This offseason for Wisconsin football started the same way it did a year ago, a new unproven defensive coordinator at the helm and plenty of mystery around the quarterback position. While the coordinator position is set in stone in Jim Leonhard, the question over who will lead the Wisconsin offense onto the field next fall is still up in the air as Notre Dame graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire is expected to decide between UW and North Carolina in the coming week.

Despite the excitement of bringing in someone like Zaire in a situation that seems eerily similar to the former tale of a transfer named Russel Wilson, the move might not be the best for UW this next season. It is now three weeks into spring practice and redshirt sophomore Alex Hornibrook has been the starter since day one, begging the question whether Zaire could even adapt Wisconsin’s vastly different system from Notre Dame in time for game one.

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That being said, Zaire has to land somewhere, and with head coach Paul Chryst’s dual quarterback system a year ago, the move could very well result in a big change at the position.

The former Fighting Irish leader and four-star recruit certainly has plenty of talent, playing three seasons in South Bend and posting an adjusted quarterback passer rating of 86.5 in the one year he started more than a couple of games. Also in that span, he averaged 10.7 yards per attempt and threw at 65 percent.

Those numbers, however, came in a season in which he was used as a glorified back up and not someone who could be expected to dip his feet in a program and take over. He competed for the starting spot a season ago, only to be outlasted by Deshone Kizer on the way to a loss to Texas and the last night that Notre Dame would stay in the AP top 25.

Following the battle against the Longhorns, the Irish completely folded the rest of the season, finishing 4-8. Despite all the turmoil and failure, Zaire’s was barely even mentioned in consideration for the starting job.

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Even with Chryst’s relationship with Zaire when originally recruiting him in 2011, questions over his dedication to Wisconsin are more relevant than ever as his decision has taken over five months to reach a conclusion. The reason the quarterback is even forced to make a decision now is the decided transfer of LSU’s quarterback Brandon Harris, who is now the newest Tar Heel as of a week ago.

The smart choice with the Badgers is, as usual, the boring choice. Hornibrook provides a safety blanket with an upside that is hard to ignore.

With three more years of eligibility and seven starts under his belt against some of the best teams in the country, Hornibrook could very well give Wisconsin the stability it needs to make a push for another Big Ten championship appearance.

With time behind an almost-all-returning offensive line and a young receiving core to develop over time, the Badgers should already have the answer they need to be their starting quarterback.