Spring wrap-up: Quarterbacks

Part 10 of BadgerNation.com's look back at Wisconsin's 2006 spring football practice season

News and notes — The depth chart remained constant throughout spring, with John Stocco, who will be a three-year starter in the fall, as the runaway No. 1. Tyler Donovan and Dustin Sherer, who split reps this spring, follow as the second and third signal callers.

Spring MVP — Stocco. After the most prolific passing season in Wisconsin history, it is no secret that Stocco can deliver a football. This spring, though, he had to get adjusted to a whole new corps of tailbacks, wide receivers and tight ends, as the top players at each of those positions had moved on.

As a result, Stocco's completion percentage was not ideal this spring. But it was clear he had continued to progress and is an even better quarterback now than he was last season. Most importantly, he was praised by his young teammates for his patience and leadership, necessary traits as he and the new cast of skill players work to build a rapport with one another.

Springing ahead — Sherer continues to progress at a rapid rate for a young quarterback. With UW's sketchy depth behind Stocco, it is easy to lose sight of the reality that Sherer is in his first year on campus. He was impressive early in fall training last year and while he experienced some growing pains in his first spring, they were not nearly as pronounced as the first-spring-struggles were for, say, Stocco, Donovan, Jim Sorgi and Brooks Bollinger — to name a few recent examples.

Pressing questions — It is unlikely that the chemistry Stocco develops this summer with his skill-position teammates will compare to what he had with players like Brandon Williams, Brian Calhoun, Owen Daniels and Jonathan Orr. Still, it is imperative that Stocco is on the same page with the likes of Paul Hubbard, Marcus Randle El, Luke Swan, Sean Lewis, Travis Beckum and so forth. Where will the comfort level between passer and receiver be heading into fall camp?

Will a capable No. 2 emerge? Neither Donovan nor Sherer looked the part of game-ready backup this spring, but they too could enter fall camp with a greater rapport with the skill player, a better understanding of Paul Chryst's offense, and a bit better placing on the development curve that all quarterbacks must grapple with. Is this a lost cause? Far from it. Both Donovan and Sherer are good athletes for the position and they showed glimpses of being effective players. They need to be much, much more consistent, however.

Looking ahead — Sherer will challenge Donovan for the backup spot this fall, but the feeling here is that Donovan holds off the challenge narrowly, setting the stage for a contentious competition, beginning next spring, for the starting job in 2007.

Two scholarship freshmen will join the team in camp, but Scott Tolzien and Maurice Moore are expected to be developmental prospects and are likely redshirt candidates.

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