Blog Entry

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

Posted on: June 27, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 2:50 pm

By Eye on College Football Bloggers

Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:

So Russell Wilson is transferring to Wisconsin. What does his decision mean for the Badgers? For the Big Ten race? For the Auburn team he spurned? Could it have an impact on the national title picture?

Tom Fornelli: I think it puts Wisconsin right there with Nebraska in the role of Big Ten favorite, and considering the uncertainty surrounding T-Magic in Lincoln and the quarterback position there, Wisconsin may in fact be the favorite. We already know they can run the ball, and now they added a new dynamic to the offense they've never had before.

Adam Jacobi: I'd like to caution everyone from going overboard here. This will be Wilson's first year in the Wisconsin offense, and while Paul Chryst (pictured bottom right) is a solid enough coordinator to craft his offense around its strengths year to year, there's just naturally going to be an adjustment period.

Further, at what point, has Russell Wilson ever been a great quarterback? Sure, he threw the ball a lot at N.C. State, but he wasn't great at it; his passing efficiency last season ranked 62nd in the nation, right above Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz (who looked promising last year, sure, but no one's arguing he's "there" yet).

I'm willing to grant that Wilson is an upgrade over Wisconsin's returning quarterbacks, and that he makes the Badgers better than they were before. I just don't think setting high expectations on Wilson has ever been a recipe for success beyond eight or nine wins.

Chip Patterson: When Wilson exploded on the scene as a freshman in 2007, it was his playmaking ability and natural athleticism that caught his opponents off-guard and led to Wilson being named the ACC Rookie of the Year. But in 2010, it was a change in his game that helped the Wolfpack finish with their first nine-win season since 2002. Instead of scrambling to the sidelines, Wilson improved his pocket presence. He started stepping up in the pocket and hurting teams with his legs up the middle. Wisconsin doesn't need a dual-threat quarterback; it needs a competent one who will take what the defense gives the Badgers.

As Adam said, Wilson is not the most efficient passer. He also benefited last season from having a receiving corps made up mostly of tall pass catchers who could "go up and get it" when Wilson got in trouble (T.J. Graham was the only receiver on the two-deep last season under 6-foot-3). But there will be many upgrades that Wilson will get offensively in the move to Madison, most notably the availability of a dominant run game. Since his arrival at N.C. State, the Wolfpack have ranked in the bottom half of the ACC in rushing offense every single season. In 2010 Wisconsin's rushing offense ranked 12th nationally.

Wilson's addition answers perhaps the biggest question mark in Wisconsin's 2011 outlook. But his arrival also brings about new concerns, such as how his late addition might affect team chemistry or how quickly he can adjust to Paul Chryst's offense. The Badgers now become a favorite for the Leaders division, but there are still plenty of adjustments to be made before penciling them in for a return to Pasadena.

Jerry Hinnen: Well, no, it's too early to project the Badgers for a return trip to the Rose Bowl. But as I think Wilson's arrival puts Wisconsin firmly in that mix, I don't think we should undersell the importance of this decision, either. I don't know about "great" (to respond to Adam's question), and yes, he took a step back last year even as his team was taking a step forward. But in 2008 and 2009 Wilson was pretty damn good all the same: a combined touchdown-to-interception ratio of 48 to 12, a healthy 7.6 yards-per-attempt in that span, 640-plus rushing yards for good measure, All-ACC honors.

Much of Wilson's decline in efficiency can be attributed to N.C. State asking him to do too much, something we all know Wisconsin is most assuredly not going to do. The Badgers have already made the likes of Scott Tolzien and John Stocco into hyper-efficient stars, something Wilson's already proved himself more than capable of being with the Wolfpack. With the assets surrounding Wilson in Madison and the entire summer to bone up on Chryst's playbook now that he's already left his minor league baseball team, the Badger offense could be nearly as dynamic as it was in 2010.

And look at the Wisconsin schedule: no true road games until back-to-back dates at Michigan State and Ohio State in late October, and key dates with Nebraska and Penn State at home. If the Badgers can get past the Huskers and split the two October roadies, 11-1 and a second-straight BCS berth is right back in play. That's just not the case with Jon Budmayr under center, so, yeah, I think we're talking about a potentially major, national-sized impact -- maybe not crystal football major, but the next best thing.

