Following a long off season, Jack Coan cemented himself as the primary starting QB for the 2019 football season. While incoming Freshman Graham Mertz showed and continues to show promise as a developing talent for the Badgers, Coan was seen as the best fit for the team moving forward this season.
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The decision to select Coan as the starter did not come at the hands of a formal press release. Rather, head coach Paul Chryst simply listed Coan as the starting QB on the official Badger depth chart. This announcement, or rather lack thereof, provided little in the way of excitement as Coan had received the majority of the starting reps throughout Spring and Summer training camp.
Even as the team went 2-2 with him at the helm, Coan quickly began to prove his merit as a starter. Outside of his poor performance at Penn State last season — where Coan managed to throw for just 60 yards while also throwing two interceptions — he clearly demonstrated his immediate appeal.
Perhaps most importantly, Coan closed out the season on a high note, as he led the team to victories against both Purdue and Miami, the latter of which was a bowl competition that served as a bittersweet conclusion to a comparatively lackluster season for the Badgers. In these games, he completed 22 of his 33 pass attempts for a completion percentage of 66.6%. Coan also totaled 223 yards passing, three passing and one rushing touchdown.
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With an impressive set of performances to close out the year, Coan managed to keep his name in strong contention with the name that received all the hype that Madison had to offer, Mertz. This competition for the starting job raged on throughout the entirety of the off season. Despite the hype around Mertz and his undeniably high talent level, Coan’s experience and strong leadership role in camp drove him to the starting job.
It remains to be seen whether or not Mertz will have a role to play in the Badgers’ offensive system this year, but there is no expectation that he will redshirt at this time. This would hypothetically leave him free to play in every game this season, possibly fulfilling a role as a deep-threat QB to bring on in special situations.