Badgers' McEvoy eagerly awaits another QB shot

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By Jeff Potrykus
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MADISON--Safety Tanner McEvoy is focused on doing whatever he can to help Wisconsin’s defense rebound from a subpar performance in the regular-season finale and defeat No. 8 South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl.

“We’re playing in a great bowl game against a great team,” McEvoy, who redshirted at South Carolina in 2011 before transferring to a junior college, said after practice last week.

However, as soon as the bowl game is over, McEvoy will turn his attention back to the position he covets—quarterback.

McEvoy, who has been working at quarterback during developmental practices for young players this month, will be given an opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback job in the spring.

“I’m excited about it,” McEvoy said. “I think it is going to be a fun spring.”

Redshirt sophomore Joel Stave has started all 12 games this season and has passed for 2,414 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has completed 61.6 percent of his passes but too often has missed wide-open receivers.

Redshirt freshman Bart Houston also is expected to be in the mix. Dual-threat quarterback D.J. Gillins hopes to graduate early from Jean Ribault High School in Jacksonville, Fla., and enroll at UW in January. Walk-ons Connor Senger and Thad Armstrong also are expected back in the spring.

“It’s always fun to be out there and play the position I want to play,” McEvoy said with a grin when asked about getting work at quarterback this month. “I’m not knocking safety.

“But I’d rather play quarterback, and they know that. I still feel like I can throw it a little bit. I’m looking forward to this last game, getting that win and then trying to focus on having a great spring.”

McEvoy passed for 1,943 yards and 25 touchdowns and ran for 414 yards and six touchdowns last season at Arizona Western College. He opened camp in August as the No. 3 quarterback, but it was clear he wasn’t ready to compete for the starting job. He was moved to wide receiver but then moved to safety after suffering a broken bone in his wrist. The injury made it impossible for McEvoy to take snaps or catch balls with both hands.

“If things don’t work out at quarterback,” he said, “I’ve got something (safety) to fall back on. … I like doing the hitting instead of being the one getting hit. You don’t get hurt as much.

“I like playing center field and reading the quarterback and try to be in position to make plays.”

McEvoy appears to be throwing the ball more accurately and with more velocity now than he did in August.

“He wants to play,” offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said. “He’d probably play both ways if we let him.”

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