ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 8: Danny O'Brien #5 of the Maryland Terrapins scrambles against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
After rumblings throughout camp that Curt Phillips and Joel Stave were staking a legitimate claim to the starting quarterback job, Bret Bielema confirmed the inevitable late Sunday in naming Danny O'Brien the starting quarterback for the upcoming season.
What O'Brien brings to table is yet unknown considering how different his first two seasons at Maryland were from one another. He doesn't have to be Russell Wilson to have a net positive influence, but Wisconsin will have a tough time making a third straight Rose Bowl if he posts a 7-10 TD-INT ratio again. O'Brien's freshman year suggests that he won't, but the proof will be in the pudding, as they say.
Meanwhile, things are starting to come together elsewhere on offense. Jordan Fredrick and Kenzel Doe have reportedly solidified themselves among the top three receivers in Zach Azzanni's first-team rotation. The fact that Jeff Duckworth, a proven competent pass-catcher, isn't in the mix at the moment could be seen as a good sign for the two players that jumped him on the depth chart. The same reasoning extends to DL-turned-OL Kyle Costigan moving ahead of Robert Burge, a senior, for the starting spot at right guard.
It may take folks a bit to get used to the new faces on offense, from the coaches and O'Brien on down to the offensive line. Anchored by a Heisman finalist at running back, the expectation is that the Badgers will be prolific once again, however.
Links after the jump.
Wisconsin landed at No. 12 on the preseason AP college football Top 25 released Saturday. Michigan was the top Big Ten team at No. 8 overall. The Wolverines also earned a first-place vote, which was weird.
Vonte Jackson has been impressing at camp. The freshman could redshirt this season if he doesn't take on a special team role. The Badgers are loaded at running back and Jackson is coming off a torn ACL from his senior season in high school.
Bret Bielema reveals more details about the fight that preceded and reportedly led to the Montee Ball incident. Two members of the team were directly involved in the fight, though Bielema declined to name names. Linebacker Cody Byers and receiver Isaiah Williams were left off the 105-man roster when camp started but have since rejoined the team, leading to speculation. The State Journal did a piece on Williams and his struggles this offseason.
Mike Markuson appears to be settling in as the new O-line coach.
Wisconsin is off to a fast start recruiting for the class of 2014. Monona Grove offensive lineman Jaden Gault picked UW over Nebraska and Michigan State, making him the third member of the class.