Let’s be honest, as soon as Danny O’Brien announced that he would be taking his talents to Madison, he immediately became the favorite for the starting quarterback spot in 2012.
While the end result surprised no one, the road to get there was a bit unexpected.
The coaching staff did its best to create a competitive environment and, heading into the season, it appears to have paid dividends. Head coach Bret Bielema raved that this may be the deepest group of quarterbacks he has ever had during his tenure at Wisconsin.
Redshirt freshman Joel Stave was the starter at the conclusion of spring practices and he performed admirably in fall camp and was put on scholarship, perhaps putting him on the fast track to be the next, home-grown Wisconsin quarterback, the first since Scott Tolzien.
Walk-on Chase Knox turned a few heads with a good showing in fall camp. Few had paid serious attention to the San Diego native coming into fall, but it is impossible to deny that the young gun is a driven individual who possesses some serious skills.
Ultimately, it became a two-horse race.
While we may never be sure on just how close the competition between O’Brien and Curt Phillips actually was, the fact that the battle even took place speaks a lot to Phillips’ character and level of skill.
The two quarterbacks were continuing to split reps with the first team at the end of the second week of camp. Phillips proved to be accurate and surprisingly mobile considering his trio of surgeries on his ACL. It is likely safe to assume that the scrimmage (which was closed to the media) went a long way in demonstrating O’Brien’s prowess.
After all of that, here we are, right where we thought we’d be. The game is against Northern Iowa is just days away, and Danny O’Brien is leading the offense for the Wisconsin Badgers.
What are the chances O’Brien struggles, thereby opening the door for conversation of Phillips taking a few meaningful snaps? Slim.
However, if, heaven forbid, O’Brien should go down, the Badgers are in better hands than most expected and the future at this position is in much better shape than just a few months ago.