Tag:Gus Mahlzan
Posted on: June 30, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Russell Wilson still could return to baseball

Posted by Chip Patterson

Earlier this week, former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson ended the long-awaited indecision regarding his immediate future by announcing his transfer to Wisconsin. Wilson chose the Badgers over Auburn and continuing his career with the Asheville Tourists, the Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

While some assumed that this may be the end of Wilson's baseball career, his time with the Rockies. according to Wilson's agent, may not be over after all.

"The Rockies have been incredibly understanding of how torn emotionally Russell is between baseball and football. He's not being disrespectful," agent Mark Rodgers told The Denver Post. "He's a 22-year-old kid who wants to keep his options open. The Rockies haven't closed the door on him coming back. And Russell has not closed the door."

Wilson did not have a fantastic start to his first season with the Tourists, batting .228 and only driving in 15 runs. He was second on the team in stolen bases (15), but it was not the kind of season expected from a fourth-round pick. If he chooses to stick with football, and does not return to the Rockies; he will have to forfeit "slightly less than 50 percent of his $200,000 signing bonus."

As Dennis Dodd pointed out, Wilson's arrival makes the Badgers the new Big Ten favorite. Wilson walks into a situation where he will be able to take advantage of the big stage to boost his professional football chances.

If Wilson can't impress scouts while playing for a Big Ten powerhouse, then heading back to the diamond might be his best move. Wilson has totaled up 93 touchdowns (passing and rushing) in his three-year career on the gridiron, and has stated his dream to play in both the NFL and in the major leagues.

The good news for the new Badgers signal-caller is that both doors are still open.

READ MORE: Eye on College Football Roundtable: Russell Wilson's impact on Wisconsin, the Big Ten
Posted on: June 27, 2011 12:47 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Russell Wilson transferring to Wisconsin

Posted by Chip Patterson

After a three month "free agency" that was kicked off with the release from his scholarship with N.C. State, Russell Wilson has made a decision about his immediate future with football and baseball. On Monday, Wilson confirmed what many people had speculated: that he would use his final year of football eligibility this fall playing for Wisconsin.

Wilson chose the Badgers over Auburn and the Colorado Rockies organization, where Wilson was drafted in the fourth round last summer. He started at second base for the Class A Asheville Tourists this spring, but began to reconsider his future in football back in April. The next months were a whirlwind of reports and discussion, as Wilson visited with the coaching staffs at Auburn and Wisconsin during days off from the Tourists. With fall camp approaching in a little more than a month, and with a growingly frustrated Rockies' front office -- Wilson decided it was time to make a decision.

"I never want to be told I have the starting job, I never believe in that," Wilson explained in an appearance on ESPN's College Football Live on Monday. "I believe that, being the competitor I am, you have to compete every day. Once I found out I would get the opportunity to compete and be the best I could be every single day, I was truly excited about that.

"I think that with [Wisconsin's] coaching staff and the players they have, the tradition they have there in terms of their fans and the players that have played there before -- I am truly excited about it, I think it's a great situation for me."

Head coach Bret Bielema offered his thoughts on the arrival of Wilson in the school's official release.

“Russell will come in and compete for the starting quarterback position,” Bielema said. “This is an unusual situation, especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin. However, this is a special situation and Russell is the type of player and person that fits very well with our team.”

For Wisconsin, Wilson's addition answers one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2011 season. When the Badgers closed spring practice, there still was not an official starting quarterback for the fall. Now Wisconsin gets the addition of a three-year starter with an all-conference resume. With Ohio State now facing a season of uncertain expectations thanks to the offseason scandal, Wilson makes the Badgers the biggest on-field story in the new Leaders Division of the Big Ten.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Report: Russell Wilson making decision soon

Posted by Chip Patterson

More Russell Wilson news, but at least now it looks like there may be an end to the indecision. Wilson is said to be torn between deciding whether he wants to play his final season of college football at Wisconsin, Auburn, or remain as a prospect with the Colorado Rockies. Wilson's trip to Auburn was a "job interview" of sorts, while Badger insiders referred to his trip to Madison as a "grand slam." Throughout the entire process, the Rockies have expected Wilson to finish out the regular season with the Asheville Tourists - which ends Sept. 5.

But Wilson has decided to wind down the decision process and plans to make his intentions known soon, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report. The report cites a source close to the situation that believes Wilson will likely announce his intentions before July 1 - possibly even this week. That is not too far off from the previous report which had him indicating July 4 as a deadline earlier this month. Either way, the "free agency" of Russell Wilson should be coming to a close in the next couple weeks.

