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Sunday, June 16, 2024
Quarterback and forth

Scott Tolzien: Quarterbacks Scott Tolzien, Curt Phillips and Dustin Sherer battled for the starting job during fall camp.

Quarterback and forth

If the Badgers' first offensive play last week is any indication of how the two quarterback system will affect opposing defenses, Wisconsin's quarterbacks should enjoy some great games and put up some impressive numbers.

But the question surrounding the team is can a two-quarterback system really work at the University of Wisconsin?

When junior Isaac Anderson secured senior Scott Tolzien's deep pass and sprinted to the end zone the answer definitely seemed to be yes.

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Over the summer Tolzien and freshman Curt Phillips both earned the right to take the field as Wisconsin's quarterback in the eyes of offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. So when head coach Bret Bielema released the depth chart in late August, the two-quarterback experience began for Badger fans.

Tolzien and Phillips each feel the coaches made the right decision when choosing to play both of them. Their contrasting styles can be a tricky situation for opposing teams.

""It's another thing for defenses to have to prepare for,"" Tolzien said. ""It adds a new dimension to our offense and makes us more dynamic. They have a week to prepare for our offense and in that week's time that's a whole other segment they have to study and practice for.""

Most of the reps against Northern Illinois went to Tolzien and he took advantage. His 257 yards through the air are the most of any Wisconsin quarterback starting his first game. And although Phillips only led two drives he should start to see more playing time as he becomes comfortable with the offense.

The initial thought after seeing how coach Bielema used Tolzien and Phillips in the first game is Phillips is a runner and Tolzien is a passer, but both quarterbacks are eager to show what each of them can do on the field.

""Traditionally I'm more your pocket passer and Curt's got the wheels, but I think Curt can throw the ball as good as anyone,"" Tolzien said. ""And I feel like I can do something with my feet, that's not going to be my primary choice of making plays, but I can still do some things with my feet as well.""

The forgotten hero in all this is senior Dustin Sherer. After taking over as the starting quarterback last year, Sherer has taken a back seat and become a mentor to Tolzien and Phillips.

""He's huge,"" Phillips said. ""He helps us out a lot, especially me with not having much experience at all. He's set me down, before games and during the weekend meetings, just explaining stuff, [helping me] keep my head in things and letting me know what he learned through his experiences last year.""

Like Phillips, Tolzien couldn't praise the work of Sherer enough.

""Everyone wants to talk about me and Curt [Phillips] because in the first game we were the ones on the field, but Dustin [Sherer]'s the guy behind the scenes that has been awesome,"" he said. ""He's just been invaluable for me and Curt [Phillips] just because he's been out there. He sees things. He can manage the game. He's like having another coach on the sideline and it's great. It's really huge to have Dustin on the sideline with us.""

Against Fresno State the coaches plan to play it similar to last weekend, with Tolzien taking the majority of the reps and Phillips helping here and there.

Other top college football teams have used the two-quarterback system with success. Last year Ohio State started the season using both Todd Boeckman and Terrelle Pryor and they ended up playing in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. In 2006 Florida, under head coach Urban Meyer, used both Chris Leak and Tim Tebow to help lead the Gators to the BCS National Championship.

Can putting both Tolzien and Phillips on the field lead the Badgers to a January Bowl? Only time will tell.


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