Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Phillips injury tests Wisconsin's QB depth
Wisconsin finally seemed to have its quarterback position in order: a clear-cut starter in Scott Tolzien, no major competition and two decent backup options in Curt Phillips and Jon Budmayr.
When I met with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst in Madison last week, I joked that he finally had an easy spring ahead of him.
Not so much anymore.
Phillips is out for the foreseeable future after tearing his right ACL on Saturday in a situational scrimmage. Head coach Bret Bielema said after Tuesday's practice that the redshirt sophomore will undergo surgery in the coming weeks after the swelling goes down. Phillips wasn't touched on the play.
"There is probably a potential hope for the season next year, but really that's up in the air," Bielema said. "Every knee injury is different."
Phillips was in the mix for the starting job last year and brought some good athleticism to the quarterback spot. The 6-3, 224-pound Tennessee native averaged 9.9 yards a carry last season.
Budmayr, a redshirt freshman who generated a lot of buzz early last spring after enrolling early, now steps into the backup role. I was impressed with Budmayr when we talked last spring, and he might have the strongest arm among Wisconsin's signal callers. He's ready for the challenge, telling the Wisconsin State Journal, "I've been preparing myself in the offseason. Nothing really changes, you just keep going and playing football and learn with each rep."
After Tolzien and Budmayr, Wisconsin could be scrambling a bit at quarterback. Central Florida transfer Nate Tice is practicing this spring, and Joseph Brennan signed in February. But after Tolzien, there's no one with game experience on the roster.
Wisconsin's veteran offensive line really needs to keep opposing players out of the pocket.