September 16, 2020 | kzmwuuff | No Comments
Former Wisconsin football defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s first task as LSU’s defensive coordinator will be to prepare against his old team. He obviously will have quite an advantage when the Badgers take on the Tigers at Lambeau Field Sept. 3 thanks to the three years he spent on the sidelines in Madison.What he won’t have is a lot of film on whoever will be Wisconsin’s quarterback that night, simply because the next quarterback for UW will have little-to-no college experience at all. Currently, the only two quarterbacks on the roster are fifth-year seniors Bart Houston and Thad Armstrong, as well as redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook.Football: UW defensive coordinator Dave Aranda leaves for LSUJust two days after the Wisconsin football team took down USC in the Holiday Bowl, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda decided Read…Currently, the 2016 Wisconsin recruiting class has one quarterback commit, Karé Lyles, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound pro-style passer from Arizona.The blame for the lack of depth at quarterback can be pointed at one man and one man only: Gary Andersen. Even though he only coached 27 games for Wisconsin, he managed to set the program back for this upcoming season by recruiting strictly dual-threat quarterbacks to fit his desired up-tempo, West Coast-style spread offense.Anyone who knows Wisconsin football is aware that’s not how the program operates. It’s smash-mouth, two-tight-end-and-a-fullback formations with the goal of running it down the opponent’s throat.Brazzoni: Victory over USC defines what Wisconsin football meant in 2015Coming into their Holiday Bowl showdown against USC, the Wisconsin football team had played two opponents that would be considered Read…In Paul Chryst, UW has the head coach who fits the identity of the program. Andersen not only didn’t give himself enough time to do it, but he brought in the wrong players and deserted them in a system not meant for them. By bailing for Oregon State (the Beavers went 2-10 in 2015, yikes) Andersen selfishly rerouted young men’s college plans and put an entire program in a predicament.The most glaring example is Tanner McEvoy. It’s a problem when the quarterback can’t throw the ball effectively, but Andersen was so hell-bent on having his guy start he gave McEvoy the nod to start the 2014 season (not to mention inflicting Joel Stave with the yips). That experiment lasted all of four and a half games, and McEvoy spent the 2015 season at wide receiver and safety.Then there’s Austin Kafentzis. He set records in his home state of Utah, but after getting outplayed by Hornibrook (a Chryst recruit) during spring camp, he transferred to Nevada. See ya.Finally, there’s D.J. Gillins. Gillins served as the third-string quarterback this season behind Stave and Houston, but was so discouraged with his lack of playing time he asked to move to wide receiver, where he saw some action on special teams. After Wisconsin’s Holiday Bowl win against USC, Gillins announced he was transferring with the intention of playing quarterback somewhere, and he disclosed on Jan. 11 he will be attending Pearl River Community College in Mississippi.Gillins’ decision is both confusing and unsettling. All signs indicated he’d compete with Houston for the starting gig in the fall. Now, he’s heading to community college, which brings us back to the original point: Who starts under center for the Badgers for the first game of the 2016 season?It’s a two horse race — Armstrong has strictly functioned on the sideline with a headset and signaling in plays and it’s highly unlikely Lyles will start as a true freshman.Hornibrook redshirted during his first season as a Badger, leaving Houston as the only potential starter with any previous collegiate experience. And as Chryst has to make his first big decision for the 2016 season, it will be interesting to see whether he names a starter during spring camp, like he did with Stave last season, or opens the job up for competition.Chryst recruited Houston when he was UW’s offensive coordinator and got Hornibrook to flip his commitment from Pittsburgh to Wisconsin when he took the job in Madison. He’s seen both guys go through developmental stages and get to the college level. Will he go with the (limited) experience of Houston, who Andersen once banished to backup punter? Houston impressed on the road against Illinois this season when he entered for a concussed Stave. He completed 22 of 33 passes for 232 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Not too shabby for his first extended action.Houston is probably the safe choice, and if Chryst had to make a decision now, he’d almost certainly pick Houston. But the head coach has nearly eight months to arrive at that choice, and a lot can change in that time span.In just a few short months, Hornibrook progressed tremendously. He’s a tall, built left-hander who puts a tight spiral on the ball. If he gets more comfortable with the speed of play and further masters the playbook, there’s a real chance he can put up a fight for the starting job.The caveat with starting Houston is that he only has one season left. It’s another season the younger quarterbacks can develop, but it’s also a whole season of wasting valuable in-game experience.UW’s schedule only exacerbates the problem. Compared to the cookie-cutter Big Ten slate it has had the past two seasons, the first four conference games are against Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, and three of those — with the exception of the Ohio State game — are on the road.Regardless of who the quarterback is, he will have to prove himself quickly if Wisconsin plans on being a contender next season.