Fall camp wrap: Quarterbacks

Stocco re-asserts himself as starter, looks improved heading into 2005

Depth chart

News and Notes: John Stocco was clearly the Badgers' top quarterback, followed by Tyler DonovanDustin Sherer moved past Bryan Savage for the No. 3 spot… Walk-on Matt Morrison is the fifth quarterback.

Fall MVP: John Stocco. It was evident from the first practice of fall camp that Stocco's challengers for the Badgers' starting quarterback spot still have a steep hill to climb. The junior second-year starter improved in his areas of greatest concern — completing deep passes and being consistently accurate. He still has room to improve in these and other areas, but he has the best understanding of UW's offense and is its most consistent signal-caller.

Player on the rise: Stocco. Only Brian Calhoun may be more important to this team. Stocco has the confidence of his teammates and he has built a rapport with his receivers, particularly Brandon Williams, Owen Daniels and Calhoun. But Stocco's greatest strength continues to be his willingness to spread the ball to a plethora of receivers all over the field, and he did a better job this fall of working through his progressions and delivering the ball in rhythm and accurately. Is he going to challenge Drew Tate, Drew Stanton or Brett Basanez for conference quarterbacking supremacy? No. But think about how well he played down the stretch against Arizona last season, and in critical moments against Ohio State. It looks like that could be more of the rule than the exception this year.

Questions answered: The depth questions ended up not being questions at all. Donovan did not press Stocco for the first-team spot and neither Savage or Sherer pressed Donovan for the backup duties.

Questions remain: How much will Donovan be involved in the game plan? This remains to be seen. He certainly has the athletic ability to make a positive impact on the game for UW, so the Badgers may need to find a way to get him involved. Donovan does not have the arm strength or consistency to challenge Stocco, but he did do a pretty good job delivering deep passes and is a fairly good passer on the run.

Final thoughts: Wisconsin needs a good season out of Stocco to have any chance at making a bowl game. He has a solid set of receivers at his disposal, with tailback Brian Calhoun, receiver Brandon Williams and tight end Owen Daniels leading the way, plus several good complementary players. The offense will be respectable as long as Stocco makes it through his second season healthy, as he did in year one.

Sherer impressed in UW's first scrimmage and took over the No. 3 spot the rest of camp, but quarterbacks coach Jeff Horton said that he and Savage will compete for that spot through the season while playing on the scout team.


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