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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


After rollercoaster year from Sherer, freshmen Phillips, Budmayr join quarterback competition

Last season, the University of Wisconsin football team’s quarterbacks averaged 188.1 yards per game through the air and threw 11 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. After 11 total games played in his career, then-junior quarterback Dustin Sherer — who took over the starting job from senior Allan Evridge midway through the sixth game last season — has totaled six touchdowns to five interceptions.

With numbers like that, it should come as no surprise that UW head coach Bret Bielema announced the starting quarterback spot would be open for competition in spring practices.

“The quarterback position is wide open,” Bielema said. “We have four quarterbacks. Obviously, Dustin will have the biggest amount of experience coming into today’s practice … but we’re excited to watch it. As far as what happens, we will know at the end of spring ball.”


Sherer, along with redshirt junior Scott Tolzien, redshirt freshman Curt Phillips and freshman Jon Budmayr, should provide competition similar to last year’s between Sherer and Evridge. With the older Evridge eventually winning the job last year, Sherer believes his experience makes him the frontrunner, despite Bielema’s claims of equal competition.

“That has been the way ever since I got here,” Sherer said of the spring competition.

“You know, when I was a freshman people said I was going to start for John Stocco, and [that wasn’t the case]. You just got to handle it and go along and make the best of your own reps.”

Though Bielema agrees Sherer’s experience gives him an edge, Bielema says he expects more out of the senior because of that experience.

“He knows a lot of our offense; he should probably know it as well as anybody,” Bielema said. “Bottom line, for him to be a senior and in the position that he is in, he has to play at a level that is way above everybody else to hold that position.”

Pushing Sherer for the starting spot will be the athletic Phillips. Rated as the seventh best dual-threat quarterback by his senior year, Phillips participated in spring practice last season and was named UW’s offensive scout team player of the year.

“Curt Phillips will be one of the guys having the biggest benefit from being here a year ago at this time, coming in last January,” Bielema said. “Just being able to have that much more experience coming into the first practice.”

Although Phillips may be a long shot to dislodge Sherer from the starting spot, the freshman has the physical tools to move up the roster if either Sherer or Tolzien slips up.

“It definitely is [an open competition],” Phillips said. “Dustin did a great job last year, but we try not to worry about that, just compete and get better each day.”

At the bottom of the roster sits true freshman Budmayr. Rated the No. 1 quarterback in Illinois by, Budmayr is using the spring practices to get used to the speed of the game and to digest the complex Badger offense.

According to Bielema, the true freshman is passing all expectations so far.

“Jon Budmayr is coming in and showing that as a freshman he thinks beyond his years, but he is entering his first semester of college life, let alone college ball,” Bielema said.

After his first day of practice, Budmayr was just happy to be on the field.

“It was awesome; I really enjoyed it,” Budmayr said. “It’s college football, a dream come true, and I had a lot of fun out there today.”

Helping to keep the competition even, all of the quarterbacks will get similar reps with the same groups of personnel — especially the returning wide receivers and tight ends.

“That’s huge,” Sherer said. “I think that we have a good core group of receivers and very good tight ends. Having those guys back and getting to know the timing and getting to play with them and reps with them before the season is huge.”

Despite the open competition, Phillips maintains the on-field rivalry doesn’t translate off the field.

“It is kind of surprising how well we work together,” Phillips said. “Everybody is good friends — we all hang out off the field. We all get along real well, and we try and help each other out as much as we can.”

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