Varsity is the free Official Online Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.
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Y BEHIND THE DESK BY BARRY ALVAREZ // UW DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS Badgers' success at next level a sweet sight ou feel like you have something invested when you see some of your former players getting the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl. I'm really happy for all of them. It was neat watching the conference championship games last Sunday because two of the key guys were Russell Wilson and Montee Ball. I enjoyed seeing that. I texted Russell the other day and wished him good luck and I got a nice text back from him. He sure does represent UW well even though he wasn't here very long. I don't see anything different in Russell from the quarterback who played for us. I see the same guy in a Seattle uniform. I see a guy who does everything the right way and puts a lot of time in studying the game. The only thing different was how the 49ers played their defensive ends. They were not committing and slanting down like they would on a non-running quarterback. They kept them up the field and wouldn't let him break contain. But that's pro football. Those coaches know what they're doing and teams are going to adjust to what you're doing, especially if you've had some success. Russell was still effective enough to win. He made the key plays. I know everybody wants to be critical of the quarterback position. But I don't think he has the best 16 // VARSITY January 23, 2014 receivers and one of his weapons, Percy Harvin, was gone. So it all comes back on Russell and I thought that he handled it well. It's not surprising. First of all, he's very gifted; he has all the physical tools. He has mobility and quickness and he has a strong arm and a really quick release. He's short, but he knows how to find passing lanes and he sees the whole field. YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE SOMETHING INVESTED WHEN YOU SEE SOME OF YOUR FORMER PLAYERS GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY IN A SUPER BOWL. I'M REALLY HAPPY FOR ALL OF THEM. When he was with us, our coaches always talked about his communication skills, whether he was communicating with the assistants in the press box or he was just talking to his offensive linemen on the sidelines. I'm also happy for two other Seahawks, Chris Maragos and O'Brien Schofield. Chris is another good walk-on story. He found a way to survive on special teams for four years in the league and now he's going to a Super Bowl. That's pretty good. OB wasn't highly recruited but he worked hard. He came in as a big linebacker and we ended up playing him with his hand down. He's a survivor in the league, too. It was surprising to me when Darrell Bevell's name didn't pop up more for some of the head coaching jobs that were open. I think he would make a good head coach. I know Russell and Pete Carroll think very highly of him. It will be just a matter of time before he gets one of those jobs. He's a coach's kid, a gym rat, he knows what it takes. Darrell is a pretty good story. So is Montee. Who knows if he had left school a year earlier how things would have worked out for him? You don't know what would have happened. But he ended up with a good team and organization and it has been a very good situation. I think they are to the point where they're trusting him more. It doesn't hurt when Peyton Manning is your quarterback. That guy is the best. Earlier in the week, I was with his dad, Archie Manning. I've always gotten along with Archie. He's just a neat guy, legitimate. He gives people the time of day, he's a gentleman. We were together for two days of College Football Playoff selection committee meetings. It was more nuts and bolts on how we're going to do it; more about protocol and procedure. It was all good because we're getting some more answers.