Camping with the Badgers: Quarterbacks


Our camping journey with the Badgers has showcased the pass catchers over the past few days, so it’s only right that we hit on the players that could be throwing them the ball today, right?

Wisconsin has a young group of wide receivers on hand for 2012 and the tight end group could be the deepest the Badgers have ever had at the position, but what we’ll see out of the quarterback position is the biggest unknown heading into camp.

It’s also curious that with a battle brewing the media has been limited to only seeing five full practices this camp, a low number for the Badgers let alone any other Big Ten team. But I digress, and let’s get “Camping with the Badgers.”

Probable Starter: 

Danny O’Brien (RS Jr., 6’3″, 215lbs.) 


Thoughts on the Unit: 

Yes, I did assume Danny O’Brien as the starter above, but at the Big Ten media days last week head coach Bret Bielema made it very clear that O’Brien is going to have to battle to win the job, he won’t be handed it.

He’ll be battling with a guy that Badger fans everywhere assumed wouldn’t be in the conversation and that’s Curt Phillips. Yes, THE same Curt Phillips that has undergone three ACL surgeries on his right knee. 


According to Bielema Phillips should be a full go for camp, but question marks abound for him because coming out of spring he wasn’t able to take any sort of contact and was having trouble planting on that right leg to throw off of. If Phillips is truly healthy enough to make a challenge it’ll be interesting because he was such a highly anticipated recruit way back in the day. By all indications he’s got the arm and the head to be a damn good quarterback, so at the very least he’ll make the others around him better by pushing them in camp.

O’Brien comes to Wisconsin on the heels of a bad season at Maryland, but it could well be chalked up to the system not fitting the man. O’Brien has been on campus working with the team all summer long and should have a pretty good grasp on the offense by the time camp opens up next Monday. After all, the guy did manage to graduate college in just three years. 

It may not just be a two man battle though as redshirt freshman walk-on QB Joel Stave came out of spring fotoball as the No. 1 quarterback. With how he’s progressed and played in his short time at Wisconsin it’s clear he’s someone that won’t go down without a fight at the top of the depth chart.

The other QB in spring was Joe Brennan and to put it mildly, he struggled. He just never looked comfortable all spring whether it was behind the 1st or 2nd string offensive line and that led to Stave leapfrogging him for the No. 1 spot by the middle of spring football.

Wisconsin will be without the services of highly touted recruit and Elite 11 alum, Bart Houston, for camp as he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery and is likely to redshirt this year. Joining him in the recovery phase of things is Jon Budmayr, the expected backup to Russell Wilson last season.

Depth was clearly a concern for this team and they decided to address it this offseason with additions of numerous walk-on QB’s, totaling three when it was all said and done. None are really expected to be a serious contender for playing time, but having healthy bodies for a change at the position will be a nice change for the Badgers.

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