As he sits in the film room to review practice tape, junior center Peter Konz sees every throw, every run and every play Wilson executes. When he's sitting alone watching the highlights, Konz must mutter ‘wow' a few times, right?
"Nope," Konz deadpanned. "I just expect it."
There have been a lot of expectations since Wilson decided in June to transfer from N.C. State to Wisconsin for his senior season, starting with the wide spread belief that he will be named the starter when the Badgers open the season in primetime at home against UNLV. That decision is expected to come this week, but the decision Sunday shows just how much his new teammates have taken to him.
"It speaks a lot to the kind of person he is and how hard he has worked with our guys," said tight end coach Joe Rudolph, who was a team captain for Wisconsin in 1994. "He doesn't ask for favors, he just goes out and works."
Through two-plus weeks of fall camp, Wilson has had to deal with a depleted wide receivers unit and a jumbled offensive line, but the 5-11, 210-pound signal caller hasn't shown signs of distress. After a whole summer playing baseball, Wilson said his 10-to-12 daily hours with the playbook has allowed him to be ‘entire comfortable' with the playbook.
"I feel really comfortable and that's a positive thing," Wilson said. "I've learned a lot. I feel really comfortable with the offense, the playbook and the guys on offense. We just have to keep working together and have fun with it. Every day is an opportunity to get better and be opportunistic, so you just have to enjoy the moment."
That's the same philosophy sophomore linebacker Chris Borland takes when he lines up against Wilson. Having been used to more stationary quarterbacks in Jon Budmayr and Scott Tolzien over the last few seasons, Wilson's abilities have been a change of pace for the defense.
In two practices this fall, Wilson convincingly sold a toss sweep to the left, rolled out to his right and out ran all the defenders for a 50-plus yard touchdown. When a defender did maintain backside containment, like Antonio Fenelus did, Wilson has the ability to make a juke or false step to get the defender off balance in a hurry. In Fenelus' case, Wilson caused him to lose his balance, fall to the turf and forced to watch him run sprinting by.
"It's hard on everybody, the defensive line especially," Borland said. "The guy can buy time. If the running lanes get bigger, he can tuck it. That's a dangerous asset for the offense. We're dealing with during camp. Hopefully our opponents can deal with it during the season."
Not only is it a challenge on the defense, it's a change of pace for the offensive line. With Tolzien in the pocket, Konz said the main goal was stopping defenders from going vertical, seeing as horizontal wasn't as big of concern with Tolzien staying in the pocket as long as possible. With Wilson's ability to run and extend plays, it's become essential for linemen like Konz to maintain his blocks and his assignments.
"It's not something you really need to work on, but it's something you need to be aware of," Konz said. "He's going to be a playmaker, no doubt. If we are doing our jobs, he'll make those special plays he'll make later on.
"He is still adjusting and it's hard being able to jump right into the offense and learn everything without playing it. With me being able to go up and talk to him about what's going on or what guys are worried about if something is off, he works to make it better."
Wilson is a walking book of clichés, saying things like ‘100 yards is 100 yards whether you are home or away' or ‘we just need to take one day at a time.' There's a reason then why Wilson hasn't bought into the ‘Big Ten Title of Bust' theory that has been spreading around Madison like a brush fire.
With 10 days until the opener, Wilson, despite his two promotions, isn't ready to stop putting in the preseason work.
"It's all about one game at a time, one practice at a time and do a great job with it," Wilson said. "Every day, it's a winning mentality. There's nothing better than seeing other guys successful. As a quarterback, you want to facilitate the ball to the right guy and letting them score a touchdown. That's what I get excited about, making positive things happen."