Wisconsin football will be without Graham Mertz for two to three weeks.
On Sunday evening, it was reported the Wisconsin football quarterback Graham Mertz, tested positive for Covid-19 on the rapid tests. This has been a common occurrence around the NCAA, but most of them have turned out to be false positives when the players were tested again. To make sure, Mertz was administered a cotton swab test, which is a more accurate test.
While we were waiting to hear back about Mertz’s second test, it was noted that backup quarterback Chase Wolf was absent from practice on Friday. This got Wisconsin fans pretty worried. If both Mertz and Wolf caught the virus, who would be play quarterback this Saturday against Nebraska? Or, more importantly, would there even be a game against Nebraska?
When Paul Chryst met with reporters via Zoom on Monday, he said he wouldn’t talk about whether or not players had the virus. He did say that he was confident there would be a game this Saturday, which means the virus was likely contained to just a few people.
So if there’s no Mertz and no Wolf, who will be the quarterback for this Wisconsin football team this weekend? All indications are pointing to Danny Vanden Boom.
Now, Danny Vanden Boom isn’t any old walk-on. He’s had an extremely successful high school career. He played at Kimberly High School in Wisconsin, which, for those who don’t know, is a powerhouse school. While Vanden Boom was their QB, they won multiple state titles and awards. He had offers from schools like North Dakota State and Eastern Illinois but decided to walk-on at Wisconsin, where his dad played.
Vanden Boom has played for the Badgers a little bit. He made an appearance back in the 2018 season where his lone pass was completed for a 3-yard touchdown. So he’s not completely inexperienced, just mostly.
While I feel better knowing our 4th-string quarterback is DVB, it will still make things a lot tougher to win. The Badgers are going to have to prioritize running the ball, something they really didn’t do that well against Illinois.
You can bet Nebraska will be loading the box and force Wisconsin to beat them through the air. If there is ever a 2-3 week stretch for DVB to have the best games of his life, this is it. Luckily, Nebraska will be without two of their starters in their secondary for the first half after being ejected for targeting penalties against Ohio State.
The good news is Mertz may only have to miss two weeks. Badgerswire editor, Asher Low, made a good point on Twitter.
It’s a lot of hoops to jump through, but it is possible. It isn’t an ideal situation but have some faith that Paul Chryst will design a gameplan that will work to Vanden Boom’s strengths and take some pressure off of him. If the defense can continue to play as they did against Illinois, the Badgers could still win these next few games.