Making the decision sooner will benefit all parties involved, particularly if he decides to play college football in the fall. Once he has made his decision, he can begin meeting his new teammates and learning a brand new offense - hopefully in time for fall camp to open in August. Wilson has always been credited for exhibiting high football IQ, but mastering a brand new offense in a few months will be one of his greatest challenges yet. If Wilson announces his intention to stick with the Rockies, both Auburn and Wisconsin can stop looking at hypotheticals and begin focusing on their quarterback situation for the fall.

Wisconsin probably has the most to gain from Wilson's arrival, and that is my guess for where he will end up should he choose one more season on the gridiron. Wilson was intrigued by the prospect of "big-time college football," and it is arguably hard to get much bigger than the newly expanded Big Ten. Particularly after Ohio State's tumultuous offseason, that Leaders Division should look awfully winnable to head coach Bret Bielema. All he needs is an answer for the quarterback position, and Badger fans are hoping Wilson will be that answer.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Report: Russell Wilson undecided about future

Posted by Chip Patterson

After Russell Wilson's visit to Auburn was described as a "job interview," and his trip to Wisconsin was reported as a "grand slam," it seemed like the "95 percent" chances of Wilson playing football in the fall were becoming even more certain.

But following an unconfirmed report by Madison.com that stated the decision could come this week, ESPN.com's Joe Schad hears from his source that the decision still has yet to be made.

"There are two magnets pulling this kid in opposite directions," the source says. "It's a tough time for the kid."

Currently a second baseban for the Asheville Tourists, of the Colorado Rockies organization, Wilson has not performed exceptionally by his own standards since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft. But as different college football fans debate on the final landing place of Wilson's 72 career touchdowns, Schad's report suggests that Wilson much first decide between the two sports, rather than two different schools.

With the struggles in baseball, and the chance to play big-time college football at either Auburn or Wisconsin, it seems like football is the trendy pick. But making that decision is walking away from mostly guaranteed money, having to repay his $250,000 signing bonus for starters. The Asheville Tourists begin their All-Star break Monday, perhaps the time off will help Wilson make this decision as we inch closer and closer to the beginning of the 2011 football season.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 2:04 pm
 

Report: Russell Wilson visiting Auburn today

Posted by Chip Patterson

Less than a month ago, the college football world was rocked when N.C. State announced that quarterback Russell Wilson requested, and was granted, a release from his scholarship with the Wolfpack. Head coach Tom O'Brien wished Wilson the best, but insisted that his starting quarterback for 2011 was junior Mike Glennon. Wilson has one year of football eligibility remaining, and has quietly begun looking into potential relocation destinations.

According to ESPN's Joe Schad, Wilson will be visiting Auburn today. He has an off-day from his current post as second baseman of the Asheville Tourists, part of the Colorado Rockies organization. His commitment to the Rockies and his potential football availability are both unknown at this point in the process. The Rockies believe that he will finish the season with the Tourists, which lasts until Sept. 5. Other reports have stated that there is as much as a "95 percent chance" Wilson will be playing football on-time in the fall.

If Wilson, an all-conference caliber quarterback, joins the Tigers he will step right into the same system that highlighted the skills of 2010's Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. According to Schad's report, Wilson arrived at Auburn Monday night and will spend all day with the coaches. Offensive coordinator Gus Mahlzan would be able to plug in Wilson to his high-octane system and let the experienced signal-caller make plays down the field. Head coach Gene Chizik has made no comment on the issue.

Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more as this develops
Posted on: January 11, 2011 2:33 am
 

BCS Championship Bowl Grade: Oregon

Posted by Chip Patterson

Offense 


We knew that the Oregon offensive line would be undersized against Auburn's front four, but we did not realize how badly they would lose the battle in the trenches on offense. Oregon played against some teams with big defensive lineman, but none were as skilled and powerful as Nick Fairley and the rest of the Auburn defensive line. Auburn was able to get penetration into Oregon's backfield all night long, and it crushed Darron Thomas' ability to read the field and let his options develop. Thomas did pull over several impressive plays in tough situations, including his 4th down completion to D.J. Davis to keep the game-tying drive alive.

