CHICAGO -- It's starting to feel synonymous with Wisconsin football: having an "open" quarterback competition during fall camp to determine who will be under center for game No. 1. This year is no different, as head coach Gary Andersen acknowledged throughout the 2014 Big Ten media days Monday and Tuesday at the Hilton Chicago that Tanner McEvoy and Joel Stave will split the reps, with both having an equal opportunity to earn the starting nod when the Badgers travel to Houston to face LSU on Aug. 30.
"It's going to be interesting to watch," Andersen said Monday. "It was a great competitive battle in spring as even though Joel was very limited; I think in the summer, has continue to grow. The kids are handling it very well amongst themselves and they're also handling it very well amongst the team."
Stave is the incumbent at the position, but even though the quarterback found himself with honorable-mention Big Ten honors last season, there's reason to believe he could end up this season with a headset and a clipboard. Largely, it's the inconsistency that has plagued the redshirt junior gunslinger. Sure, Stave completed 62 percent of his passes during the 2013-14, an improvement from 59 percent the season before. Not to mention, he added 22 touchdowns through the air and showed flashes of deep-ball potential with former wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, registering a game-long of 50-plus yards in five of the 12 games (UMass, Arizona State, Ohio State, Northwestern and Indiana).
Video of the Day
Video of the Day
But the key word is flashes, because there have been limited occasions in which Stave put together a complete game. Standing at 6'5, Stave has the prototypical size for a quarterback, but his release looks unconventional, and a previously-injured shoulder and collarbone should raise red flags, albeit minimal. Outside of experience, which certainly does mean a lot, Stave might not hold many other advantages under McEvoy.
With McEvoy under center, Andersen and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig have the luxury of expanding the offense beyond being one-dimensional. Like Stave, his throwing release isn't ideal, but Arizona Western head coach Tom Mittins, who coached McEvoy while he was at the junior college, compared McEvoy to then-Kansas State quarterbacked Colin Klein -- a 2012 Heisman Trophy finalist -- but tabbed the current UW gunslinger as being "a better thrower and a better athlete." -- by Rexford Shield
Rex will have more from Chicago regarding the LSU opener, but here's a take from the State Journal's Andy Baggot on how "SEC heavyweights want no part of Camp Randall Stadium."
Freshman offensive lineman Michael Deiter had a huge spring, particularly in light of the injuries the unit faced. The State Journal's Tom Mulhern has the details.
After Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby insisted "cheating pays" in the NCAA during last week's media days, Barry Alvarez responded in kind on Tuesday."I don't hear my coaches coming back complaining about violations,'' Alvarez said. "Maybe I'm naïve, but I think it's relatively clean.
"You're going to have incidents. You're going to have coaches that feel they're back into a corner and they're going to take some chances. That always happens. That'll never change.
"But I don't see a ... large number of violations where it's flagrant.''
Some Big Ten non-revenue teams could be in jeopardy, Baggot writes.
Fox Sports Wisconsin's Jesse Temple on the friendship between Melvin Gordon and Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah. I smell a nice "The Journey" feature coming on BTN this fall.
"Coach Beatty was big for me," Sheppard said. "He was in constant contact and was very honest. He didn't lie to me about the cold weather with me being a kid from south Florida. We have a good relationship."