Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema has yet to name a starting quarterback. But there seems little doubt in Madison that it will be junior Danny O'Brien, a transfer from Maryland.
According to reports, O'Brien hasn't wowed anyone on the field in the preseason because he has lacked accuracy. But he has been a huge hit in the locker room.
"Danny has truly handled himself with more maturity than I can ever imagine," Bielema told UWBadgers.com. "He's very serious when he steps out of the locker room and he walks out here. He's very engaged with what's going on."
O'Brien's competition for the starting job isn't daunting. Senior Curt Phillips has undergone three ACL surgeries to the same knee. Redshirt freshman Joel Stave is a former walk-on who beat out Phillips in the spring before the arrival of O'Brien.
When O'Brien came to Wisconsin, comparisons to 2011 quarterback Russell Wilson, who transferred from N.C. State, were inevitable.
But Wisconsin insiders are comparing O'Brien to 2009-10 starter Scott Tolzien, the school's career completion percentage leader at .681 and a low-risk game manager who operated behind a massive line and in a loaded backfield.
The same elements are still in place for the Badgers, giving O'Brien a great chance to thrive with his new team. He's already a popular presence.
"He's really genuine in everything he says to the media or to us," tackle and roommate Travis Frederick said. "It's really the truth."
- Kevin Dunleavy