Comparing Coan’s start with other Badgers QB debuts

Pressed into service as Wisconsin‘s quarterback due to the unavailability of Alex Hornibrook, who hadn’t passed a concussion protocol, Jack Coan‘s collegiate starting debut was mostly forgettable.

Coan completed 20 of 31 passes in a loss at Northwestern, but for only 158 yards as he completed no passes beyond 10 yards. There were pass plays of longer than 10 yards — although the longest reception was just 18 yards — but those came on catch and runs.

On the plus side, Coan didn’t throw an interception (although he nearly had one picked), but he did fumble near the Wisconsin goal line and his poor hand-off was part of a Jonathan Taylor fumble.

Head coach Paul Chryst said he had confidence in Coan, but had him throw the ball just 16 times in the first three quarters. Coan made some poor decisions and appeared to rely heavily on checkdowns, as many inexperienced QBs will do. Northwestern was stacking nine in the box but Coan still couldn’t get the ball downfield — was that an issue with the quarterback, receivers not getting open or playcalling (or a mix of the three)?

Coan’s passer rating was 117.98. Since 2003, Wisconsin has had 14 starting quarterbacks and Coan’s rating ranks 10th. The other debuts: Matt Schabert at Northwestern in 2003, John Stocco vs. UCF in 2004, Tyler Donovan at Iowa in 2006, Allan Evridge vs. Akron in 2008, Dustin Sherer at Iowa in 2008, Scott Tolzien vs. Northern Illinois in 2009, Russell Wilson vs UNLV in 2011, Danny O’Brien vs. Northern Iowa in 2012, Joel Stave vs. UTEP in 2012, Curt Phillips at Indiana in 2012, Tanner McEvoy vs. LSU (neutral field) in 2014, Bart Houston vs. LSU (neutral field) in 2016 and Hornibrook at Michigan State in 2016.

(Side note: Chryst was Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator for the Donovan, Evridge, Sherer, Tolzien and Wilson games and the head coach for Houston’s and Hornibrook’s.)

Of those games, only Shabert, McEvoy and Sherer lost, and like Coan, those were played away from home.

BADGERS QB DEBUTS SINCE 2003

QB ATT COMP YDS TD INT RATING
Matt Schabert* 36 20 193 0 1 95.03
John Stocco 18 8 164 2 0 157.64
Tyler Donovan* 24 17 228 2 0 178.13
Allan Evridge 10 7 75 1 1 146
Dustin Sherer* 34 17 161 0 2 78.01
Scott Tolzien 20 15 257 1 2 179.44
Russell Wilson 13 10 255 2 0 292.46
Danny O’Brien 23 19 219 2 0 191.29
Joel Stave* 17 12 210 1 1 182
Curt Phillips 7 4 41 1 0 153.49
Tanner McEvoy 24 8 50 0 2 34.17
Bart Houston 31 19 205 0 2 103.94
Alex Hornibrook* 26 16 195 1 1 129.54
Jack Coan* 31 20 158 1 0 117.98

Coan is one of six quarterbacks to make his starting debut after the season had begun — those are noted with an * in the above chart. The others all had fall camp to prepare. Of those six, four — Schabert, Donovan, Sherer and Stave — had played previously that season, including the preceding game before their start.

Only Phillips, like Coan, hadn’t thrown a pass all season (and hadn’t done so in three years). Wisconsin didn’t really need Phillips in his start against Indiana. He threw the ball just seven times and the Badgers won 62-14. That’s probably a strategy Chryst was trying to take with Coan vs. Northwestern as well, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

Here’s the complete rundown of the young Badgers after the first eight games:

“TRUE” FRESHMEN

Travian Blaylock, CB
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: FR
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: No tackles, 1 FR

 

Donte Burton, CB
Western Kentucky: 1 tackle (solo)
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: 1 tackle (solo)
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: 2 tackles (2 solo)

 

John Chenal, FB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Aron Cruickshank, WR
Western Kentucky: 1 kick return, 30 yards
New Mexico: 1 rush, 11 yards; 2 kick returns, 32 yards
BYU: 4 kick returns, 84 yards
Iowa: 2 kick returns, 22 yards
Nebraska: 1 rush, 1 yard; 3 kick returns, 90 yards
Michigan: 3 kick returns, 47 yards
Illinois: 1 rush, 23 yards, TD; 1 kick return, 14 yards
Northwestern: 3 kick returns, 43 yards
Season totals: 3 rushes, 35 yards, TD; 19 kick returns, 382 yards (20.1 avg.)

