Two-Year Starter Joel Stave Forced to Fight for His Spot
So why is there a quarterback controversy in Madison?
Yes, that’s right. The two-year starter Stave now faces a four-headed quarterback competition going into fall camp.
A lot of Badgers fans want to see what Tanner McEvoy can do. McEvoy is that dual-threat athlete coach Gary Andersen used while with Utah State (à la Chuckie Keeton). McEvoy came to Madison from Arizona Western College, picking Wisconsin over Florida, West Virginia and Oregon. He was seen as the quarterback Wisconsin needed to have in the 2013 recruiting class.
How good of an athlete is McEvoy? With Stave firmly in place last year he was used as a safety. Back at Arizona Western, McEvoy shredded the competition, including a 417-yard, five-touchdown game. That was against… Scottsdale Community College.
Then there’s sophomore Bart Houston. He is the only other quarterback on the roster to throw a Division IA pass, completing an eight-yarder in mop-up duty during last year’s opener against Massachusetts. Many people think freshman D.J. Gillins is the future, but there’s no way the future is now.
So it looks like Stave vs. McEvoy. The now-grizzled veteran against the Community College human highlight reel.
The big knocks on Stave are injuries, inconsistency, and interceptions.
Stave threw 13 picks last year. Three of them came in the critical loss to Penn State that ended the Badgers’ chance to repeat as Big Ten champions. There has also been the problem of missing open receivers and not making the right reads. And this year he won’t have Jared Abbrederis to bail him out.
Lastly, don’t forget about the injuries. A shoulder injury knocked Stave out of the Michigan State game in 2012, and missed the rest of the season except for one pass in the Rose Bowl. Stave also hurt his shoulder in the recent Capital One Bowl and missed the spring game.
Andersen says it’s Stave’s job to lose, and that’s the way it should be. Stave had to learn a new system last year and still excelled. He will need to clean up the mistakes to take Wisconsin back to that next level, but there is no reason Stave shouldn’t be the starter when Bucky travels to Houston to take on the LSU Tigers on August 30.
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