Bielema not surprised Wilson starting for Seahawks
Some people might be surprised that rookie Russell Wilson is the
Seattle Seahawks’ starting quarterback. His college coach isn’t one
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said Monday that since Wilson was
drafted by the Seahawks, he has been telling pretty much anybody
who would listen that Wilson would end up winning the starting
”By NCAA rules, I cannot bet – but I bet you I’ve told hundreds
of people since draft day to where we are that he will be the
starter,” Bielema said.
Bielema said he exchanged text messages with Wilson to
Wilson led the Badgers to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth
last season after quitting professional baseball and transferring
to Wisconsin. He was eligible to play for the Badgers right away
because he already had graduated from North Carolina State.
Despite his excellent mobility, Wilson wasn’t regarded as a top
pro prospect going into the draft, mainly because of his 5-11
The Seahawks picked Wilson in the third round, and he beat out
former Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn – who was expected to
start after signing a big-money free agent deal with the Seahawks
in the offseason.
”I know they paid a lot of money to get Flynn and all that
great stuff,” Bielema said. ”But until you see what Russell
Wilson does behind the scenes – you obviously see what he does on
game days – even if he wasn’t going to be the starter, you’d better
hope that if you were the starter, if you were Flynn or whoever,
that you’d better not roll your ankle one day or have the flu or
miss practice. … He is a relentless, relentless competitor, and
he’s so contagious.”
Bielema said someone sent him a video clip that included footage
of Wilson talking to his new teammates.
”Just to see him kind of engage in that locker room, I walked
out of there, I’m like, `He’s got that locker room wrapped around
his finger right now,”’ Bielema said.
And Bielema said he has seen highlights of Seahawks coach Pete
Carroll interacting with Wilson.
”That head coach likes that player, and you can tell that,”
With the Badgers preparing for their season opener against
Northern Iowa on Saturday, Bielema announced that cornerback Peniel
Jean broke his foot last week. Jean, a redshirt sophomore who was
being counted on to play a critical role this season, has had
surgery and will miss 4-6 weeks.
”(He’s) A guy that we were counting on, banking on, a guy
that’s done a lot of really good things, so that hurt a little
bit,” Bielema said.