The Badgers spring game is in the books, and that means itâ€™s time to reassess what we thought we knew before hand and what we know now.
Over the next week weâ€™ll be going through each position and giving you a look at how things stand following a full 15 practices. Weâ€™ll give you a look at projected depth charts and a recap of each positionâ€™s spring as it unfolded.
So, what better way to start than by going through the position that is most visible â€” quarterback?
Projected Depth Chart:
1. Joel Stave, RS Sr. â€” Stave won the starting job before spring practice even began. The confidence of Chryst and Rudolph was repaid with what was clearly the best overall performance of the spring. Wisconsinâ€™s 2015 season is going to as Staveâ€™s passing game goes.
2. Bart Houston, RS Jr. â€” After failing to really impress most of his career, Houston has appeared to turn a corner. Saturdayâ€™s spring game was a near 180 in terms of confidence, poise and ability from the former Elite 11 quarterback. He appeared to win the mini-battle between Gillins and himself. Donâ€™t be surprised to see him as the backup QB come the fall.
3. D.J. Gillins, RS Fr. â€” If there was a pick for surprise of the spring, Gillins was it. He was assumed to be in trouble given the much more pro-style orientated offense being installed. Instead, Gillins worked the hardest and transformed his game enough that the backup job is likely to not be decided until well in to fall camp.
What We Learned:
The first thing we learned this spring is that Paul Chryst didnâ€™t need to see much of anything from quarterback Joel Stave. It didnâ€™t even take a single practice to name Stave the starter, as Chryst put any questions of a quarterback battle to rest by naming him the starter before spring ball even came close to kicking off.
Still, spring ball was much more about the future of the position than the present. After all, Stave is in his final season at the University of Wisconsin and that means getting ready to replace him as much as getting him ready for this upcoming season.
To that end, Wisconsin appears to have two very intriguing options heading in to next season. Former Elite 11 QB, Bart Houston, appears to finally look the part and stepped up nicely this spring overall. He was 9 of 16 passing for 103 yards and touchdown during the annual spring game, by far the best passing total of the game.
However, the real story of the spring may be redshirt freshman D.J. Gillins. He was someone most (including myself) thought would be the odd-man-out at quarterback given he was a true dual-threat option. Instead, he has worked hard to refine his game inside the pocket and figure out how to use his feet as an asset in the pass game first.
It was on display big time in the spring game, and while he has some work to do in the consistency of his passing game, there is a lot to like about his future as a viable starting option at quarterback in the future.