So much for conventional wisdom and “seeing the way things are going” in practice — most of the conventional thought from the media covering the Badgers at fall camp was that Joel Stave had pulled ahead of fellow junior Tanner McEvoy and would be the guy coming out of the tunnel leading the team against LSU.
However, Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting on Friday that three sources have indicated that Tanner McEvoy is going to be Wisconsin’s starting quarterback for the season opener.
Stave had reportedly been taking the majority of the snaps available to the media leading up to the second scrimmage of fall camp. That scrimmage was supposed to be open to the media, but it wasn’t and therefore no new information on the QB battle was able to be gleaned.
That was especially the case when head coach Gary Andersen stuck to the same line used last season before Stave came out as the opening day starter just like most figured. Following Monday’s scrimmage, Andersen had this to say about the QB battle:
“Both those kids are still right there. Like I said a long time ago, we may know who the starter is, but we’re not going to say who the starter is until we jog out on the field for the LSU game. There’s no big announcement.”
It would be McEvoy’s first start at quarterback since playing at Arizona Western Community College in 2012. During that season, McEvoy passed for 1,943 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushed for 414 yards and six touchdowns.
Stave was the season-long starter last year, but the combination of little help for Jared Abbrederis and inopportune mistakes by the quarterback led to an open competition this spring and fall.
McEvoy got almost all the first-team reps in spring with Stave out while recovering from a shoulder injury. He also battled hard in fall camp, and apparently after discussing it as a coaching staff, the Badgers saw what they wanted out of McEvoy.
It may also be an indication that head coach Gary Andersen wants to be much more multiple in the offense in 2014. Having McEvoy behind center gives the Badgers a running option at quarterback, much more so than with Stave back there.
However, we aren’t likely to know the actual starter from Andersen’s mouth until the Badgers offense goes out on the field for the first time in the game against LSU on Aug. 30.