MADISON, Wis. - While nothing is official, based on what I saw at practice Thursday -- and from what I heard from numerous sources earlier this week -- Curt Phillips appears to have passed Dustin Sherer as UW's starting quarterback.
A starter for the season opener won't be named until Wednesday, but by my count Phillips took 61 percent of the snaps during the final portion of Thursday's practice. Meanwhile, Sherer took less snaps than junior quarterback Scott Tolzien who seems like an afterthought for the starting job.
But despite the number of snaps given to Phillips, it was Sherer that looked like the sharper quarterback on this day. Sherer was 3-for-5 in the late portion of practice including a nice touchdown pass to Maurice Moore on a play action fake inside the 10-yard line. Earlier in practice, Sherer completed a 40+ yard pass to Issac Anderson down the left sideline.
Meanwhile, Phillips was only 2-for-8 in the 11-on-11 portion of practice and was sacked five times (although the sacks are always arguable because the defense can't hit the quarterback). The redshirt freshman was a part of our play of the day, however.
After fumbling the ball on a dropback, Phillips rebounded on the next play with a nice touchdown pass to freshman Kraig Appleton while dodging heavy pressure. Credit has to be given to running back Erik Smith who blocked two blitzers on the play allowing Phillips to get the pass off.
Just to be clear, it's entirely possible that Sherer is still the No. 1 quarterback, but based on my conversations with other members of the Badger media, Sherer's number of reps has decreased all week and today was no exception. He had a good day Thursday -- while Phillips struggled -- but I wouldn't be surprised if the competition is already over with Phillips as the starter and Scott Tolzien as the backup.
Player of the day: Adam Hampton. On a day lacking big plays and standout performances, Adam Hampton, the younger brother of former Badger Zach Hampton, had two nice interceptions, including one off of Phillips that he returned for a touchdown.
Practice schedule: The Badgers return tomorrow for the fourth day of two-a-days. The morning session gets underway at 9:30 a.m. and the night practice starts at 7:40 p.m. The Big Ten Network will be on hand during the morning practice and they will air their 90-minute Badger practice report at 9 p.m. CT Friday night.