Unwavering Confidence

Although the addition of a new veteran quarterback and more elbow problems have put him in line to be the backup for the second straight season, redshirt sophomore Jon Budmayr is undeterred in his quest to become a better quarterback.

MADISON - When head coach Bret Bielema talked with Jon Budmayr in the middle of summer to tell him the coaching staff was going to try and recruit senior transfer quarterback Russell Wilson, the response the sixth-year head coach got was the mature response not often given by a redshirt sophomore.

"He said, ‘Coach, it doesn't change how I am going to prepare,'" Bielema recalled. "That said a lot to me about what kind of person he is and where his mind is at."

So even with his right throwing arm tightly wrapped and sidelined for the last six practices, Budmayr is undeterred, even though it could be at least another week before he's able to practice again.

"I'm making progress, so I am just taking it day by day and hoping to get back out there," Budmayr said.

There was real concern when Budmayr started complaining Tuesday about pain in his right elbow, the same elbow he had surgery on and missed roughly two months as a true freshman. Still wanting to get some work in, Budmayr decided Wednesday to simply work hand offs. When his elbow started to swell and the pain didn't subside, x-rays were ordered.

According to Bielema, a leak in the bursa of Budmayr's right elbow caused the swelling that has prevented Budmayr from throwing. When the swelling goes down, Budmayr will be cleared to resume his competition with Wilson for the starting quarterback job, but the concern is still there.

"You are concerned for now," offensive coordinator Paul Chryst said. "There's a reason why we have camp. It's valuable, and that's where you are concerned what you miss with (him). Like anything, you have to make the best of the situation you have … The one good thing is that (he has) experience, (he) know(s) what we are doing and then can come out and get back into physically doing it."

After last spring's scrimmage game, Budmayr's numbers showed he was improving from the previous year's spring game (84 yards and two interceptions last year, 10 of 23 for 113 yards and one interception this year), attributing to the fact that his whole understand of the game is far greater than it was the year before.

Still, he knew it wasn't good enough, and that he wasn't where he needed to be if he was going to be the team's starting quarterback for the season opener.

"My biggest thing this whole summer was getting in the film room, getting our playbook down, getting our opponents down and then really hitting the weight room hard, whether that he workouts or throwing and conditioning," Budmayr said. "I just tried to improve all my skills for this time now. My expectations haven't changed at all. I am going to go out and take advantage of each opportunity I get each day and try to make myself better."

Transfer quarterbacks haven't always been the smooth transition for other Wisconsin quarterbacks. Figuring he would start the 2008 season, former UW quarterback Dustin Sherer admitted that his confidence took a hit when it was announced that former Kansas State quarterback Allan Evridge was transferring to Wisconsin.

That wavering confidence was shown in the '08 fall camp when Sherer put too much pressure on himself, struggled as a result of it and basically handed the job to Evridge.

Budmayr, who was teammates with Sherer for one season, hasn't shown the same wavering in his psyche, a product of his belief in whatever happens, happens, and a result of him having battle through bigger challenges in his career, like breaking his collarbone and having to miss his entire high school senior season.

"You get to this level and there are going to be guys coming in every year," Budmayr said. "There are guys that might be better than you and some guys that might not be. You can never be satisfied and that's the approach I have always taken. The competition is with myself. I have to make sure I am making myself better each day and making the team better."

Knowing that philosophy, it's been hard for Budmayr to watch practice in sweats with an arm wrap on his elbow, knowing each day he misses is another day he misses the opportunity to compete for the starting job. Budmayr admits he would be disappointed, but undeterred in his quest to lead the Badgers.

"That's a goal of mine, but I can't let the discouragement of not being the starter ruin the rest of my career. I truly believe that God has a plan for everything, and that plan is already written out. My job is to trust that.

"Russell is a great high character guy and great athlete, too, and great quarterback. It's good for our team and it's great to have him here, but for me personally, I look at it as an opportunity to get better and work with a great quarterback. Hopefully it will help me down the road, too."


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