Replacing the player that threw for 3,175 yards and 33 touchdowns, to just 4 interceptions, while compiling a 191.8 quarterback rating may be Wisconsin's toughest task heading into the 2012 season.
O'Brien looks to regain his 2010 form.
With the help of junior transfer quarterback Danny O'Brien, as well as some senior leadership from Curtis Phillips and Jon Budmayr, it may be in the stars for the Badgers to get similar production from the quarterback position in 2012.
The Front Runner:Danny O'Brien
Passing Yards: 4,086
Completion %" 56.7%
QB Rating: 122.5
Although he hasn't been given the job yet, Maryland transfer quarterback Danny O'Brien will head into fall camp as the favorite to win the position and replace Russell Wilson.
O'Brien, the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year, led Maryland to a 9-4 record, throwing for over 2,400 yards and 22 touchdowns a freshman. O'Brien struggled last season under new Head Coach Randy Edsall, eventually losing his job to C.J. Brown.
Helping O'Brien will be the presence of senior running back and Heisman hopeful, Montee Ball. Along with a stellar offensive line and more comfortable offensive system, O'Brien should look more like the 2010 version in 2012.
Top Contender:Joel Stave
Stave continues to make large strides.
Passing Yards: N/A
Completion %" N/A
QB Rating: N/A
Stave had an impressive showing in the spring game and elevated himself to O'Brien's top challenger. Stave has no true game experience, but could be the future for Wisconsin at quarterback with his tremendous upside.
Over the spring, Stave improved tremendously with his accuracy and decision making. The redshirt freshman needs to stretch the field if he's going to be a serious contender to O'Brien.
The Dark Horse:Curtis Phillips
Passing Yards: 65 yards
Completion %" 58.3
QB Rating: 87.2
If he can anywhere close to 100 percent by the start of the season, Phillips has to be taken serious with his experience as a back up. It looks bleak at best that the senior quarterback will get to play this season.
Can Phillips ever get back to full strength?
Phillips threw the ball very well during the spring, but his mobility was extremely limited, and was never able to fully participate in full contact drills.
Others in the mix
Joe Brennan: 6-foot-3, 213-pounds - Redshirt Sophomore
Injured/Not on depth chart
Bart Houston: 6-foot-4, 215-pounds - Freshman
Jon Budmayr: 6-foot-0, 190-pounds - Redshirt Junior