CHICAGO – With each throw – good or bad - made by Bart Houston and Alex Hornibrook through 15 spring practices, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chrystemphasized the same phrase when talking about the impending quarterback battle: The expectation is that they improve.
That phrase still holds true, but the expectation now is that someone wins the starting job.
“I think our job as coaches is to make sure that both of them are ready to play and play well in the first game,” Chryst said Tuesday at Big Ten Media Days. “I think for both of them their job is to make sure they focus on being the best QB they can be. And I like what they've done."
For the first time in five season Wisconsin didn’t have to rely on fall camp to determine the starting quarterback. As a result, Joel Stave closed his fourth year as a starter by capping a senior season in which he tied the school record with 225 completions and threw for 2,687 yards, the fourth-highest total in UW history.
More importantly he won games, as his 10 wins as the starter gave him a school-record 31 victories for a quarterback. He also set school records for wins (22-6) and winning percentage (.786) in Big Ten play.
Entering this season, Houston is the only quarterback with game experience.
“Yet, I'm excited with Bart Houston and Alex Hornibrook,” Chryst said, acknowledging the passing off the torch. “They've done a great job to this point of not worrying about the common question of who is going to be the starter and the quarterback competition. But spending their time trying to work on and improve in the things in their control. And they've done a great job this summer. And I know our players respect who they are as people, as teammates, and those two will get a ton of reps in fall camp.”
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