Russell Wilson: Yeah, I expected it. I knew the situation in terms of what Wisconsin already had without me, the type of players and the type of coaches that they've had and the type of atmosphere it is here every single Saturday. At the same time, I tried to not let that stuff distract me at all. My ultimate goal is to be the best quarterback I can be every single day and be a leader on this team with the leaders that they already have and help this team win as much as I can.
You have a new offense and new teammates, what for you has been the biggest challenge, or is the most important challenge right now for you?
Wilson: You know, just knowing the offense in and out. I'm really learning well. I'm a quick learner, I guess you could say. But that's a good thing. That's the main thing. It's not too much different from my NC State offense to be honest with you. Some of the naming of the plays and all that is different, but the concepts and all are very similar. That's a good thing for me. I just got to take it for what it's worth and try to learn something new every day, whether it's one thing, two things or 100 things. If I can take it all in, that would be great.
How important was that first month to be with your teammates?
Wilson: I thought that was really important, especially here with the situation they have. They're a great team and I think it means a lot to those guys. It also means a lot to me. I just want to get into Madison and see what it's like and be around the area.
What are some of your impressions of Madison? You said you've never been here before. Is it kind of the town you expected?
Wilson: To be honest, I didn't expect it to be like this. Coming from Virginia it's East Coast, it's really hot and it's really warm. In my head, all throughout high school and all, I thought Madison is going to be a freezing, cold place during the summer even (and) that there is nothing here and all that. But Madison is a great area and there is a lot to do here. I've gone on the lake a few times, so that's been fun. My brother lives in Chicago so that's not too far away. That's good too.
What was the biggest selling point that got you to come to Wisconsin?
Wilson: I think there were a lot of different factors. I think one, the atmosphere that they have here and the tradition they have here. They have coach Bielema, his philosophies and the way he coaches the game of football and coach Chryst, as well. The main thing probably for me was the players. The players I'd met and the guys they already have with experience that they have and the leadership that they have, I think that was truly the most important thing to me. I wanted to be a part of that.
What do you do with the expectations? Obviously you come in and people are thinking, ‘guaranteed national title for this team.' How do you handle that personally?
Wilson: I think the most important thing is putting the work in every single day. Do something special every single day in terms of my work ethic. Just be special, don't do the average. Don't be good, do great every single day. That's my mindset and that's what I truly believe in. You just do something special every single day.
Have you heard the expectations, wishing you well from fans, what have you heard?
Wilson: Yeah, I've definitely heard that and that's a good thing. You want to have people really looking forward to the season. That's a positive thing. At the same time, we have to focus on us and what we do as a team. Once we do that, we'll do a great job.
Have you had a welcome to the team moment yet? Coach mentioned that when you were introduced you stood up and there was some cackling in the background from the other guys. Have you had that welcome to being a Badger moment yet with the guys?
Wilson: I've had a few different moments. When I first got here I talked to the team and had a team meeting. I just told the guys that I'm here to work and that I'm here to put in the effort every single day and do the best I can every single day and put in the extra work, as well. I wanted them to know where my mindset was and where my heart truly was. Also the other day, actually, I got thrown into the ice tub. That was a little cold and chilly. That kind of brought me to Madison a little bit. We just had a little dance off, so that was kind of fun.
The other thing coach Bielema said is that you don't want anything given to you. Is it important to make that point to your teammates, that you aren't expecting anything to be handed to you?
Wilson: In athletics and in sports, there is nothing ever guaranteed and nothing should ever be promised. I'm a competitor and I want to be the best every single day. I want to be the best quarterback that steps on the field every Saturday, or Thursday, whatever day it is. I think the main thing is just putting in the effort every single day. When I'm watching film I'm paying attention and making sure I'm really understanding the game and gaining extra things from it from coach Chryst. Also when I'm on the field, just doing the best that I can. I think the main thing about being a quarterback, and from what I've learned from playing the past three years, when you're going through your ups and downs, as a quarterback you have to be the leader of that and get through the ebbs and flows of the game and weather the storm. I think that's the main thing that I bring to the table.
For the past couple of months, we've heard everybody else break down your game and talk about what you might bring to the program. What do you think you bring to the table and is your strength as a quarterback that you'll add to this team?
Wilson: I think that experience is the main thing. I think when the game is on the line, when it's loud and a lot of things are going on, just being cool, calm and collected. That's the main thing. Also, just being relaxed and having fun out on the field and just working every single day. That's what I rely on more than anything, my work ethic. I never try to let anybody try to outwork me. Whether it's a guy here or a guy across the country. That's something my dad always told me. There is always somebody trying to compete against you down the road. Whether it's in the NFL, whether it's here in college or whether it's out in the business world. I think my mindset of working really hard every single day and putting extra work in the film and all that is a positive thing for a football team.
Did you watch the Rose Bowl last year when the Badgers played TCU?
Wilson: Yeah, I did watch it.
All right, truth be told, did you find yourself rooting for the Badgers or the "little guy" TCU?
Wilson: I was actually rooting for the Badgers. They were wearing red and white.
How much of the playbook, realistically, do you think you can get by the first game?
Wilson: I'll be honest with you, I think all of it. Like I said, I'm a quick learner. I graduated in three years for a reason. I think with my work ethic and being in the film room extra and then also coach Chryst really helping me trying to learn everything and understand everything. Like I said, it's not too much different from what I ran at NC State to be honest with you. So both of them are pro offenses, which truly helps me because I've been in that type of offense. I think that's a positive thing.
Is the main thing terminology? What's the biggest difference?
Wilson: Concepts, they're all the same. Just the naming, I guess you could call it terminology, whatever you would call the play or the formation. It's just called something completely different. That's something that I have to keep working on. I'm learning everything one day at a time and I'm doing a good job of it, I believe. I've just got to keep going.
How much extra time a day, could you give an estimate, do you dip your nose in the playbook?
Wilson: Without practicing? You know, I'd probably spend a good 10-to-12 hours, at least, probably a day.
That's besides practice?
Wilson: Yeah, I spend a good amount of time looking at it. I take note cards with me every single where I go, except for when I'm talking to you right now. Other than that, I take them with me everywhere.
How helpful have Jon Budmayr and the other quarterbacks been with you in picking up the offense?
Wilson: They've been great, especially that first month I was here in terms of just throwing with the guys and just trying to get to know some of the little plays in terms of play action or the footwork. If they did anything, what they call those types of plays. So that way, I kind of kick-started it into understanding what they're trying to do as an offense. They've been truly helpful and that's a good thing.