(And as for the team on the other side of it, yes, Auburn could have used a player of Wilson's physical gifts during what looks like a rebuilding year. But as long as the Tigers have got Gus Malzahn (and two quarterbacks in Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley in their third year of his system to boot), there's only so far their quarterback play can slip; Wilson or no Wilson, they'll have bigger questions to answer than who's under center.)

Bryan Fischer: Going off what Chip said, Wilson's numbers are not the most efficient ones out there. He had to throw the ball 527 times last year, thanks in part to an inconsistent run game that had a few young running backs who tended to have trouble holding onto the ball. Toss in some wideouts that struggled and you get part of the reason he managed to only complete 58 percent of his passes last year. Still, you saw flashes of why he can be a threat with his arm and legs regardless of what talent is around him.

I still think it will take Wilson awhile to get adjusted to 1, playing football again after playing minor league baseball; and 2, Wisconsin's offense. With a big offensive line and very good running game, the Badgers won't need him to make plays right away but rather just be consistent with his play. He does hold the NCAA record for most pass attempts without an interception, and if he can take that part of his game to Camp Randall, I don't see why the Badgers won't be thinking about the Big Ten title game. I'm not ready to anoint them with Wilson coming in, but they certainly have a lot going for them now with an experienced signal-caller.


Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: June 29, 2011 1:15 am

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

bottom line is we had no qb with ANY kind of experience at all, so this is a big plus to get a guy who has 3 years of snaps under his belt and is a proven major college qb.  he is very atypical in regards to a wisconsin qb so it will be interested how much bret plays to his strengths.  normally we throw 15-20 times a game, i dont see that changing other than it might be with a more down field slant.  this guy will make it much harder to defend this team, thats just a fact.  im VERY excited

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: June 29, 2011 1:09 am

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

kinda like wisconsin b i tch slapped Criminal U(The ohio state university) in Madison last year, talk bout embarrassing. hahahahohoho

Since: Sep 21, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2011 10:38 pm

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

I think it's way too early to annoint ANYONE the front runner of anything right now, so, with that said....

I do believe this makes Wisky dangerous in the sense that the qb play which was so questionable in April is now not so questionable.  The task will be making what he is as a passer more effective.  Sure, he's got an arm.  Yeah, he can use his feet.  But, this isn't a qb system as much as it's a running back system.  I will have to see him running this offense before I make any judgements.

As for the offense I did see him run, I think overall he was overused as a passer (and by a lot) mostly because the Wolfpack couldn't run against anyone.  527 passes is WAY too much for any offense.  That is roughly 40 attempts a game.  If they use him, lets say, 25-30 times a game, and they use him as foil with the running game to keep teams honest, then there is no question that with that defense and that schedule that it's more than possible to see Wisky being a top flight team deep into the season.  Do they win the big ten?  Nebraska is solid, and so is Penn st. and so tOSU even without some of there studs, so not so sure on that, but it is now possible.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:42 pm

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

It's pretty stupid to see an Ohio St fan on here even commenting. Your bus to irelevence is leaving now, so please jump on. Just seems like a bunch of idiots here who have no idea what they're saying. 

Hoke is a Joke
Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: June 28, 2011 8:15 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 3:52 pm

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

diffendale, in what way is the loss to TCU in the ROSE BOWL embarassing?  And in what way is TCU lowly?  Have you lived under a rock the last decade?   Last I checked, they went undefeated and won the ROSE BOWL!  If your team did that, you'd be bouncing off the walls, so I don't think you can talk.

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:30 am

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

Wisconsin is getting a GRADUATED player who led NC STATE to nine wins last year and the Wolfpack is letting him go.  WHY? I think trouble is brewing.

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:27 am

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

Thanks Wisconsin!  You are getting a QB that is a senior and PLAYED in the ACC at NC State and the WOLFPACK let him go?  WHY? I think trouble is brewing! Back to back losses in October and the loss to Nebraska EQUALS 3 losses.  What bowl is on December 19!

Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2011 3:08 am

Roundtable: Russell Wilson impact

But nice to see the Badger and Husker optimism.

Ohio State... 7 BigTen Championships in a row and counting....

Braxton Miller here.

lol you have a bigger championship to worry about


if you havent checked or realized your not in the sec you cant pay your way out of this one

better hope Braxton doesnt scramble to another team or conference

Blackshirts defense here.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: June 27, 2011 11:55 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or