By TOM LEA
MADISON – By now, the secret of Rick Wagner’s stealth is out.
He’s not a big talker. Never was and probably never will be.
That, in short, is why Bret Bielema was somewhat surprised when he saw his senior left tackle earn enough votes to be named one of six UW captains.
And that’s why Travis Frederick, one of Wagner’s friends and fellow offensive lineman, was also a little taken aback by the development.
“I was just a touch surprised,” Frederick said. “Just because he’s not the most vocal guy. But he sets the bar high in everything that he does and the way that he works. He’s a lead by example guy and he is truly, probably, one of the best guys on the team to be one of those lead by example guys.”
It’s tradition inside the football offices of Camp Randall Stadium to address the team once you’re named captain. Bielema called up each of the six winners and had them say a little something to their teammates.
Bielema was blown away by Rick’s message when he had the chance to step up in front of a crowded room and speak.
“Ricky stood up and says, ‘I’m not a big vocal leader,’ Bielema said. “They all kind of laughed. It’s probably the first time he talked to half of them in the room. He goes, I’m more of a leader by action. That’s exactly what he is. He took an aside and said, ‘If anybody in this room is a walk-on and has any problems or anything I can help with, I used to sit in your shoes.’
“He just said some really great things to the walk-ons.”
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