UW Health Sports Medicine 

Bielema meets the press in Chicago

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Bielema Press Conference: Video  |  Transcript

UW head coach Bret Bielema opened his Thursday tour of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago with a press conference for the more than 500 credentialed media members at the 2011 edition of Big Ten Football Media Days.

Here are some highlights of Bielema's remarks (get the full transcript here):

On Russell Wilson:
"No matter how good a football player Russell Wilson is, the first thing I wanted to find out is what kind of person he is. I always say that in recruiting, you recruit your own problems. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't recruiting somebody that was going to potentially be a problem at Wisconsin. He's a stand-up guy, great character. Just a really, really neat kid."

On Wilson's current status as Badgers' backup QB:
"I haven't seen Russell Wilson compete one snap competitively in practice. I think I might know what will happen, but until it happens, that's where we're at."

On replacing key players from 2010:
"As coaches we always concentrate on we're not trying to replace J.J. Watt, we're trying to replace his production. Who gives us an opportunity to do that. Practically we've look at our current players, have an opportunity to work with them and see where we can go."

On the status of the Badgers' brand:

"One of the first things I do every day, I'll come into my office and plug into a web page that's all about college football. I'll read the top 12 headlines. Most of the time, more than three-quarters of them are about negative things around college football. For us to stay in a positive light, means a lot for me, means a lot for us in recruiting. I think that's very evident in the kind of kids we're playing."

On the team maintaining its focus:

"We say at Wisconsin, if you don't like college football, don't come to Wisconsin. We have to get a framework in our mind to know that's what we're going to do. Don't let success go to your head, keep an even keel."

On recruiting quality players:
"One thing we try to emphasize at Wisconsin, I tell my coaches, they're all fathers, they all have children, If you are not willing to let a recruit come in and baby-sit your children when you're not in the house, don't recruit them."
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