The University of Wisconsin enters its third straight week without knowing who will start at quarterback.
The Badgers listed junior Alex Hornibrook as questionable on their injury report Monday after he left Saturday’s win over Rutgers with his second concussion in three games.
Hornibrook suffered a concussion on Oct. 20 against Illinois before missing the following week’s game at Northwestern. Sophomore Jack Coan made his first career start against the Wildcats and played the second half Saturday after Hornibrook sustained another concussion on the final play of the first half against the Scarlet Knights.
Coan’s completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 222 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a lost fumble over the past two weeks.
“I thought he handled himself well and knew certainly what we were doing,” UW coach Paul Chryst said of Coan’s performance against Rutgers. “When you get a chance to watch it, he certainly had a good feel for the game. … I’ve liked the way that Jack has prepared all year long, really. If Alex can’t go, he’ll certainly be ready.”
Hornibrook also suffered a concussion as a redshirt freshman in 2016 during the Badgers’ regular-season finale against Minnesota and didn’t play the following week in the Big Ten Championship game.
When asked if Hornibrook’s timetable for return will be handled any differently after his second concussion in as many weeks, Chryst said UW must simply trust the team’s medical staff.
“We’ve got a really good medical staff,” Chryst said. “They’re going to do everything they can to make sure that whenever a player, whether it’s the concussion protocol or another injury, they’re going to make sure that they’re ready to go. We rely on them a ton.”
Hornibrook’s recent absences put a potential redshirt year at risk for Coan, who played six games as a true freshman last season. A new NCAA rule allows players to see action in four games and maintain a year of eligibility.
Third-string quarterback Danny Vanden Boom took the field rather than Coan in end-of-game situations earlier this season when the final result was no longer in doubt. Coan could play in his third straight game Saturday, though, and would pass the four-game threshold if needed for the remainder of the regular season.
“I mean, right now, we’re going to focus in on this week and not worry about,” Chryst said. “We’ll kind of take things as they go. Jack’s all-in. What we didn’t want to do is, we wanted all his snaps to be meaningful, and you’re talking about meaningful snaps that he’s getting. The whole focus on that would be just to do all we can to be ready for this week should we need him.”
Along with Hornibrook, safety Scott Nelson, cornerbacks Deron Harrell and Travian Blaylock and fullback Mason Stokke are also listed as questionable.
Senior nose tackle Olive Sagapolu (right arm) is excepted to miss his second straight game this week.
TV networks use six-day selection window again
For the second straight week, TV networks have chosen to use one of their allotted six-day selection windows for Big Ten games scheduled on Nov. 17.
The kickoff time for UW’s game at Purdue that day will be determined either Saturday night or Sunday, although no conference games will be selected for primetime.