Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Quarterback rotation a thing of the past?

As a sports writer that personally sat through 10 Wisconsin football games this season, there were few things to get excited about by the time the second half of the season rolled around.

Lee Evans kept the entertainment level up, as did Anthony Davis, and Scott Starks made me anticipate postgame out of sheer curiousity of what suit he would be decked out in.

But what got me through the kickoff was guessing which quarterback would get the call to start. And when that decision was made, I could get through the first quarter by counting what series it was and when the next quarterback would come in.

But as I paged through The Wisconsin State Journal yesterday I was sadly informed that, according to postseason speculation by UW’s offensive coordinator Brian White, there will be no guessing next season when it comes to who will be under center.

White said it would be his guess that next year one quarterback will get the call to start, and then unless he is injured, he would play the whole game. There will be no alternating of quarterbacks during individual series.

As of now this is, of course, just speculation, since the start of spring ball is still several months away.

There are benefits to keeping one quarterback in for the entire game, and in theory it should make for a more organized offense. However, this system of trading off proved to work for UW this season.

Throughout the season, when questioned about whether or not it was at all distracting to have Brooks Bollinger and Jim Sorgi trading off in the huddle during games, UW’s offensive players continually insisted that there was no change on the field, regardless who was taking snaps. Players said the offense was the same and both quarterbacks were equally as talented, and there was no confusion on the field.

And the numbers proved that this was a success as well. Bollinger and Sorgi both passed for over 1,000 yards this season.

So if the Badger squad doesn’t mind having two quarterbacks split the duties, why eliminate one from the rotation?

White didn’t speculate as to which quarterback would more than likely take over the permanent quarterback spot, but based on the distribution of playing time over the last couple of games of the season, one would have to guess that Bollinger would once again be named the starter.

After Bollinger came back from his groin pull he suffered against Illinois he played the entirety of the Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota games. That decision left Sorgi on the sidelines for three consecutive games.

If Bollinger were to be named the starter again for next season, where does that leave Wisconsin when his eligibility expires? Next year Bollinger will be a senior, and if he takes all snaps (except for those in which he is nursing an injury), Sorgi will start the following season with no game experience from 2002.

Knowing that this Badger team is young and the players are growing together, why would the Badgers choose to eliminate a player that is going to need to perform well in the future from their rotation?

And the same can be said for Bollinger’s case. Alvarez always makes sure to mention how valuable Bollinger is to his team following every game, so why would he want to keep him on the sidelines?

To give justification to this possible rotation change, White said that both quarterbacks played better knowing that they were going to play the whole game. Bollinger played well in the final games of the season, incorporating both the run and the pass in the final three games of the season. Sorgi also did well against Oregon and Fresno State and Michigan State when he was slated to start.

But don’t overlook the effectiveness of Sorgi coming off the bench. The sophomore quarterback has become accustomed to jumping into the game when Bollinger goes down with injury, and has lifted UW in those cases. He pulled out a victory against Virginia in the season opener and he staged a comeback against Illinois. Sorgi became so comfortable with his replacement role that he actually said after the Illinois game that he tends to do better when he comes into a game cold.

So why, then, is there a benefit to deleting this aspect of the Badgers’ rotation?

Both quarterbacks have proved to be worthy of their roles at different times this season, and both quarterbacks deserve the right to help their team on the field on Saturdays.

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