Calling the Shots

After calling the shots from the sidelines last season, junior quarterback Dustin Sherer is looking to put down the headset and get under center as the starting quarterback in 2008.

MADISON - Last year was supposed to be junior Dustin Sherer's opportunity.

A successful starting quarterback and four-time team MVP for Arcadia Hamilton Heights H.S. in Indiana, Sherer passes for 6,371 yards and 61 touchdowns in his high school career. After redshirting in 2005 and playing in two games in 2006, Sherer looks poised to challenge Donovan for the starting quarterback job in 2007.

Then Allan Evridge stepped in.

Evridge, a transfer from Kansas State, came in and was the main competitor with Donovan for the starting job, leaving Sherer on the sidelines.

While anyone's confidence could have been fractured, Sherer took advantage of his position, as he was the person responsible for calling in the plays to Donovan. Continuing to improve and, at the same time, learning the playbook and signals, Sherer tells Badger Nation how last year has prepared himself for this year.

BN: Talking to you last year, you talked about how you felt that this spring, you really felt that you would be able to showcase that you were able of earning the starting job. How would you evaluate how you have done so far?

Dustin Sherer: I think I have done really well. I knew coming into spring that it was going to be a big deal. I felt that the spot was totally open, just like I think it is every spring with every position. I think I have done really well. I have prepared well in the off season for this and stuff like that and so far it's going really well for me.

BN: Bret talked previously about how Allen coming in could have derailed someone's confidence. He said that you never lost your confidence and if you did, you never showed it. How important was it for you to keep your confidence up knowing that your time would come down the road?

Dustin Sherer: It's pretty important. Yeah there were times where I was frustrated you know? I think any person would be. It's just adversity and you have got to fight through it. Nothing really comes easy and I just knew that the whole time that it was all about me. I had to go out there and do my thing. I knew that I was good enough. It's just about getting the opportunity to show people that I am.

BN: What did you focus in on during the off season to make yourself better prepared or something you improved upon to better your game?

Dustin Sherer: I focused in on my mechanics and stuff like that. The big thing was totally knowing everything. I would not have come out of play saying, ‘Wow, I messed that up because I did not know what I was doing.' It's because my front step wasn't right or my throwing the ball wasn't right. I think that I have done that so far this spring just knowing every play inside and out. That gives me a huge advantage before even the play starts because you know where you are going with the ball because everything else goes with it.

BN: How have you developed under Paul Chryst? How have you changed as a quarterback from year to year?

Dustin Sherer: I don't know if I have changed that much. I think that Coach Chryst does a great job changing the offense to the quarterback that he plays. Obviously the system when John (Stocco) played was a lot different than what T.D. played last year because T.D. was a lot more athletic and you wanted to get him on the edge more. John you wanted to keep in the pocket and throw the ball.

I think Coach Chryst does a great job adjusting his offense to players. I think that I am kind of a guy that brings both to the table. Allan obviously has his strengths and coach has done a great job adjusting the offense so far. I have learned a lot from him because he prepares us so well.

BN: That having said, how much would the offense change depending on if you or Allan is quarterback? Would it change a lot?

Dustin Sherer: Ah, I don't think it will change much because him and I are basically the same guy. I think that both him and I are pretty athletic and in the system, we are going to throw it. It might not be major and it won't change much but just in case one of us does go down, the other one can come in and it wouldn't change much that much. Now, if you have Tyler Donovan and John Stocco, things would change a lot. But I think since Allan and I are kind of the same people, things are going to stay the same.

BN: What did you learn from Tyler watching him from the sidelines? You were calling in the plays, so you had a hand in what he was doing out there.

Dustin Sherer: One thing I learned from him is you never know what you are going to get (laughing). It was a lot of fun watching Tyler. He's a tough kid. He used his athleticism every game and went out there and lived his own little dream. I think he did a great job of it and coming around. He waited four years, finally got his shot, took advantage of it and did really well. I learned toughness through him. It was fun to watch him play.

BN: You talk about really learn the playbook front and back. How important was it in learning that to call in signals, have a hand in what was going on and, in terms of your growth process, being able to do that?

Dustin Sherer: It was a huge step. When I spent a year signally to John his senior year and then last year to Tyler, when you do that, you have to the offensive set up. Coach Chryst is sending plays to me and I would sometimes make sure they are right before I sent them in to Tyler or John. It was a huge advantage to me because I had to know everything inside out, know all the protections and formations. Last year I was more of a coach than a player, kind of coaching Tyler. Coach Chryst was telling me what to tell him. So I took a lot away from it just to be football smart about things.

BN: They say competition brings out the best in people. How has the competition been between you and Allan? I would assume it has been a friendly competition but how have you guys pushed each other so far?

Dustin Sherer: You know, him and I are good friends. The whole quarterback group is and that hasn't changed, even when Tyler and Allan were going at it last year. We know in the back of our minds that one of us is going to play. I think that is what drives you and I think that competition does obviously bring out the best in people. I think it's brought the best out of me because I am doing really well. I think it is obviously pushing him too. It's going to make both of us better and the end result is going to make the team better.

BN: What have you seen from Curt (Phillips), James (Stallons) and Scott (Tolzien)? Obviously they aren't in the mix right now but how have they developed, especially Curt with this being his first semester here?

Dustin Sherer: I think they are all doing well. Coach Chryst has made the offense pretty simple this spring. We're not doing too much. We're just doing the little things. So it really hasn't been too much of an install, as not much is being thrown at us. Allan and I haven't had to learn much because most of the stuff we've been doing. Curt has to learn a lot, James is still learning and Scott is a really smart kid. He already knew it all but he keeps getting better mechanically. I think those guys are doing well. They are doing well as a whole as a group as quarterbacks. Curt's done a good job. He told me that it's different, it's a lot faster and more complex that high school but those guys have done a good job of stepping up and playing their role and trying to build to become a starter.

BN: You lose some key personal on offense but you return a lot of key personal back on offense. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, how good can this offense be?

Dustin Sherer: I think we can be really good. Obviously we lose Marcus (Coleman) up front at center and lose a quarterback. Swanny, is was unfortunate that he got hurt, but he was gone half the year and Kyle and David had to step up. In my eyes, those guys were starters last year. So really we haven't lost much. We have one of the deepest backfields probably in the nation. I think we can be pretty explosive offensively. I think we can put a lot of points up on the board and we have to tie everything up, get it right and play well together. I think if we do things right, we can score a lot of points this year.

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