Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Badgers sticking with Tanner McEvoy
By Josh Moyer
For better or worse, Wisconsin is sticking with Tanner McEvoy at quarterback. Turns out it really has no other option right now.
Badgers coach Gary Andersen revealed Tuesday that backup quarterback Joel Stave is experiencing shoulder issues and will be out an undetermined period of time. The injury is the reason Stave didn't play in an LSU game that saw McEvoy finish 8-of-24 for 50 yards with two interceptions. And it's why redshirt sophomore Bart Houston will take over the No. 2 spot this week.
There's more logic -- and less mystery -- with this sudden injury announcement, unlike Melvin Gordon's. Andersen noticed Stave favoring his shoulder a few weeks ago, around the second scrimmage, and the staff made the call he wouldn't be available against the Tigers. Obviously, he didn't want to give LSU an advantage by tipping them off. And only recently did Andersen decide to shut Stave down completely.
Tanner McEvoy completed just 33 percent of his passes in the opening loss to LSU.
Still, there could be some good news for the Badgers. The next four weeks aren't loaded with big-time opponents, so there shouldn't be much short-term concern for Wisconsin. The big concern: Just when is Stave coming back?
"The time for him to be back is completely unknown," Andersen said during Tuesday's Big Ten teleconference, adding he didn't know whether he'd return in time for the conference opener. "It's a day-to-day injury; it's not anything more than that."
McEvoy will certainly have enough opportunities at improvement. Wisconsin faces FCS Western Illinois this weekend, then has a bye before going up against Bowling Green and South Florida. The Falcons had the No. 46 rushing defense last season, while the Bulls had just two total wins.
Wisconsin's passing game is a huge concern, so defenses are sure to key in on the run. Gordon and Corey Clement will have their work cut out for them, unless one of two things happens: One, Stave is OK by Oct. 4 -- the B1G opener at Northwestern -- or McEvoy can put the first week behind him.
It's not an easy situation for the Badgers. But, with Stave out, there's no easy fix.
"We're going to keep going with Joel and hope to get him back in the position where he'll be ready to go and help this football team," Andersen said. "And we're all looking forward to that day moving forward. But it's very frustrating for that man today."