Badgers QB Situation Either Is or Isn’t Solved
It’s no secret the Wisconsin Badgers have been playing bad football, particularly on offense. The evidence is all over the place. The questions remain, though. Whose fault is it? And how can Bret Bielema’s crew get things turned around?
Having already fired offensive line coach Mike Markuson just two games into Markuson’s tenure, Bielema is refraining from making any more changes involving the paid personnel. He is, however, making a change at quarterback. Maybe. Sort of. It’s hard to tell.
Reports earlier on Monday said that Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien’s starting job was safe, despite O’Brien being benched at halftime of Wisconsin’s uninspired and undeserved 16-14 victory over Utah State Saturday night. Bielema threw a wrench into things at his weekly news conference, stating that O’Brien and Joel Stave, who replaced O’Brien on Saturday, were officially co-No. 1s on the depth chart for this week’s home game with UTEP. O’Brien, on the season, is 44 of 71 for 454 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Stave is 2 of 6 for 15 with no touchdowns and no picks.
If you don’t get why Bielema is having trouble making up his mind, join the club. It’s true that under Stave the Badgers did rally to win the game but it sure didn’t look like he had much to do with it. It was more a factor of the Wisconsin offensive line making some baby steps, Montee Ball starting to look like a Wisconsin running back again, and the entire team finally realizing it could possibly lose to Utah State if it didn’t get its act together.
It would be easy to say that the Badgers obviously miss Russell Wilson. What team wouldn’t? It’s not that simple, however. The Badgers just as clearly miss Nick Toon and Jared Abbrederis. (Abbrederis may play this week but has concussion symptoms. Toon, if you had forgotten about him, is now with the New Orleans Saints.) The person they’re really missing, though, is former offensive line coach Bob Bostad, now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If you need a reason why the Badger offense has looked so bad so far this season, the list starts with Bostad and not Wilson.
Obviously, a team can’t start two quarterbacks. Bielema is being cagey about who will be under center first on Saturday but says the quarterbacks themselves know. I’m guessing it will be O’Brien. Will his benching light a fire under him and cause him to bring up his game? I don’t know. Will a little uncertainty make the rest of Wisconsin’s offense hunker down a bit? No idea. Will any of this make the Badger offense look more like the point-a-minute units of 2010 and 2011? I doubt it, but one thing’s for sure: Either it will or it won’t. One more thing’s for sure: At the moment the Badgers look more like a 4-8 football team than a 10-2 one.