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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jim Wyman & Scot Tolzien

Jim Wyman taught and was the PA announcer at Palatine Fremd in the Chicago suburbs. He relayed the story that he never had Wisconsin's star QB, Scot Tolzien in class but of course was on the PA for his football games. After the season was over, Jim got a card with a long note from Tolzien. The note was to thank Jim for helping make Scot's football experience at Fremd special. Many of you may have caught the ESPN story about how Scot got connected with a young boy in Madison with cancer. We hear the negatives of big time athletes, this is certainly a positive story. 


Here are some quotes by Scot and about Scot taken from a Chicago Tribune story. I think they are good for all athletes to hear!



"Personal accolades, personal attention, means nothing," the 6-foot-3, 205-pound fifth-year senior said on the cusp of The Grandaddy of Them All. "Our goal since the end of last season was to get somewhere great like this and that's exactly what we've accomplished — as a team."


''There is no question that Scott compares with the very best of our quarterbacks," said Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, the coach who began the long resurrection of the grateful red 20 years ago. "But beyond that is the person he is — so unassuming, so selfless, involved with so many youth groups, giving back so much to the community."


"I am," Tolzien said, "simply an ordinary guy who didn't give up." His initial three seasons in Madison, including a redshirt freshman fall, Tolzien remained buried on Chryst's depth chart. "I learned and I stayed as positive as possible," Tolzien said. "And I worked."


They lost to Michigan State for their only loss. "Of course that's the one we want back," Tolzien said. "What we really want back is the week to prepare before the game. We had a very average week of practice — and it showed."


The following is the whole article....




Scot Tozien from the Chicago Tribune


There is no pass in "On, Wisconsin." Parse the 16 lines of the fabled college fight song and you will find "plunge," "run" and "fight." Deeper in lies "raise," "stand" and "salute."But "pass"? No pass.
Scott Tolzien can live with that — even if he is the quarterback entrusted with field-managing the No. 4 Badgers(11-1) to victory Saturday over No. 3 TCU (12-0) in the Rose Bowl.

"Personal accolades, personal attention, means nothing," the 6-foot-3, 205-pound fifth-year senior said on the cusp of The Grandaddy of Them All. "Our goal since the end of last season was to get somewhere great like this and that's exactly what we've accomplished — as a team."

But what a team, especially the offense. Close to 1,600 pounds of seasoned interior lineman are augmented by tight end Lance Kendricks and a trio of slip-slam tailbacks — James White, Montee Ball and John Clay — who have accounted for 2,829 rushing yards this season.

That herd of blue-ribbon Holsteins has enabled coach Bret Bielema and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to call the passing shots for Tolzien with all the precision of the climax of a John Ford western.

The astute quarterback has responded with numbers guaranteed to goggle. Consider:

• His completion percentage of 74.3 leads the nation and is on line to break Darrell Bevell's Big Ten's single-season record of 67.8 set during Wisconsin's breakthrough Rose Bowl season of 1993.

• Tolzien's passer rating of 169.8 is tops in school history and fourth in the nation behind only Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton of Auburn (188.2), Kellen Moore of Boise State (182.6) and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas (170.5).

• The Badgers are 21-4 with Tolzien as their starting quarterback and in the red zone this year, he is 27 of 32 for 256 yards and 15 touchdowns with only one interception — a passing efficiency rating of 300.01.

"The numbers speak to Scotty's intelligence, poise, preparation and ability to throw a football," said Chryst, a 2010 Frank Broyles Award finalist as the nation's top assistant. "But there is so much about him that they don't address."

''There is no question that Scott compares with the very best of our quarterbacks," said Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, the coach who began the long resurrection of the grateful red 20 years ago. "But beyond that is the person he is — so unassuming, so selfless, involved with so many youth groups, giving back so much to the community."

"I am," Tolzien said, "simply an ordinary guy who didn't give up."

Steadfast

Giving up is not acceptable in the Tolzien household of northwest suburban Rolling Meadows. Brothers Michael (a lieutenant in the Air Force after graduating from the Air Force Academy in '08), Scottand Mark, a reserve quarterback at Holy Cross, are testament to that.

Mike, their dad, has a bachelor's in architecture from Illinois. Against odds, he won varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball at Prospect High School despite getting about as much playing time as a cellist on tour with Eminem.

"I don't think the athletic pedigree came from me," he chuckles.

Ginny, their mom, earned her degree in recreation from Western Illinois. In part because of the Canadian roots of her mother, Marie, she achieved some degree of adolescent success as a speed skater while at Marillac High School in Northfield.

They met at her job with the Mount Prospect Park District. Mike was there to register a touch football team. The sign-up led to chat, to flirt, to love, to marriage, to the 2011 Rose Bowl.

