Tom Oates has an article discussing how likely it is for Clay to take home the award after this season, and the preliminary results look promising.

Clay certainly has the ability to win the award this year, but it will come down to the team's performance as a whole. Clay will be running behind possibly the best offensive line in the nation, which will give him plenty of opportunities to rack up rushing yards. It is important to note that neither Clay nor his teammates are letting themselves get caught up in the Heisman talk. Here's quarterback Scott Tolzien's take on the award speculation, via Tom Oates:

I hope he is (a candidate), but I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘Heisman this, Heisman that,’ " UW quarterback Scott Tolzien said. "John’s got to prove it and we have to prove it as an offense. We all know that the Heisman winners come with team success and offensive production. I know we have a great line in place and everything like that, but John’s got to go out and prove it again this year because 2009 has no meaning in 2010."

Ultimately, the Heisman Trophy is not won on paper. Clay and the Badgers will need to step up and win some games this year if he wants to take home college football's most valuable award.

More Badger news after the jump!

Hammer and Rails, SB Nation's Purdue blog, has their preview up about the Wisconsin Badgers. They don't really have anything overly negative to say, and are not very optimistic about their chances against Wisconsin this year after the Badgers shut out the Boilermakers 37-0 in Madison last season. Wisconsin will travel to play Purdue in West Lafayette on November 6th.

 

Just in case you didn't hear last week, the Badgers have been ranked #12 in the nation by the USA Today Coaches Poll. Ohio State and Iowa rank ahead of the Badgers at #2 and #10, respectively, and Penn State is ranked at #14. Michigan State and Northwestern also received votes in the poll. I feel like that's a good starting point for Wisconsin- not too high and not too low. I still wonder how Texas and Florida are ranked so highly after they lost so much talent last year.

Madison.com is continuing their 10 part series previewing the different positions for the Badgers. The most recent previews are for the linebackers and the defensive line. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also has their preview of the defensive line up. Defensive end JJ Watt has been adamant in his assurances that he will not let the line be a weakness for the Badger defense this year:

@Louis_Nzegwu @jkohout91 ready to get to work on crushin all these rumors about the DLine being a weakness? Its time to Grind! -- JJ Watt via his twitter account

If you have a Twitter account, be sure to follow Bucky's Fifth Quarter and our list of UW student athletes!

And finally, Mike Lucas of Madison.com has an article up about how some Big Ten student athletes handle the pressures of professional sports agents.

26 days until kickoff!