- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Wisconsin's struggling offense could have a new starting quarterback at the controls this week.
Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that redshirt freshman Joel Stave, not Danny O'Brien, took the bulk of the work with the first-team offense in Tuesday's practice and looks to be in line to start Saturday against UTEP.
The Badgers listed O'Brien and Stave as co-starters this week on the depth chart, and coach Bret Bielema has been secretive about who would actually start. Wisconsin didn't make any quarterbacks available for interviews this week, and Bielema said Monday he and his staff had already decided on a starter but wouldn't reveal it.
O'Brien transferred from Maryland in the offseason and has a season of eligibility left after this year. He was pulled at halftime of last week's Utah State game after throwing an interception and losing a fumble.
Stave is a former walk-on who got his first college action in the second half of the Utah State game. He completed 2 of 6 passes for 15 yards. Bielema said Monday that Stave had the strongest arm of all the quarterbacks on the roster and has a great understanding of the offense.
The Badgers' offense, which is ranked No. 113 in the FBS in scoring, will get a boost this week with the return of star receiver Jared Abbrederis. He's been out since the first half of the Oregon State game, when he suffered a concussion and chest injury while taking a big hit. Team doctors cleared Abbrederis on Tuesday, and he will start against UTEP.