MADISON - Having experienced a memorable year in Madison, and having earned the ability to play in the Rose Bowl, the 2011 season will be one Russell Wilson won't soon forget.
Concluding a week and a half layoff, BadgerBlitz.com had a chance to chat with Wilson. The following is a question and answer with the senior All-Big Ten quarterback.
Can you talk about your reaction to the news of you getting invited to the Senior Bowl?
Wilson: Yeah, definitely. I'm excited about it. It's one of my goals and something I worked on. It's a privilege getting invited to the Senior Bowl. I don't take that for granted. Like I always say, my goal is to be the best and I'm always striving for that. I'm just going to keep working and keep getting better.
Nick Toon is pretty excited that the two of you are going. I know Kevin Zeitler is going, too, but the two of you
Wilson: Yeah, it's pretty sweet. It's been great getting to know him and getting to know his family. Like I said, he's one of the best receivers, if not the best, in the country. I think he's got a lot of talent and a lot of things going for him. He's just got to keep working, along with me too. It will be cool to be on the same team, and stuff, as him. I would assume we'd be on the North team. It should be a great experience.
What are your demands academically right now? Everybody is talking about finals coming up. What are your demands?
Wilson: In grad school, I'm finishing up some papers right now. I've got a bunch of stuff I've been doing. I've written some 17 and 20 pagers the past couple of days. I'm almost done. I should be done by tonight (Wednesday) pretty much.
Do you sit down and do those all in one day?
Wilson: No, I do my research beforehand and get most of it done. It's just kind of organizing it. Near the end of the semester when everything is due I take four or five days to focus on it and make sure I get everything done one day at a time and just kind of get it done.
Have you thought about where you'd like to be a year from now at this time?
Wilson: I'd like to be wherever the Lord takes me. Wherever that is I'm there. It's going to be a great opportunity and a lot of great things are going to happen. I know it and I believe in it. I'm just excited about it and I've just got to keep working every day to improve and get better.
Are there any particular players, whether it's Aaron Henry or the co-captains, that have given you advice about going to the Rose Bowl that you've really taken to heart or that has really, really stuck with you?
Wilson: Nothing in particular. I think they know that I've kind of been around and have seen a lot of different things. The fact that they've been there before means I'll ask them some questions. What's it like? What's there to do? Just different stuff like that. You have fun with it, but at the same time you keep your focus. Obviously I'm going to do that. I'm always extremely focused and do everything with a focus.
Can you talk about the relationship you've developed with this program? You've only been here one year, but when you came in everybody supported you and named you captain. Obviously the fans love what you're doing for the team.
Wilson: Well, it's been a great experience. Wisconsin is a great place to play. It's great to be a Badger. It's been a great experience ever since I got here. I came in on July 1st. Just being with these guys, developing relationships and developing a relationship with coach Bret Bielema and getting to know him, he's an extremely good coach. Working with coach Paul Chryst, he's the best in the business. He's helped me grow as a quarterback.
Is it comparable to when you were at NC State? You were there for three years and had so much familiarity with them.
Wilson: I think I'm extremely good at learning new people and new locations and adjusting. That's something my dad and mom kind of taught me at a young age, just being able to adjust to where you are. I've adjusted extremely well. The only thing I haven't hit yet is the cold weather. I'm still cruising along. I'm still waiting for that snow day. But I should be good.
When you joined this program earlier you talked about playing in big games, playing on big stages and things like that. I'm curious. Now that you've gone through an entire season where you've played on some big stages, the Big Ten title game most recently, what went through your mind when you hoisted that Big Ten title trophy?
Wilson: It's a special moment. Like I said when I first got here in the team meeting, I told the guys I want to be part of something special. That's the reason why I came here. I had a vision of us doing great things. I see that continuing and continuing for the University of Wisconsin. Obviously we play in a huge game, the Granddaddy of them all in the Rose Bowl, against Oregon so it should be a great game and we're excited about that opportunity.
North Carolina isn't necessarily a hotbed for Rose Bowl excitement. It's not really affiliated with any of the east coast schools. I guess how do you view the Rose Bowl. What's your mindset on that game, growing up and watching it?
Wilson: I used to always watch the Rose Bowl. Drew Brees is my favorite quarterback in the NFL, and my favorite player. I watch him all the time and I read his book. He talked about his goal his senior year was to make it to the Rose Bowl and he did. It's something I take to heart. It's something that is extremely serious and touching in my life to have that opportunity. I know my dad will be watching. It's going to be a great opportunity and it doesn't get any better than that.
Obviously with your addition to this team the fans got incredibly excited to come here and watch throughout this season. What do you think moving forward, and I know this might be tough to answer right now, your legacy is going to be?
Wilson: That's a tough question for me to answer. You've got to ask everybody else, I think. I think being consistent and being a guy that is a great team guy, a great locker room guy and a guy that is always going to push himself to be the best and push others. My goal every day in practice and just in general, is to make the other 10 guys in the huddle better.
That's my goal. I think I've done that this season and it's been a great situation to come here and play with guys like Montee Ball, Nick Toon and the offensive linemen and everybody else. There are so many guys I can mention, honestly. It's just been a great opportunity to play under coach Chryst. I'll just keep working.