Last year it was Danny O’Brien (has since transfered to a D2 school) who beat out current Badgers Joel Stave and Curt Phillips for the role of starting quarterback at the end of fall camp.
This time around, Stave and Phillips try to fend off a talented junior college transfer, Tanner McEvoy, in what’s supposed to be a revamped offense that’s not short on playmakers.
Here’s a look at all three candidates and a good guy/bad guy perspective for each:
Joel Stave (So.)
2012 Stats: 70-for-119 (.588), 1104 yards and 6 TD/3 INT
Good Guy: Stave has played extremely well in spring ball and early this fall. He’s emerged as the frontrunner for the starting job on August 31st against UMass and yields the strongest arm of the three candidates. He also has a decent amount of experience after being thrown in to the fire against Utah State last year. He doesn’t always make the right throw, but he’s only a redshirt sophomore.
Bad Guy: After watching Stave extensively in seven games last season, it was quite evident he needs to improve his mobility in the pocket. Watching him play football reminds me of that 90′s cartoon, Gargoyles, but not when they were alive and running around. He’s a complete statue when a quick decision is not made and it’s the reason a Michigan State defender was able to lay him out and break his collar-bone in 2012.
Tanner McEvoy (So.)
2012 Stats (with Arizona Western College): 124-for-182 (.681), 1813 yards and 24 TD/5 INT
Good Guy: McEvoy is by far the most athletic of the three quarterbacks and will always have a leg up as Gary Andersen’s personal recruit. He’s a guy who dazzles with his arm plus legs and was originally enrolled at South Carolina, before transfering out because he wanted to play sooner. If McEvoy can overcome Stave and Phillips during Fall Camp, we could be looking at a lethal combination in the backfield with running backs James White and Melvin Gordon.
Bad Guy: McEvoy just arrived on campus a short while ago and what the great Russell Wilson did in one summer with a new playbook was quite amazing from a learning standpoint. O’Brien showed he couldn’t quite grasp the concept in 2012 and there’s nothing that points towards McEvoy catching on very quickly. Even though his athleticism is downright intriguing, it just might not be his year.
Curt Phillips (Sr.)
2012 Stats: 46-for-81 (56.8), 540 yards and 5 TD/2 INT
Good Guy: The sixth year senior has more experience in the locker room and on the sidelines than pretty much any active college football player in America. He’s also well-liked by the other players and isn’t a complete mismatch for the type of offense Andersen wants to run. It’s evident he’s not the most sexy pick to be the starting quarterback, but there’s no reason he cant’ be a wonderful option to fill in and still contribute on a weekly basis.
Bad Guy: Phillips struggles to make an accurate pass over 15 yards. When opposing defenses know the deep ball is taken out of the equation, it makes it a lot easier to key in on the Badgers’ run game. This was a huge reason Stanford was able to slow
Wisconsin down in the Rose Bowl because they knew they weren’t getting beat over the top. Additionally, Phillips multiple knee injuries make him a liability in the open field and he’s not nearly as fast as he once was as a highly-touted recruit.
Who do you think should start for the Badgers in 2013? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys sharing Fantasy Advice and pretends to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Pictures obtained from UWBadgers Football Facebook Page.