Sunday Morning Hangover: Replacing Joel Stave not the answer in Badgers passing game

On Saturday we were guilty of it and so were a lot of you as well. What is that "it" we are talking about? 

Well, here it is in all it's glory: 

Yes, Joel Stave threw another interception on Saturday to put his total for the year at three.

Yes, it was a terrible throw and he needs to eliminate those from his game. 

However, after further examination of what took place on Saturday and what has gone down all season long, the calls for Curt Phillips are a bit premature at a minimum and downright stupid on the other end of the spectrum. 

The one question we, and everyone else, failed to ask in the frustration over another bad throw or another bad interception is perhaps the key to this whole quarterback conundrum—How exactly would Curt Phillips make this team better? 

We aren't asking that question to slight Phillips or what he has done on the field and in the locker room, but it is a legitimate question to ask. 


Last season Phillips made his reputation off of being a "game manager" and of being a master of the two minute drill at quarterback.

However, he wasn't the most accurate individual in the world, hitting on just 56.8 percent of his passes in total and averaging just a little over 11 yards a completion a season ago. 

So, if you are replacing Stave and wanting to see more of Phillips he has to be the answer to what has been lacking in the Badger passing game this season—an ability to hit the deep ball with any semblance of accuracy, right? 

That's not exactly Phillips' forte (as the 11 yards a completion from last year show) and putting him in the game doesn't give the Badgers a better chance to make those kind of plays on a regular basis. His longest play last season was a 57 yarder that was a screen pass to Melvin Gordon to begin with. 

Curt Phillips, while a popular guy for all he has overcome in his career (and rightfully so), doesn't cure what ails the Badgers' passing game. If they were making the change it would be just for changes sake and when is the last time that that worked? 

Still waiting….. 

It would be one thing if we have seen Phillips chucking the ball all over the field and going deep on a regular basis, but that isn't his game and changing to him solves exactly what problem Stave has?

For all the "flaws" in Stave's game he has somehow managed to rank 5th in the conference in passing yards a game (190.2) and is 8th in passer efficiency (145). However, that final stat is a bit misleading as he ranks 7th in passers with more than 30 attempts on the season. 

Stave has also completed 63.2 percent of his passes and thrown for six touchdowns, good for 5th in the Big Ten there as well. He has shown improvement from last season, where he completed just 58.8 percent of his passes as well. 

He is showing growth, and while it would be nice to see him hitting those deep routes and cutting out the bad interceptions, the reality is he still is the only quarterback in a Badger uniform that has the potential to stretch the field with his arm and has proven it on the field before.

It's just time for him to start doing it. 

If he does improve on the deep ball, pairing that with a run game that is averaging just shy of 350 yards a game bcomes a very dangerous combo for opponents the rest of the way.

Does Stave have some things to work on? There's no denying that, however there is vast difference between having a quarterback with things to work on and a quarterback who can't get things done. 

Stave has missed some big time plays this season on deep balls and he needs to get in sync there or the Badgers could be in trouble against better defenses, but replacing him for a guy who is a less productive and smaller armed version of himself doesn't solve the issues.

What will is Stave working through this bout of inaccuracy on the deep ball and getting back on the same page with Jared Abbrederis. 

Now about that whole second wide receiver developing thing…..

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, as well as Publisher of Big Ten site