It’s as close to a primetime matchup as the UW-Whitewater football team can have in regular season.
And when the Warhawks travel to Titans Stadium to play UW-Oshkosh at 6 p.m. Saturday, there is uncertainty regarding who will play quarterback.
All season, fifth-year head coach Kevin Bullis has regarded the quarterback position as an open competition. Zach Oles was never formally declared as the starting quarterback, but running back Alex Peete, center Ethan Kee or safety Mark McGrath weren’t declared starters either.
Oles was just the quarterback who took the most—if not all the—reps on Saturdays.
“For us, we’re in a constant state of competition,” Bullis said. “What it does is it heightens everybody’s level of play. To me, the most beautiful part was to see Zach Oles coaching Max. It was beautiful. They were collaborating and consulting on the sidelines. When Max is out there, Zach is communicating and the other way around.”
Max Meylor is the understudy for Oles, who has started every game this season and played the majority of the snaps in all except for the game against St. Xavier in Week 3.
Meylor came in relief in the second quarter last Saturday against UW-Stout and led the team to three second-half TDs in a 37-17 victory.
Meylor spelled Oles for an undisclosed reason against UW-River Falls on October 26.
Last Saturday, Meylor replaced Oles because of poor performance, according to Bullis.
“Zach was struggling in the first half and Max took advantage of his opportunity,” Bullis said. “Every game we’ve gone into we’ve really had a plan that Max would get an opportunity to play if things weren’t going well. It’s all about getting competition every day.
For me it puts proof to one of the basic tenets of this program, which is competition. It’s a constant state of competition.”
Meylor completed 11 of his 18 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns against the Blue Devils.
So, which quarterback will start at Oshkosh, with the undisputed WIAC championship and likely a No. 1 playoff seed on the line.
That won’t be determined until the week of preparation is over.
Wisniewski continues to break out
Ryan Wisniewski was a monster for the Warhawks in 2018. Whenever he touched the ball, it went for big yardage.
Through the first six games of the season, that wasn’t the case.
In the past two games, the 2018 numbers have returned. Last Saturday, Wisniewski had 11 catches for 151 yards.
It was the second game in a row that he had more than 100 yards receiving.
Midway through the season, offensive coordinator Peter Jennings urged patience because Wisniewski was impactful in the second half of the season in 2018. Well, it’s happening again.
The Warhawks and Titans will be playing under the lights at Titan Stadium on Saturday with the 6 p.m. start. The reason for the start is because the game will be broadcast on My24 TV out of Milwaukee (WVTV-DT2).
Bullis is revising the team’s schedule to reflect that unusual night game.
“We start that tonight to prepare them for our process on Saturday,” Bullis said. “You want to keep things as consistent as possible—obviously playing at 6 p.m. is not consistent to when we’ve played games this year.
“We’re going to get them up at 10 in the morning doing some things to get them out of bed so they aren’t laying around, lounging around because that affects their metabolism and their energy level.”
Bullis, usually a reserved type, views the television opportunity as an opportunity for the Warhawks.
In the past, Bullis has said he prefers games to be played as early as possible so that the team can wake up in the morning, go through meetings and play right away.
No distractions. No sitting around and waiting for game time.
But the opportunity of playing on a Milwaukee-area station will be worth the wait, he said.
“Any time we can get our program on TV to get the public exposure and the University we have to do it,” Bullis said. “We live in a time right now where all universities in the country have enrollment numbers that are dropping. It’s as competitive as it’s ever been to get students to come to your school.
“This is as important for our program as it is for our university to get UW-W’s name and our brand out in front of Wisconsin people who are going to be able to watch that game.”