Spring Q&A: Joel Stave

Working with way back from a broken collarbone to play in the Rose Bowl, sophomore quarterback Joel Stave has his sights set once again on the starting job, leading UW back to the Rose Bowl and playing more than two snaps in the Granddaddy of them All.

How have you worked to get back to the level you were playing at in the first half against Michigan State?

Joel Stave: That's kind of the goal. I felt like I was playing really good that first half and I was really playing confident. Because of all the changes, the goals change. Now I am concerned about the new offense, making sure I have everything down in that respect. I have put in a lot more work just trying to learn everything and fell comfortable with what I am running.

How much different is this offense? Is it really much different than the offenses you have been in the last two seasons?

Stave: Not a ton. Obviously from the fan's perspective, they aren't going to see much of a difference. Just terminology wise and (Coach Ludwig) has us doing some different things with our footwork. Things like that, but all in all it's a pro-style offense and that's what we're always going to run with.

How would you describe last year for you from start to finish?

Stave: Very up-and-down. Beginning of the year was really disappointing because I didn't get the job coming out of camp. Getting the opportunity to play was definitely the "up" part of it and then from there the ups and downs of playing in my first games. I was really disappointed I wasn't able to finish off the season, but I got to play a couple plays in the Rose Bowl. That was pretty cool, too.

You forgot to mention that you got a full scholarship in fall camp …

Stave: I forgot about that. That was awesome. That was an important moment for me. I got it a year before I originally thought I was going to. That saves me a lot of money (laughing). It was really exciting to see all the work I put in paid off with a reward like that.

How hard did you work your redshirt year to put yourself in the position to compete for the job last season, especially since your high school ran an offense in which you were rarely taking snaps under center?

Stave: That was the biggest change I'd say. My first spring, I had to do 90 percent of my plays from under center when I had never done that before in high school. The footwork was a big deal for me and then play-action pass, where you actually turn your back to the defense and get your eyes back around, was something pretty foreign to me. It was different, but I just had to embrace it and do my best to learn it.

What did you learn and take away from Paul Chryst? What did you learn and take away from Matt Canada?

Stave: A lot. They both had their own styles. For the most part they were really detailed in their footwork – set into your target (and) not false stepping under center. Just trying to compete every day. Coach Chryst used to say, ‘Only worry about what you can control.' That's something I try to work on every day. It doesn't matter what other people do, just worry about what I can control and what I can handle.

What has Andy Ludwig been like for the quarterbacks and you?

Stave: I really like him. In the meetings especially he is super detailed and there is not a wasted minute in our meetings. We are talking football, we are talking strategy, whatever we need to the whole time. We really get a lot done, a lot accomplished, and I feel really comfortable with the plays we have in. I think he's done a really good job.

When you broke your collarbone, did you think you would be able to play in the Rose Bowl or did you think your year was going to be done?

Stave: At first I thought my year was going to be done. Then after three weeks I got an x-ray to see how it was going and it looked really good. I did what they tell me to do – don't move your arm, sleep in a chair, do everything I had to do. After that three weeks when it look like it had made more progress than they originally thoughts, that's when I started thinking I could come back and play.

With how hard you worked and to only get two plays in the Rose Bowl, was that gratifying that you were able to play or a disappointment?

Stave: A little bit of both. The fact that I was able to get in there and play, make a throw and to be on the field again was something really special for me, especially being the Rose Bowl. That being said, as a competitor, you want to be in there as many plays as you can. I would have obviously liked to be in there a lot more.

How hard was it also that after you played your best half of the year against Michigan State you are forced to sit on the sidelines with your arm in a sling and see the offense sputter?

Stave: You always want to be in there doing what you can to contribute. I just tried to do what I could to contribute from the position I was in. in the Rose Bowl, that was talking to Curt, telling him what I was seeing, telling him what I think he could be doing here or there, just listening on the headphones and doing what I could do.

What's this winter been like for you with the opportunity to impress the new coaching staff and compete again for the starting quarterback job?

Stave: It was a good winter. With the new strength coaches, I think we got a lot of good work in the weight room, and that's something that can always get a team better. I think the first spring practices have been good. We've got to continue to learn. We can't take the first few practices back (from spring break) as time to get warmed up again. We've got to hit the ground running, start installing more and get ready to go.

What's the main goal in spring for you? Do you want to end spring as the starter in the clubhouse going into fall camp?

Stave: I am just trying to get myself better and put myself in a good position going into fall. Not necessary who comes out of spring as number one, if anyone is even named number one coming out of spring, but continuing to play confidently and trying to stay consistent throughout these spring practices. I want to put myself into a good position going into fall camp.

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