You can't blame Bret Bielema for taking a shot on Danny O'Brien.
Last year the Wisconsin coach tried the same trick, getting a transfer quarterback from the ACC, and ended up with Russell Wilson, the greatest quarterback in Badgers history (if only for one year). He had a shot to get Danny O'Brien after Maryland coach Randy Edsall alienated O'Brien last season and O'Brien decided to transfer. Needing a quarterback to replace Wilson, Bielema accepted O'Brien with open arms.
It turns out that maybe Edsall knew what he was doing all along.
O'Brien is now Wisconsin's third option at quarterback. Joel Stave was the first, after he took over the starting job from struggling O'Brien in Wisconsin's third game. When Stave suffered a broken collarbone against Michigan State, Wisconsin couldn't move the ball with O'Brien at quarterback and that allowed the Spartans to win in overtime. This week, the Badgers play at Indiana with a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game most likely at stake (Big Ten fever, catch it!). Instead of O'Brien, Bielema has decided to go with Curt Phillips, who has 12 career pass attempts, all of which came in 2009.
ESPNWisconsin.com reported Phillips will get the nod. That's quite a fall from grace for O'Brien, the former ACC Rookie of the Year.
O'Brien started this season leading an unimpressive 26-21 win over Northern Iowa, was the quarterback when Wisconsin very nearly got shut out in a 10-7 loss at Oregon State, and when Wisconsin trailed 14-3 the following week against Utah State, Bielema had seen enough and yanked O'Brien for Stave. If Bielema had any question in his mind over whether that was the right decision, the offensive showing against Michigan State was a good reminder why he made it.
Back in Maryland, Edsall is using a freshman linebacker at quarterback, after his first four quarterbacks went down with season-ending injuries. Even with that, he hasn't had much reason to regret what happened.
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