MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen is staying quiet when it comes to his quarterback for Saturday’s opener against No. 13 LSU, but one of his best players said Tanner McEvoy will get the start for the 14th-ranked Badgers.
“At the end of the day, we’re right where we were,” Andersen said Monday. “We’ve got two quarterbacks that I think are going to help this football team throughout the year. And whoever takes the first snap doesn’t necessarily say he’s going to be the guy for the whole season. We’ve got two kids who want to compete and will continue to compete, and that’s where we’re going to stay with it.”
When standout running back Melvin Gordon was asked about the situation, he said McEvoy would start over incumbent Joel Stave.
“I think Joel’s a great player; people definitely overlook him,” Gordon said. “But even though Tanner was named the starter, I think Joel will continue to work and wait for his chance.”
He added: “They’re going with Tanner. Obviously I hope Tanner plays well and I wish the best for Tanner and I hope he can lead our team.”
Stave started all 13 games last season, passing for 2,494 yards and 22 touchdowns, second-most in school history behind Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson. But he also threw 13 interceptions and had a penchant for missing open receivers as the Badgers finished 9-4, including a 34-24 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl.
The more mobile McEvoy, who passed for 1,943 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushed for 414 yards and six touchdowns at Arizona Western College in 2012, struggled last fall during the Badgers’ quarterback competition. He eventually moved to receiver and then safety for the final 10 games, including three starts.
Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the Badgers will rely heavily on a running game powered by Gordon, who rushed for 1,609 yards last season as a sophomore.
“We want to run the ball first,” Andersen said. “We want to take some shots with our play action. Our goal is to obviously be a physical, power football team that gets in the fourth quarter and ultimately tries to wear people down and ground it, pound it. That will never change.”