Bielema Refuses to Publicly Announce Starter at QB

Joel Stave is still throwing the ball around and embracing the team, but he won't be starting a game anytime soon as we all know and his replacement will remain a mystery following Monday's weekly press conference for head coach Bret Bielema. 

He refused to name a starting quarterback publicly and indicated that the quarterbacks won't be available to the media leading up to the game either. So, perhaps your guess is as good as ours on exactly who goes under center.

"I know where we're going to go," Bielema stated. "We've got a 2:00 staff today. And as we always do on Monday, we'll come up with a plan moving forward." 

The one thing we do know for sure is that this team will not go with the dreaded dual quarterback system.

"As a coach, even going into this year, every game we faced, you go in with a starter and really the only person that's going to take him out of that is if he's removed for a physical reason or you have a specific plan for the other guy, just kind of like what we've done in the past," Bielema said. "For the most part, I would say one guy in, and you hope he takes the ride and runs."

While Bielema wouldn't tip his hat and name a starter for public consumption he did lay out how things have gone for the competition to this point, stating that both players have practiced really well and that the unique nature of this season has helped O'Brien and Phillips build a solid personal relationship.

"I think our guys, Curt and Danny, I think, have kind of a special relationship because, I think the way Danny started off being a starter, and Curt being very disappointed in that," said Bielema. "And Joel to hop in there. I think Danny and Curt could find of spend some time together there on the sidelines as well as in practices." 

"Now they both know what's in front of us, and I think they both want Wisconsin to win. It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out."

Bielema did his level best not to tip his hand one way or the other on Monday, praising both quarterbacks when asked to compare what they bring to the table two competitors battling for the starting position.

"He started three football games," Bielema said of O'Brien. "He's come in in a couple of others. He brings experience in the system that we already have. I think Danny understands the dynamics of a football game, how you've got to be able to convert on third downs. I think he understands the importance of ball security now more than ever."

"I think Curt, just the perseverance and the battle he's been through to get to where he is today, kids rally around him extremely well," Bielema said of Phillips. "He did a lot to get to where he is, and sometimes when you have that in somebody, it's very hard to deny them the opportunity to have success." 

 "He's a guy that can move the football around a little bit with his arm and with his feet." 

One thing that we do know is exactly what Coach Bielema expects out of whomever starts on Saturday. 

"They just have to do the little things well, take care of the football, move the chains, hit the guy that's open, make the correct call at the line of scrimmage," said Bielema. "Get us out of a bad call, be able to handle the flow of the game, and those things all kind of can be simulated during practice, but you have to be based a lot off what you see during the game."

Whomever does win the battle will have a treat handed to them in the fact that starting left tackle Ricky Wagner will be back to full strength. According to Bielema Wagner practiced fully on Thursday and yesterday and will be inserted into the lineup for this weekend. 

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Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, as well as Publisher of Big Ten site