But in the end, Oregon is a team that averages more yards rushing than anyone else in the nation. On Monday night, they were held to just 75 team rushing yards. Auburn forced the Ducks to throw the ball, and it made them uncomfortable to stray from their usual gameplan. It is impressive that Thomas was able to adjust to keep the Ducks in, but those two trips inside the ten yard line will leave a lot of "What if's" for the Oregon offense. GRADE: D+

Defense


The Oregon defense played almost as well as they could have in order to win the game. If their primary task was to stop Cam Newton, they did a pretty good job by only holding him to 64 yards rushing on 22 carries. They just didn't have much help from their offense, who continued to give the ball right back to Auburn after very little rest for the Ducks. Six of Oregon's eight second half drives were done in less than 2:30, giving the undersized defense little time to rest before heading back out to face true freshman Michael Dyer. The defense held strong and even was able to create the turnover they needed in order to tie the game, but the Ducks struggled to bring down Dyer as he gobbled up all 143 yards on his way to Offensive MVP. It is hard to ask for more from a defensive unit, but it was still not enough to secure the win for Oregon. GRADE: C

Coaching 


Credit Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Alliotti for preparing this defense for Cam Newton's many weapons. Unfortunately, they were not ready for Auburn's many weapons. Auburn's "bad" defense was grossly underrated, and Oregon was not able to make any in-game adjustments to counter the penetration that Nick Fairley & Co. were getting into the Oregon backfield. Without being able to establish their run on the ground, Oregon was forced to drift away from the script and try new ways to move the ball. Chip Kelly made some gutsy calls to fake punts and convert a couple of fourth downs, but not having a "go-to" play for those "…and Goal" situations has got to be scary for Oregon fans. The Ducks have rarely this season HAD TO HAVE a score like they on Monday. My guess is from now on they'll have that play dialed up. GRADE: D

Final Grade 


Oregon is going to remember for a long time the two trips inside the 10 yard line that only produced 3 points. Combined with the two interceptions and six costly penalties, there were a lot of mistakes made on Oregon's end. Having said that, it is awfully impressive that it still took a field goal as time expired for Auburn to beat them. As many mistakes as the Ducks had, they still found ways to come up with big stops and clutch conversions to hang in the game. The one thing that Oregon will have going for them moving forward is a roster full of young talent. Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, and Kenjon Barner will all be back next year, and you can bet they will be hungry to get back to this game next year after losing the way they did. GRADE: B-
Posted on: January 11, 2011 12:12 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:28 am
 

FINAL: Auburn 22, Oregon 19

Posted by Chip Patterson

It was not the game we expected, mostly.  We figured it would be a classic, and we knew that it would be the ultimate test for two very well-coached teams.  But we did not figure to see the kinds of defensive performances that we saw out of Oregon and Auburn on Monday evening in Glendale.  Both defensive units came out well-prepared and charged up to make a statement, after hearing more than a month of hype for the opposing offenses.  But when two teams are as good as Auburn and Oregon, you knew there were going to be big plays.

In the end, the most significant plays were made by true freshman Michael Dyer, who converted two game-clinching runs with the game tied at 19 with less than three minutes remaining.  First there was the 37 yard scramble, where Dyer rolled over the defender without letting his knee touch the ground.  When Dyer stood up and saw his teammates screaming at him to run, he took off down the field to put the Tigers in field goal range.  Just when you began trying to center the ball for kicker Wes Byrum, Dyer broke loose again for 16 yards to move the ball to the 1 yard line.  Byrum, Auburn's career scoring leader, finished his career by nailing the chip shot to give Auburn the 22-19 win the BCS National Championship.

Auburn become the fifth straight National Champion from the SEC, and amongst a season of off-field turmoil, no team has overcome more across the entire season than the Tigers.  Auburn started the season ranked outside the Top 20 in the polls, and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was able to do what eight other Heisman winners weren't able to do - win in the BCS National Championship Game.

In the end Oregon will look back at this game and have a lot of regrets.  Turning the ball over on downs at the goal line, six costly penalties, and simply being unable to impose their will against Auburn's defense will haunt Ducks fans when they remember this night against the Tigers.  The Oregon defense did their part, holding Cam Newton in check as much as they could.  But Auburn, as a team, was too good on this particular night.  When Newton couldn't impose his will, Dyer did.  When Auburn's offense couldn't score, the Tigers defense stepped up and kept Oregon from doing so as well.  The focus may have been on a few players, but we were reminded on the biggest stage what kind of team effort it takes to win a National Championship.   
Posted on: January 11, 2011 12:05 am
 

Auburn 19, Oregon 19 (2:33 4Q)

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Ducks were getting pounded by Auburn as the Tigers continued to eat clock with the rushing game.  When Auburn held Oregon to another punt with 5:05 remaining someone had to make a big play in order to keep the Tigers from putting Oregon in a tight spot.  After all, the Tigers used 4:26 of the game clock on the drive before.  Then Casey Matthews punched the ball out of Cam Newton's hands in pursuit and caused the turnover that put Oregon back into the game.

The Ducks almost had it all end on 4th and 5 at the Auburn 40 yard line, but Thomas found D.J. Davis for a 29 yard reception to keep Oregon in the game.  LaMichael James took the ball into the end zone three plays later after a Nick Fairley offsides call, and Oregon converted on the two-point conversion.  We've got a classic folks, just as we expected. 

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