"I coached in the Palatine Amateur Football Association for 12 years," Mike said. "Michael was the first to register, when he was 8. And Scott, who was 6 years old at the time, came along. He started bawling his eyeballs out so much when Michael got his helmet and pads that we got him some, too. Just kind of ceremonial, just to quiet him down."

First Scott, and later Mark, were star quarterbacks at Fremd High School. But when college scouts came sniffing around, few picked up Scott's trail.

"My parents told me just to be patient and that something good would come along," he said.

As recruiting deadlines approached, Toledo and Kentucky appeared the most ardent suitors. In a twist of fate that only the spirit of Badger legend Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch could explain, Bielema answered Mike and Ginny's promise to their son.

Working toward goal

His initial three seasons in Madison, including a redshirt freshman fall, Tolzien remained buried on Chryst's depth chart.

"I learned and I stayed as positive as possible," Tolzien said. "And I worked."

In the spring of 2009, Tolzien's stock exploded. By the start of the season, he was the man.

"It wasn't like Scotty suddenly changed and his success came out of nowhere," Chryst said. "From Day 1, he was about learning and progressing and working. When his opportunity came along, he was certainly ready for it."

That readiness showed on his first play as a starting quarterback against Northern Illinois, when he connected with Isaac Anderson for an 80-yard touchdown pass. That margin would hold up in a 28-20 victory.

In the end, the Badgers concluded that season 10-3 including a 20-14 victory over Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl. The three losses — to Ohio State, Iowa and Northwestern — were avenged this season.

"But there was nothing about payback in any one of them this fall," Tolzien said. "We played each one simply as our next football game and that was it. We prepared well and worked hard and beat each of them. Although I will say beating the No. 1 team in the nation, Ohio State, at a packed Camp Randall Stadium is, I'm sure, a memory that will stay with me for my lifetime."

Getting back up

The blemish on the 2010 Badgers' otherwise rosy complexion remains a 34-24 loss at Michigan State in their Big Ten opener on Oct. 2. Without it, they likely would be playing for the BCS national championship Jan. 10.

Almost all facets of the team struggled in East Lansing. Tolzien finished 11 of 25 for 127 yards. The Spartans dominated total offensive yardage, 444-292. They also stole a page from the Badgers' book by mounting an eight-minute touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

"Of course that's the one we want back," Tolzien said. "What we really want back is the week to prepare before the game. We had a very average week of practice — and it showed."

No less a Madison sage than Pat Richter — hero of the school's legendarily gallant 42-37 loss to USC in the 1963 Rose Bowl and later the athletic director wise enough to hire Alvarez — puts that defeat in an engaging perspective.

"When I was with the (Washington) Redskins, coach (Vince) Lombardi got sick, but he was still sending us notes and I'll never forget one of the last ones he sent," Richter said. "It said, 'The greatest impact of a loss is not so much determined by what is lost but by what is left and what you do with it.'

"I think that is so applicable to Bret's team this season. They could have lost focus after losing their Big Ten opener. Instead, they won seven straight."

As for Tolzien?

"I'm not saying Scott is Bart Starr at this point," Richter said. "But his ability to manage games, make plays when necessary and help elevate the talent around him within a winning system reminds me of what Bart Starr did in Green Bay."

Making most of chances

Starr aside, Tolzien's name crossed paths with that of another NFL legend three weeks ago in Baltimore when he collected the 2010 Johnny Unitas award as the top senior quarterback in the nation.

That honor came three nights after the consumer affairs major was one of 16 scholar-athletes the National Football Foundation recognized at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Tolzien received an $18,000 scholarship toward graduate school. Nice. But maybe best of all?

"I also got to talk to Archie Manning, which was an unbelievable thrill," he said.

Now comes his college football valedictory, against Gary Patterson and TCU, an ensemble that has won 24 of its last 25 games and leads the nation in several critical defensive categories including scoring, total yards, passing and passing efficiency.

The Horned Frogs are hovering as 3-point favorites.

"The experience is phenomenal," Tolzien said. "But as Coach Bielema has emphasized, once the palm trees and Disneyland are out of your mind, you have to focus on preparation and fundamentals. Whatever it may seem, once the football is kicked off, it's another game."

And beyond the Rose Bowl?

"Scott Tolzien is draftable," said ESPN's Chris Spielman of Tolzien's NFL stock. "I knew from his junior year that he had a boatload of potential and it was just a question of his getting more and more reps. I think he will probably be a second-day pick, fourth, fifth or sixth round, and then it becomes a question of what kind of situation he comes into, what kind of opportunity he gets."

His next opportunity comes Saturday. He has brought the Badgers back to the Rose Bowl.

Wisconsin? In Pasadena? Look at that. Scott Tolzien put the "pass" in "On, Wisconsin" after all.

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