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Wilson speaks with media as Badgers open prep for Illinois

ON WISCONSIN <b>Senior QB Russell Wilson spoke with the media Monday.</b>
Senior QB Russell Wilson spoke with the media Monday.

Nov. 15, 2011

• Watch Wilson Press Conference Small Video Graphic

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin senior quarterback Russell Wilson reflected on the Badgers' 42-13 win over Minnesota and looked ahead to Saturday's vital Leaders Division clash with Illinois during his weekly press conference Monday at Camp Randall Stadium.

Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Wilson's remarks can be found below.

QUESTION #1: Russell, you’re on pace to smash the record for pass efficiency rating. What do you know about that rating?  And so you think it’s a fair way to measure a quarterback?

WILSON: I definitely think that passing efficiency is definitely something that you want to be great at and have a high number in. And that means that the quarterback completing a lot of passes. The average yards per play is usually pretty good and you’re scoring a lot of touchdowns. In terms of your interceptions, those are down.

But I don’t focus on that. I do believe that it is a significant number, but at the same time, I have keep competing every single day and just trying to perform on Saturdays.

QUESTION #2: Russell, could you give us your impressions of Montee Ball, and just the season he’s having, how you’ve enjoyed playing with him?

WILSON: Montee’s an impressive player, from practice to film room to his work ethic in the weight room. Then when he comes out on Saturdays, he wants to be great. And that’s something I always tell him right before the game starts, let’s be great today. And he always gives me a big smile. He gives me the nod saying, yeah, let’s do it.

Some of the moves he made this past weekend, one in particular on the safety, were pretty impressive. And he does that all the time. He’s a great player. He’s got a lot of talent. He pass protects extremely well. He runs the ball obviously extremely well, and he catches too. So with all those intangibles, and all the things that he does in terms of leadership aspect, it’s pretty impressive.

QUESTION #3: Russell, if you had a Heisman vote, who would you cast it for right now?

WILSON: I’d probably have to vote for Montee. He’s my teammate. He’s the man. Money Ball, I guess they call him.  

QUESTION #4: Russell, are you surprised how quickly things have turned around in this conference. You know, two weeks ago, you’re two full games behind Penn State. There’s this three-way tie for second place. And now, all of a sudden, you’re two games away from playing in that Big Ten championship game. Does that surprise you just how quickly that’s turned around?

WILSON: It doesn’t necessarily surprise me in terms of where we are. I believe that things happen for a reason. We have a lot of talent on this football team. It’s a great conference to play in, the Big Ten, and things happen. We’re in a great situation, but we have to take care of that situation, play a great game on Saturday, have a great week of preparation. And then focus on what we can control right now.

QUESTION #5: Russell, I don’t know how much tape you’ve looked at of Illinois yet, but when you look at their ends, what stands out, their two guys?

WILSON: They look like pro-style defensive ends. They’re tall, really athletic, fast, coming around the edge really well. You really have to make sure you’re stepping up in the pocket, throwing the ball on time, making sure that you’re just gaining positive gains every single play, and trying to get first downs, and then go from there. Obviously, we have a great offensive line, and they have a great defensive line, so it’s going to be a battle.

QUESTION #6: Russell, have you ever had Jake Byrne remind you he’s an eligible receiver and throw him a couple, and, but do you see him contributing in other ways if he’s not catching balls?

WILSON: Yeah, Jake Byrne reminds me every time in the hotel. We may have a particular play that goes to him for a touchdown. And he always reminds me, ‘Hey, I’m there, you know.’ We haven’t gotten to him yet, but he’s a spectacular player. He blocks extremely well. I know he pass protects extremely well for me and gives me enough time to find other guys too, and he’s strong, he’s athletic and he’s really an intelligent player.

QUESTION #7: It seems like you’re throwing a touchdown pass every game to Jacob Pedersen. What’s it do for you as a quarterback, just this offense, to have him out there, especially it seems like you’re finding him an awful lot in the red zone?

WILSON: Besides an offensive line and having a great running back, having a great tight end is a quarterback’s best friend. (It’s) his ability to catch the football, his ability to block. And he’s extremely fast, too. The advantages he has on linebackers and safeties is something that you don’t see too often, and I believe he’s one of the best in the country. He deserves that. He’s a great player, and he wants the ball in his hands all the time.

QUESTION #8: With (Peter) Konz being out for at least of couple weeks, what level is your confidence in (Ryan) Groy stepping into the job? And how important is the center to the offensive line and to you in making out calls and setting up and establishing a play?

WILSON: You know, Konz is obviously a loss for us in terms of his ability. He’s one of the best centers in the country, but Groy is right behind him. I truly believe that. He’s got a lot of talent, he’s extremely athletic. That’s something you notice from Groy in the weight room and in practice all the time. And he’s intelligent in terms of the play calling.

So in terms of what he’ll be able to do on Saturday, I think he’ll be able to do everything that Konz can do. And we’re excited about his opportunity. A start could be made, you never know. And so I believe that Groy has a lot of talent and he’s ready for it.

QUESTION #9: You were asked about the efficiency rating before. I’m just curious. What do you think is the best representative number of a quarterback’s success if it’s not just wins and losses?

WILSON: Well, in my mind, it’s competing. When things aren’t going to well, when you’re behind and you have to bring the team back, when it’s third down and it’s third-and-13 or third-and-7 or third-and-2, how is that quarterback going to get the first down? When you’re in the red zone? So I think those two things … competing on third down and in the red zone are the two main things that a quarterback has to do and be successful at.

Thank you guys. On, Wisconsin!

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