Janesville81°

Wilson shouldn’t have opening jitters

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Jeff Potrykus
August 31, 2011
— Stage fright?

Russell Wilson isn’t worried that he will suffer from that malady during his debut as Wisconsin’s starting quarterback Thursday against Nevada-Las Vegas.


“Nah, I won’t be nervous,” Wilson said. “I’ll be good to go. I’m excited to play here for the first time. I’m excited to see what the fans are like. It should be a good game.


“It’s a great opportunity. When you prepare, you’re not nervous.”


Wilson understands what is at stake. UW enters the season ranked No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and No. 11 in The Associated Press poll. UW is expected to reach the first-ever Big Ten Conference title game.


Yet Wilson also understands he has experience on his side. He started 36 games over three seasons at North Carolina State and played minor-league baseball.


That experience, coupled with the poise Wilson displayed in making the transition to UW, leaves coach Bret Bielema at ease heading into his sixth season.


“I’ve never been around him on game day so it is going to be a learning experience,” Bielema said. “(But) you tend to see players react in a game by what you’ve learned during practice and how they are off the field.


“And this kid is pretty calm, cool and collected.


“He handles everything that comes at him and doesn’t really skip a beat.”


Welch out, French in


With senior Philip Welch still bothered by a sore right quadriceps, redshirt freshman Kyle French is set to handle field-goal and extra-point attempts in the opener.


“He’s got a pretty no-nonsense demeanor,” Bielema said of French, from Menomonee Falls High School. “He is a pretty serious kid. I found that out during recruiting.”


Redshirt sophomore Alec Lerner is still set to handle kickoffs.



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