Monday, Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez did not hesitate in nixing any notion of removing the redshirt from freshman quarterback Tyler Donovan. The Badgers have the luxury of not even discussing the possibility of needing Donovan because of the presence of Owen Daniels, who played quarterback in Wisconsin's system for two years before beginning to convert to receiver during pre-Alamo Bowl practices.
Donovan, meanwhile, quarterbacks the scout offense, which means he has not received reps running the Badgers offense since the conclusion of fall camp. Instead, Donovan and the rest of the scout team performers read opponent's potential plays off cards and work to give the defense a good indication of what is in store come Saturday.
At the beginning of fall camp Donovan appeared tentative, a natural beginning for a freshman, especially playing such a complex position. By the time camp closed, however, Donovan was exhibiting the athleticism and play-making ability that made him a star at Hartland (Wis.) Arrowhead High School.
Wisconsin quarterbacks coach Jeff Horton has only minimal interaction with Donovan during in-season practices, but he has seen enough, and heard enough from fellow coaches, to know that the freshman signal-caller is performing well.
"Tyler has done a really good job out there," Horton said. "The defensive coaches I know are really excited about him. They say he does a great job, coach Alvarez has seen him down there doing a good job. I don't get to see him much really because I am at the other end of the field. But he is showing that he is really athletic, capable of making plays. His biggest transition is going to be when we get to spring and he can't read things off cards. You've got to be able to spit out and verbalize the offense and be able to take control and do what we do and not what somebody else's card says to do.
"A key for him will be to study better each week; that he comes up there, spends time watching film of our offense and hopefully that will carry over to spring."