Badgers Make Right Move By Starting Jack Coan
Wisconsin Badgers will begin their season on Friday evening against South Florida down in Tampa Bay. Badgers will begin the season at quarterback like they ended last season with Jack Coan, not five-star phenom Graham Mertz. Even though there was a ton of hype around Mertz, Coan always seemed to be the one to start the season at the quarterback position. He received all of the reps with the 1’s all training camp and did not seem to really be pushed by Mertz despite the excitement around him. The starting Badgers quarterback will not have a long leash though with a potential star freshman quarterback waiting in the wings.
Wisconsin’s head coach Paul Chryst noted about that Coan began to grow in training camp this month. Now, this might be coach speak, but a part of me is buying into it. He had Alex Hornibrook breathing down this neck last year and worried about losing his starting job. Now, it’s just him. Sure, there is some pressure from Mertz, but he is going to at least have a few games to make a statement. It is set up nicely for him to run things smoothly like a prototypical Badgers quarterback and be really successful at it. But Coan cannot have Penn State-like games in the first month of the season, he needs to be more like his performance against Purdue last year.
The nice thing for Coan is that he has a quality receiving core with him. Kendric Pryor and A.J. Taylor both had strong 2018 seasons, and Danny Davis does have some potential too. Quintez Cephus is there too, and to show that he didn’t miss a beat, he’s been only part of the team for a week and made the 2-man depth chart. That’s pretty impressive. No one will be able to say that he does not have talent around him to be successful this season.
The leash that Chryst and Wisconsin’s coaching staff will give the former three-star recruit is unknown. It could be as short as the first four games of the season, and if he struggles against Michigan and Northwestern, Mertz might get a look against lowly Kent State. Or it could wait until very late in the season. Wisconsin’s schedule does not really have a ‘break’ for them to make a quarterback change. They do play Illinois, but that’s a road game then they have Ohio State, Iowa, and Nebraska in the following weeks. If the Badgers were to make a move, it would likely need to happen in the first five weeks of the season.
Good luck, Jack. The Badgers faithful might not be as kind unless you’re slinging it out there.