Wisconsin football will be without their starting quarterback for the foreseeable future after he is injured in practice.
The Wisconsin football team will be depending on someone other than Jack Coan to lead them at the start of the season. According to the Journal Sentinal’s Jeff Potrykus, Coan injured his foot in practice and is expected to undergo surgery. Potrykus also notes that he will likely be out for ‘several weeks.’
This is a huge blow for the Badgers, who have a very good chance to win another Big Ten West division title. Coan is coming off of a nice breakout year, where he threw for over 2,700 yards and 18 touchdowns. He had a 151.8 passer efficiency rating, which was the 19th-best in the entire country. He was smart with the ball, avoiding turnovers, helping lead the Badgers to a 10-4 record and a Rose Bowl appearance.
He was poised to have another good year as the leader of the Badgers, but now Wisconsin football will need to look elsewhere at the quarterback position, at least for the start of the season. With only about three weeks before the Badgers start their season, Coan will still miss a good amount of time.
So what now? I think the signs point to the start of the Graham Mertz era. I think a lot of Wisconsin football fans wanted to see Mertz last season, but Coan played so well, he kept the big-time recruit on the bench, allowing Mertz to redshirt. Now, Mertz will need to step in and lead this Wisconsin team that has College Football Playoff aspirations.
The next question would be, if Coan can come back at some point this season, would he take over for Mertz?
I find it hard to imagine that Coan would be able to work his way back through rehab and get back into shape after having foot surgery and be able to just jump right in without skipping a beat. I think the fact that the season is already shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic will make it even harder. Now if Mertz (or Wolf) struggles this season, there may be a reason for Coan to come back, but if Mertz is as good as advertised, I think Chryst will ride Mertz for the whole season, barring an injury.
All-in-all, I think this ends up being a lost season for Jack Coan. That would open a whole other can of worms. If Mertz plays well, the future is most likely his. But since the NCAA isn’t counting this year against a player’s eligibility, Coan would technically be able to return next year for his final season in Madison.
Hopefully Coan will be able to come back from this injury stronger than ever, but in the meantime, it is the start of the Graham Mertz era for Wisconsin football.