 

Isaac Guerendo, WR
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

 

More Badgers coverage

Taj Mustapha, WR
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: 1 catch, 3 yards, TD
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals:  1 catch, 3 yards, TD

 

Reggie Pearson, S
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Started, 5 tackles (2 solo), TFL, FF
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 5 tackles (2 solo), TFL, FF

 

Cormac Sampson, TE
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

 

Jack Sanborn, ILB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: 1 tackle (solo)
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: 1 tackle (solo)
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: 4 tackles (2 solo), FF
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 6 tackles (4 solo), FF

 

Alexander Smith, CB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: 1 tackle (solo), PBU
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: 1 tackle (solo), PBU

 

Bryson Williams, NT
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: 1 tackle (solo)
Iowa: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: 2 tackles (1 solo)
Northwestern: QBH
Season totals: 5 tackles (3 solo), QBH

 

Rachad Wildgoose, CB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: 2 tackles (2 solo)
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: 2 tackles (2 solo)
Michigan: Started, 5 tackles (2 solo), PBU
Illinois: Started, 2 tackles (1 solo), PBU
Northwestern: Started, 7 tackles (5 solo)
Season totals: 11 tackles (7 solo), 2 PBU

 

Have not played
A.J. Abbott, WR; Nate Carter, QB; Boyd Dietzen, DE; Jack Eschenbach, TE; Jaylan Franklin, OLB; Michael Furtney, OL; C.J. Goetz, DE; Mike Gregoire, WR; Jacob Heyroth, ILB; Andrew Lyons, OL; Isaiah Mullens, DE; Brady Schipper, WR; Conor Schlichting, P; Marty Strey, OLB; Jack Torchio, S; Nakia Watson, RB; Chase Wolf, QB

Out for season
Mason Platter, OLB

 

REDSHIRT FRESHMEN

 

Tyler Beach, OL
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Logan Bruss, OL/TE
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Started, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Jake Ferguson, TE
Western Kentucky: 4 catches, 43 yards
New Mexico: 1 catch, 4 yards
BYU: 3 catches, 61 yards
Iowa: 4 catches, 58 yards, TD
Nebraska: 4 catches, 47 yards, TD
Michigan: 2 catches, 46 yards
Illinois: Started, 3 catches, 62 yards, TD
Northwestern: 2 catches, 7 yards
Season totals: 23 catches, 328 yards, 3 TD

 

Cade Green, WR
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

Best of the Badgers

Izayah Green-May, OLB
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: n/a

 

Deron Harrell, CB
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Started, 3 tackles (3 solo)
Nebraska: Started, 2 tackles
Michigan: Started, 3 tackles, (2 solo)
Illinois: Started, PBU
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: 8 tackles (5 solo), PBU

 

Matt Hennigsen, DE
Western Kentucky: Started, 4 tackles (1 solo)
New Mexico: Started, 2 tackles (1 solo), TFL
BYU: 2 tackles, QBH
Iowa: 2 tackles
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Started, 6 tackles (3 solo)
Illinois: Started, 2 tackles (2 solo), sack, TFL, QBH
Northwestern: Started, 2 tackles
Season totals: 14 tackles (4 solo), sack, 2 TFL, 2 QBH

 

