Big Ten teams take note. Wisconsin’s touchdown machine, Montee Ball, has offered up his talented services on special teams.
With a curious group of reporters huddled around, he was pressed on if head coach Bret Bielema would possibly consider this fascinating offer. Ball simply muttered a quiet “No, not at all,” smiling the entire time.
Coming off a gargantuan 2011 season, Montee Ball’s B1G Media Days experience was centered in large part around managing expectations. Last year, he was able to fly through much of the season under the radar. That’s not the case in 2012, not after 39 touchdowns and a fourth- place finish in the Heisman voting.
“I’m living my life in a fishbowl,” Ball said in response to his recent collegiate fame, although he’s not shying away from this.
“I want to break records, I want to go undefeated,” Ball remarked when asked about his personal expectations going forward. Each time he passed along his own personal goals, however, he brought the entire team into the equation. He also couldn’t help but smile when he was asked to discuss the size of his offensive linemen.
And they’re not the only ones with some added size. Ball discussed his personal increase in size. He weighed 206 pounds last year and has bumped that up to 215. His strength has also gone up, and he’s now bench pressing 370 pounds, up from 320.
As for the Heisman chatter, it’s already underway. Wisconsin already has the ball rolling (zing!) on Ball’s Heisman campaign. Ball also can't help but think about the hardware.
Wisconsin announces "The Fall Belongs To Ball" Heisman campaign for Montee Ball. Nice to see they're promoting the right guy this year.— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) July 26, 2012
“I’m not going to lie to you and say I’m not thinking about it,” Ball said. “It’s in the back of my mind.”
As it should be. Montee’s tremendous expectations of himself and of his team are a positive. Although it will be one hell of a challenge to repeat his offensive output from a season ago, the team certainly has room to grow following a few tough, late losses.
No, Montee Ball won’t be retuning kicks come 2012, despite his desire to contribute any way possible. But he is back, stronger and more confident than ever, and that’s a scary thought for the rest of the Big Ten.
And he'll be smiling the entire time. Lookout, Heisman.
Adam Kramer is a Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.