Last Wednesday the Davey O’Brien Award watch list was released with 39 quarterbacks from around the country landing on said list. One of those quarterbacks just happens to be Wisconsin Badgers Joel Stave. There’s just one little problem. He might not even be the starter when the Badgers take the field against LSU at NRG Stadium on Saturday, August 30th to kick off the season.
Oh yes my fellow Badger faithful, Stave could be on the sideline holding a clipboard watching Tanner McEvoy, who came to UW as a quarterback but converted to safety last year (and a good one at that I might add), lead Wisconsin’s offense onto the field.
Last year saw Stave become very inconsistent at times, especially throwing the deep ball and even dumping it down to a check-down receiver. His most inconsistent game came in the regular season finale against Penn State. In that game Stave threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns. But he also threw three picks as he went just 29-53, a measly 54.7 completion percentage. In fact through the course of the 2013 season, Stave had a completion percentage as high as 82.8 (48-0 drubbing of Tennessee Tech) and as low as 46.7 (a 51-3 blowout of Indiana where he went just 7-15 and 122 yards).
Then, in the Capital One Bowl loss to South Carolina, Stave went down with a shoulder injury that caused him to miss most of spring practices. Cue McEvoy and his opportunity to step into the starter role. Tanner has shown great strides in the offseason and looks poised to take Stave’s spot. Head coach Gary Andersen has even said he wants to add another dynamic to the playbook, something Wisconsin has not seen since Russell Wilson. McEvoy gives the Badgers offense that extra wrinkle in the playbook with his mobility.
Time will tell if it will be Stave or McEvoy under center this season. Both have competed hard this offseason for the starting nod, but if I had to choose right now I’d give the slight edge to McEvoy. A very slight edge.