Schabert not expected to return for 2004 season

Wisconsin's one upperclassman quarterback could become student assistant

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Matt Schabert, who will be a fifth-year senior in the fall, is not planning to return to the Wisconsin football team in a playing capacity for the 2004 season, according to sources.


Schabert, however, would like to remain involved with the team as a student assistant.


Schabert served as senior Jim Sorgi's backup for most of last season, completing 33 of 65 passes for 441 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions in nine games. He started once, going 20-for-36 with one interception in a 16-7 loss to Northwestern. His season highlight was a 79-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans that clinched Wisconsin's 17-10 win over Ohio State.


Schabert was supplanted as the No. 2 quarterback following a poor outing in relief in the regular-season finale against Iowa. Then redshirt-freshman John Stocco solidified his backup role during bowl practices and ran away with the starting job this spring.


Schabert, meanwhile, played sparingly this spring as Wisconsin's coaches chose to give as many repetitions as possible to freshmen Tyler Donovan and Sean Lewis.


The Badgers' coaches said often during spring workouts that Schabert's reduced practice load was due to his familiarity with the system. It was clear, though, that Schabert would only be a part of the team's plans as a insurance policy.


If released from his football scholarship, Schabert could continue to receive a grant-in-aid as a student assistant, but that scholarship would not count against the UW football team's 85-scholarship cap. There is a recent precedent for a former Wisconsin quarterback to serve as a student assistant. But unlike Schabert, Scott Kavanagh did so after his playing eligibility concluded.


Schabert's departure from the playing field leaves Wisconsin with only one quarterback—Stocco—with any game experience. Donovan, who redshirted last fall, Lewis and true freshmen Bryan Savage and Marcus Randle El will contend for reserve roles.


One of the most prolific prep quarterbacks in Illinois state history, Schabert redshirted in the fall of 2000. He played in one game the following year, completing 10 of 18 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns in a relief appearance against Michigan State. He played in two games at quarterback as a sophomore in 2002. He played in six total games that year, also serving as the team's holder late in the season.

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