“That is definitely one of our team goals but we have to approach it one day at a time and one game at a time,” wide receiver Jared Abbrederis said. “But that is one of the goals set for us and we’ll see what happens.”
First they’ll have to find a quarterback.
O'Brien arrives from Maryland and can play right away because he has graduated, the same rule Wilson used to become eligible right away last year. O'Brien was a starter for most of the past two seasons at Maryland, putting together an impressive 2010 season before struggling with the team’s new offense in 2011.
“I’ve gotten better each year,” O'Brien said. “I’m sticking to that and not worrying about anything else. I’ve got to earn it like anybody else. I wouldn’t want it any other way. My mindset hasn’t changed. I knew what to expect.”
“We all want to play,” said Stave, a redshirt freshman. “We’re all competitors. Someone’s got to separate themselves at some point.”
Phillips, a fifth-year senior, has fought back from a series of knee issues.
“It felt great,” Phillips said. “That’s one of the biggest things coming into camp. I felt my knee’s not an issue at all. We can finally get away from that question and let it rely on how we play.”
Bielema said he hopes to name a starter by Wednesday, Aug. 22 _ 10 days before the first game.
“If it happens before that, it’s just because we feel comfortable,” Bielema said. “Not in a big hurry to make that decision.”
And while last year’s season will be remembered for a pair of heartbreaking last-second losses on big plays by Michigan State and Ohio State, the Badgers expect to be strong on defense.
“I’m really excited,” linebacker Chris Borland said. “We have a lot of experienced players who are back despite not having a lot of seniors. We have a lot of guys who have played some meaningful football contending for meaningful roles this year.”