On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Badgers announced huge news when the program announced that quarterback Alex Hornibrook had decided to leave the team.
Whether you like it or hate it, the departure of Hornibrook means that the most experienced quarterback from Wisconsin will not be on the program in 2019. For those who like this statistic – and there are some who do not like it – I do not appreciate, I promise you – the southpaw will leave Madison with a 26-6 as a starter.
Five quarters currently on the list will now be competing for the role of starter for an offensive giving back firepower in the background with Jonathan Taylor, winner of the Doak Walker Award, key producers of the broad receiver, a threat emerging at Jake Ferguson, and an offensive line replaces four entries but has the depth and experience to compensate.
Even if Hornibrook stayed for the spring ball, the way in which head coach Paul Chryst and offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph would have distributed representatives would have been extremely interesting to detail from the end of March.
I stated in January that I thought there would be more competition on this job. Because of his experience, it could have been assumed with a high degree of validation that Hornibrook would probably have been qualified as QB1 to start the camp, although it might also be thought that junior Jack Coan would receive more reps with the alleged well.
Coan is now the most experienced quarterback in the formation, and we'll dive deeper into it later. In five games last season – averaging 4.5 with Rutgers for Hornibrook – he made 60.2 percent of his throws for 515 yards with five touchdowns.
Wisconsin also recruited Danny Vanden Boom, freshman, two freshmen, Chase Wolf and Nate Carter.
In my opinion, Vanden Boom played well during the spring and fall camps in 2018. Last season he enjoyed extremely limited playing time (see: "The garbage time"), but Badger's legacy led the attack to a touchdown during his first action against New Mexico. .
I think Wolf is the most intriguing player in Jon Budmayr's positional group, not named Graham Mertz, simply because we have not seen him much yet. He did not register early as Hornibrook and Coan before him (as Mertz did for 2019), but he showed a strong arm and showed that he could throw it.
There is also Carter, the native of Waunakee, who also attended the program.
We now come to Mertz, whose preparation pedigree – the state champion, the Elite 11 quarterback, the most popular player in the American Bowl, ranked among the top 65 players in the country – ranks as the most famous of those who will play under the colors of Wisconsin in modern history.
Let's be clear: fans should be excited and hopeful for Mertz. The incoming freshmen showed in his high school years in Kansas a powerful arm, the ability to make a lot of throws, leadership qualities and some self-confidence or bragging in the sleeve of his All-American arm Bowl (Stay Dangerous).
We highlighted not only his career path, but also the expectations of a highly touted quarterback in December. It will likely take a certain learning curve to adapt to the faster speed and evolution of the terminology / schema of the university game – especially to adapt to the Chryst's offensive versus air raid he had led to Blue Valley North.
Mertz's hype will be outside the program with Hornibrook's departure, but I do not necessarily subscribe to Coan vs. Mertz in a royal QB battle for the starting position. Do not neglect Vanden Boom and Wolf because they have more experience in the offense and could show something to come in the next few months. Honestly, I really like the potential of Vanden Boom, but I have the impression that Wolf could be a black horse in the competition. Call that an instinct.
Quick Note on the Spring Ball: Do not expect the competition to be decided early, especially now.
Recall that unless someone absolutely breaks the roof of the McClain Center, where the majority of workouts will likely take place this spring, the latter's departure to South Florida at the end of the month of August will be decided this month of the autumn camp.
It is at this point that quality managers have the ability to work carefully on reception targets and, if there are errors, instructions and developments will be available. As spring practices continue, it will probably tell us which quarterbacks will receive representatives from the first team or the second team at the fall camp.
We can assume that Coan's experience in Division I will give him a considerable advantage in the competition. I always want to see further from him when he throws the ball downhill, and maybe in his third season he will become even more comfortable in the Wisconsin offensive and allow the Badgers to open the game book.
I still maintain my January prediction that Mertz would use these 15 spring practices to refine a stepping stone to an interesting fall camp where he would see representatives.
Now that Hornibrook is no longer on the picture, there is a less experienced player to beat as a starter for each quarterback in the room.
Last thought about leaving Hornibrook: pay attention to what you want
Hornibrook has become a polarizing figure in Wisconsin football for its ups and downs. He split Miami's defense at the 2017 Orange Bowl before winning the MVP honors. In contrast, his last performance as a Badger came against Minnesota, where he threw three interceptions and was credited with four turnovers for a dead defeat against the Gophers.
There were also exasperating interceptions (see: Iowa in 2017, the aforementioned Minnesota match last season, others).
Hornibrook deserves respect for what he has accomplished as a starter, especially for helping the offensive in 2016 and for his ability to recover from mistakes in general. He had the ability to calm down and carry out the offensive on the ground. The instant recollection that comes up is that of 2017 in Michigan, where he threw an interception to Devin Bush who turned into a Wolverines goal and a lead in the lead, but he bounced back at the very next series and hit AJ Taylor is on strike for a decisive touchdown in the win.
The Wisconsin lineup now has two quarterbacks who have played 13 career games, while Coan has four starts. How will we see the group of positions intensify in stressful game situations? Will they move the ball to 3rd and 10th places during a two-minute exercise with the fight vying against an aggressive defense?
We will see from less than a month.