Faion Hicks, CB
Western Kentucky: Started, 3 tackles (2 solo), INT
New Mexico: Started, 1 tackle, PBU
BYU: Started, 5 tackles (3 solo), PBU
Iowa: Started, 4 tackles (4 solo), TFL
Nebraska: Started, 2 tackles
Michigan: 1 tackle (solo)
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Started, 2 tackles (2 solo)
Season totals: 18 tackles (12 solo), 2 PBU, INT, TFL

 

Kayden Lyles, DL
Western Kentucky: Started, 2 tackles (2 solo)
New Mexico: Started, 2 tackles (1 solo), FR
BYU: Started, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Started, 1 tackle (solo)
Nebraska: Started, 1 tackle
Michigan: Started, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 6 tackles (4 solo), FR

 

Scott Nelson, S
Western Kentucky: Started, 7 tackles (5 solo), 2 PBU
New Mexico: Started, 4 tackles (2 solo), INT
BYU: Started, 5 tackles (1 solo) 1.5 TFL, PBU
Iowa: Started, 4 tackles (1 solo), PBU
Nebraska: Started, 5 tackles (3 solo), FF, PBU
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: 25 tackles (12 solo), 5 PBU, 1.5 TFL, INT, FF

 

Josh Seltzner, OL
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Danny Vanden Boom, QB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: 1-for-1 passing, 3 yards, TD
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Did not play
Season totals: 1-for-1 passing, 3 yards, TD

 

Aaron Vopal, DE
Western Kentucky: 1 tackle (solo)
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: 1 tackle (solo)


Have not played
Michael Balistreri, DE; Ethan Cesarz, ILB; Jake Collinsworth, FB; Alex Fenton, OL; Hunter Johnson, RB; Collin Larsh, K; Tyler Mais, S; Emmet Perry, WR; Coy Wanner, TE

Out for season
Blake Smithback, OL

 

“TRUE” SOPHOMORES

 

Adam Bay, LS
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: Played, did not record a statistic
BYU: Played, did not record a statistic
Iowa: Played, did not record a statistic
Nebraska: Played, did not record a statistic
Michigan: Played, did not record a statistic
Illinois: Played, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Played, did not record a statistic
Season totals: n/a

 

Jack Coan, QB
Western Kentucky: Did not play
New Mexico: Did not play
BYU: Did not play
Iowa: Did not play
Nebraska: Did not play
Michigan: Did not play
Illinois: Did not play
Northwestern: Started, 20-for-31 passing, 158 yards, TD
Season totals: 20-for-31 passing, 158 yards, TD

 

Madison Cone, CB
Western Kentucky: Played, did not record a statistic
New Mexico: 1 tackle (solo), INT, PBU
BYU: 3 tackles (3 solo)
Iowa: 1 tackle (solo)
Nebraska: 5 tackles (5 solo)
Michigan: 1 tackle
Illinois: Started, did not record a statistic
Northwestern: Started, 2 tackles (2 solo), INT
Season totals: 13 tackles (12 solo), PBU, 2 INT

 

Danny Davis III, WR
Western Kentucky: Did not play (suspended)
New Mexico: Did not play (suspended)
BYU: 4 catches, 40 yards
Iowa: 1 catch, 12 yards, TD
Nebraska: 3 catches, 38 yards
Michigan: 1 catch, 12 yards
Illinois: 4 catches, 48 yards
Northwestern: Started, 5 catches, 55 yards
Season totals: 18 catches, 205 yards, TD

 

Jonathan Taylor, RB
Western Kentucky: Started, 18 rush, 145 yards, 2 TD
New Mexico: Started, 33 rush, 253 yards, 3 TD
BYU: Started, 26 rush, 117 yards; 3 catches, 14 yards
Iowa: Started, 25 rush, 113 yards; 2 catches, 6 yards
Nebraska: Started, 24 rush, 221 yards, 3 TD
Michigan: Started, 17 rush, 101 yards, 0 TD
Illinois: Started, 27 rush, 159 yards; 1 catch, 2 yards
Northwestern: Started, 11 rush, 46 yards
Season totals: 170 rush, 1,109 yards, 8 TD; 6 catches, 22 yards

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns