Joel Stave is "ready" to play again, the Wisconsin quarterback told reporters on Tuesday. The junior quarterback has been struggling with throwing issues attributed to "the yips" after having offseason shoulder surgery and then losing his starting job to Tanner McEvoy. Stave was shut down in early September following a confusing series of events in which head coach Gary Andersen said he was injured, and then the team recanted that assertion later the same day.
Stave met with a small group of reporters after practice on Tuesday. Below is a small selection of tweets; you can head to the timelines of ESPN Wisconsin's Zach Heilprin, Fox Sports Wisconsin's Jesse Temple and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus for more.
Joel Stave has been splitting reps w/the 2nd team. Ludwig says they'll make a decision on the No. 2 QB later this week but Stave is ready.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) September 30, 2014
Stave talked for first time in four weeks. Admits the funk he was in happened after McEvoy was named starter.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) September 30, 2014
Had good chat with #Badgers Joel Stave. He seems confident + ready to go if needed. Said BG week was big step.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) September 30, 2014
Stave with line of day on pre-game throws no longer an issue: "You watched LSU and that was kind of a shit show, excuse my language here."— Jesse Temple (@jessetemple) September 30, 2014
This is good news indeed, even if you've always been in the McEvoy and/or Bart Houston camp. With McEvoy relying heavily on his feet and not afraid to shy away from contact -- I braced myself a few times last Saturday while seeing McEvoy throw some stiff arms and lower his left shoulder into defenders while finishing runs -- the Badgers must lock down a solid No. 2 quarterback. Houston took over that spot when Stave was shut down, but the sophomore has received only garbage-time reps and is essentially completely untested.
Placing sentimentality for Stave's successful (presumably) return aside, he's the most experienced quarterback on the team. With Big Ten play beginning this weekend, the Badgers should at the very least feel more comfortable in their depth at the position if Stave is in fact deemed able enough to back up McEvoy.