Gimme Jack Coan, and I don't care! My Horny's gone astray

Jack Coan needs to play this weekend against Purdue.

He doesn't have to start, but he does have to play. And throw passes. (And complete them, hopefully.)

I did believe Alex Hornibrook would take a step up this year, and you could argue that he has. It's hard to define how much of one he has (or has not) taken.

His performance against BYU was brilliant. His performance against Utah State was pretty good.

Against Florida Atlantic, I would describe his performance as simply "OK." His performance against Northwestern was concerning.

And then came his performance against Nebraska.

It was not great. The pick-six, in particular, was pretty bad. As with his interception against Florida Atlantic, it occurred in minus territory when he failed to see a potential defender waiting to jump the route.

Hornibrook clearly has potential. However, his interceptions have put the defense, who has continued to carry the bulk of the load for Wisconsin so far this season, in difficult positions several times. The defense, not always through fault of Hornibrook, but not always either through fault of others, had to work significantly harder against Northwestern in particular than they would have if turnovers had been limited.

All I'm saying is this: If you're up 30 in the fourth quarter, let Coan throw some passes.

Hornibrook is the starter; this is abundantly clear. I do believe he deserves a chance to redeem himself this week against Purdue. I sincerely hope he does well. I hope the Badgers do so well, in fact, that they can generate said 30-point-plus lead, and then insert Coan for at least one full quarter. And actually let him run the offense fully. Let's see what the kid can do.

Let's face it: Hornibrook is not a very mobile quarterback. Often, when pass rushers get home, he's going down.

Coan is more mobile, and may also have a stronger arm. I do believe that Hornibrook has made arm-strength improvements this year, but there are probably some good reasons why Coan is the backup as a true freshman (an early enrollee at that, but still) instead of Kare' Lyles, a redshirt freshman who has a year's worth more experience in the Wisconsin system.

Please, Paul Chryst, just LET THE KID THROW SOME. PLEASE.

I like what I've seen on recruiting tape. I liked that throw I saw in the spring game. The kid has potential. Give him a chance to show what he can do.

Not least because this may be the year the Badgers have the best chance to make the College Football Playoff. You don't want your quarterback to be what stands in the way of your reaching the Playoff, especially if you have a better player on your roster that is just waiting in the wings.

Plus, if you really want to go head-to-head with the Clemsons, Alabamas, Ohio States, and Penn States of the world, you will need all the firepower you can get.

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