August 26, 2009

Bielema sees two quarterbacks playing in opener

MADISON, Wis. - For Bret Bielema, the stance has been steady over the past week and a half since media were allowed in to watch practice. He continues to say what he likes from each quarterback and what needs to improve.

Wednesday though, Bielema added a new twist to his thoughts on the quarterback play. That approach being the potential of having two different quarterback play during a given game.

"I really believe that we will probably see multiple quarterbacks in the first game," Bielema said. "So there's going to be a starter, there's going to be a guy in there for the first snap. If not, we'll be in a world of trouble.

"My guess is you'll probably see a couple in there."

While the two-quarterback scheme would be unusual at Wisconsin, it is not necessarily new to the game of college football. Several teams across the nation and even within the Big Ten like to throw two signal callers into the mix to keep the other teams on their toes. If not for that reason, then it would simply be trying to find the player that fits in the best for their scheme.

"Besides Terrelle Pryor and Juice Williams, two guys that have got name worthy recognition, you're looking at a bunch of schools that are trying to find which guy might be their best fit," Bielema said. "We've gone through the same thing.

"The good news is (that) I like the way our guys are playing. It's not like we've got a situation where we don't know who we're putting in there. We're trying to find the best fit."

After Dustin Sherer righted the Badgers ship and led them to a bowl game a season ago, it seemed as though it was his job to lose. Throughout spring ball he was the main guy and even at the start of fall camp he maintained the No. 1 role.

However, as camp has progressed, Curt Phillips and Scott Tolzien have separated themselves from Sherer. Thus, Bielema is left to chose which player has the best opportunity to lead the team to victory, and that might be both.

"I'm comfortable with what helps us win," Bielema said. "Ask me last spring where I was at, if I would ever play a two-headed monster at quarterback, I would have said no. That would have pretty much been my preference. But when you have two players, possibly three players playing well, if they're all doing that, and I'm not saying we are at that point, but if that's what it is, then that's what it is and you move forward."

For opponents, the thought of going against Tolzien and Phillips is somewhat daunting. Tolzien has arguably the best grasp of the offense and is an intuitive passer capable of delivering the needed throws. Phillips, on the other hand, offers an ability to create plays with his legs and speed. No play, no matter how bad it is breaking down, is over with Phillips under center.

The fact that both could see plenty of action, each with a different skill set has Bielema excited about the way it could impact the offense.

"It does," Bielema said. "If you have three of the same type of animal then you got to decide which way to go. The part that I think we have is those guys have certain things they might do better than the other guy, but they all can kind of handle our system and do what we do on Saturdays.

"Which gives them all a shot to win."

Bielema is expected to announce the winner of the quarterback battle sometime before noon central time on Thursday. BadgerBlitz.com believes Tolzien will be named the starter.

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