When Wisconsin starting quarterback Joel Stave broke his clavicle in Saturday’s loss to Michigan State, head coach Bret Bielema knew the Badgers had suffered another setback on the offensive side of the ball.
Wisconsin has had injury problems all season. First with the offensive line, then Montee Ball was banged up with concussions, Jared Abbrederis missed some time and now they’ll be without Stave for the rest of the season.
Now Bielema has to find a new starting quarterback. One good thing is he’ll have some time to do it with their bye week. He’ll have to decide between Danny O’Brien and Curt Phillips, who will compete in practice for the top job when the Badgers play Indiana on Nov. 10.
O’Brien hasn’t been able to have the success Russell Wilson had last season and was pulled after starting the first three games this year. He’s averaging just 87.2 pass yards per game with three touchdowns and one interception. Some may say O’Brien hasn’t been put in positions to succeed, jumping in to the game during the late seconds against Nebraska and coming cold off the bench against a tough Michigan State defense.
Phillips could be the guy to lead Wisconsin to Indianapolis. He competed for the starting job in 2009 before three ACL tears that kept him out for some time. Despite the surgeries, Phillips is a more mobile runner and has been in the system for a while. Bielema has high praise for him and won’t hesitate to give him the nod if he performs well in practice.
The Badgers have handled adversity all season, so now they’ll have to do it again.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.
Follow Will on Twitter: @GoPackGo1