Journeyman Evridge settles in as Badgers quarterback
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
|David Stluka/Getty Images|
|Wisconsin QB Allan Evridge is fighting for the starting job.|
MADISON, Wis. -- Allan Evridge has heard the common opinion that he'll be Wisconsin's starting quarterback when the team opens the season Aug. 30, but he knows better than to buy into it.
If Evridge has learned anything in his 23 years on Earth, it's that there are no guarantees.
"You never know," Evridge said Sunday. "That's kind of been my whole story. It's kind of been when things are going, things will switch. It's all about perseverance and pulling through it."
Evridge grew accustomed to transition at an early age.
His father, James, was in the military, and the family moved at least seven times. Allan attended six different elementary schools between first and fifth grades.
The left-hander seemed to be settling in at Kansas State in 2005, starting six games as a redshirt freshman and setting a school freshman record for passing [1,365 yards].
But longtime Wildcats coach Bill Snyder announced his retirement before the final game, and new coach Ron Prince installed a new offense and opened up the competition at quarterback. Evridge transferred to Wisconsin just days into fall camp in 2006. He had met Badgers coach Bret Bielema briefly when Bielema served as Kansas State's recruiting coordinator but said the connection wasn't a major factor in his decision.
After sitting out the 2006 season, Evridge competed for the top job last summer and lost out to Tyler Donovan. It looks like he'll finally take the reins this fall, but as Evridge knows, the script can always change.
"Life is crazy," said Evridge, who is competing with Dustin Sherer and Scott Tolzien for the top job. "Once you think you have it figured out, it will definitely give you a big twist. You can't change those things."
Though Evridge was used to being the new guy, fitting in with his Wisconsin teammates presented some different challenges.
"He can't sit back and laugh about when they came as freshmen, the haircuts certain guys had or the look that they carried or the guys that have put on weight or whatever," Bielema said. "He doesn't have that foundation of the first couple years being in our program with this group of seniors, but he did go through college football. He was a guy who was starting as a freshman in the Big 12 Conference. So he can share those experiences."
He also shares the experience of being Wisconsin's only married player. When Evridge left Kansas State, he left behind his girlfriend, Stacey Spiegelberg, a volleyball player for the Wildcats.
The two dated long distance for more than a year and a half before getting married Jan. 12.
"At Kansas State there were a lot of guys that were married, and now I'm the only one," Evridge said. "A couple might be engaged, but I'm the lone wolf. Some guys that don't really know me, like some the new guys, they think there's some stigma, like, 'Oh, you've got to go home to your wife.'"
Badgers players are getting to know Evridge better this summer, when he took a lead role in organizing workouts. After failing to claim the starting job this spring, he slimmed down a bit and is listed at 212 pounds.
The fifth-year senior impressed Bielema's in Saturday's scrimmage, leading the first-team offense on an 80-yard touchdown drive.
"Everything depends on how you look at it," Evridge said. "If you go into a situation thinking things are going to be bad, more than likely, they are going to be bad. If you into a situation -- say a move, when I was young -- thinking it's going to be good and being positive, then things usually do work out and you enjoy it. You've just got to learn that you might have a bad day, but you have the next day to wake up, if you're lucky."