this Sept. 14, 2013, file photo, Wisconsin head coach Gary
Andersen complains to officials during the second half in an
NCAA college football game against Arizona State in Tempe,
Ariz. The most noteworthy thing about the Wisconsin defense
going into training camp was the players that the Badgers
lost from last season, especially top linebacker Chris
Borland. Safety Michael Caputo and the returnees are looking
to create their own reputation.
Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen is staying quiet when it comes to
his quarterback for Saturday's season opener against No. 13 LSU,
while at least one of his best players says Tanner McEvoy will get
the start for the 14th-ranked Badgers.
"At the end
of the day, we're right where we were," Andersen said Monday.
"We've got two quarterbacks that I think are going to help
this football team throughout the year. And, whoever takes the
first snap doesn't necessarily say he's going to be the guy for
the whole season. We've got two kids who want to compete and will
continue to compete and that's where we're going to stay with
running back Melvin Gordon was asked about the quarterback
situation, he said McEvoy would start the first game over
incumbent Joel Stave.
Joel's a great player, people definitely overlook him,"
Gordon said. "But, even though Tanner was named the starter,
I think Joel will continue to work and wait for his chance."
"They're going with Tanner. Obviously I hope Tanner plays
well and I wish the best for Tanner and I hope he can lead our
Stave started all
13 games last season, passing for 2,494 yards and 22 touchdowns,
second-most in school history behind Seattle Seahawks star Russell
Wilson. But he also threw 13 interceptions and had a penchant for
missing open receivers as the Badgers finished 9-4, including a
34-24 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl.
The more mobile
McEvoy, who passed for 1,943 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushed
for 414 yards and six touchdowns at Arizona Western College in
2012, struggled last fall during the Badgers' quarterback
competition. He eventually moved to wide receiver and then safety
for the final 10 games, including three starts.
With a full year
in the system, however, McEvoy has shown significant improvement,
said Andersen, who prefers a versatile quarterback.
we feel like he's throwing the ball much better to even be in the
QB race," Andersen said. "He would have to be solid and
consistent throwing the football. But the biggest thing for Tanner
is the growth within the offense."
Andersen does not
equate McEvoy's lack of playing time at quarterback with lack of
thing I would say is he has played in big-time games,"
Andersen said. "He's been a starter at free safety, which is
the quarterback of our defense. He has a lot of alignment issues,
it's very technical back there. There's a ton of communication
that has to take place. So he's been in that moment. He's prepared
to play in Big Ten games. He's prepared to play in a bowl
Regardless of who
starts at quarterback, the Badgers will rely heavily on a running
game powered by Gordon, who rushed for 1,609 yards last season as
"We want to
run the ball first," Andersen said. "We want to take
some shots with our play action. Our goal is to obviously be a
physical, power football team that gets in the fourth quarter and
ultimately tries to wear people down and ground it, pound it. That
will never change."