Jack Coan Ready For Next Opportunity

Jack Coan Ready For Next Opportunity

Football

Jack Coan Ready For Next Opportunity

MADISON, Wis. – Knowing he wasn’t going to get the start, sophomore quarterback Jack Coan had no problems drifting off to sleep at the team hotel the night before Saturday’s game against Rutgers.

That was the exact opposite the week prior when he knew he would be getting his first collegiate start. And it’ll be interesting to see what his sleep patterns will look like in the coming days.

After helping the Badgers get to the finish line in their 31-17 victory over the Scarlet Knights, Coan will likely start preparing for his second start in three weeks with starter Alex Hornibrook back in the concussion protocol.

“It was definitely different (not starting), but I always try to prepare the same each week as if I’m the starter,” Coan said. “Not much really changed.”

Hornibrook, who wasn’t available for interviews afterward, was thrown down on his back for an 8-yard loss on the final play of the first half. Hitting his head hard on the turf, Hornibrook was evaluated in the locker room and ruled out, opening the door for Coan.

A week after completing 20 of 31 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown in the loss at Northwestern, his first game action of the season, Coan went 5 of 7 for 64 yards and an 11-yard fourth-quarter touchdown to Danny Davis. He was eased into the game with the Badgers running the ball on the first 13 plays of the second half, generating 163 yards of offense and capping scoring drives of 88 yards and 75 yards with Jonathan Taylor rushing touchdowns.

“I don’t really care if we run the ball or pass the ball,” said Coan, who also led a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. “I’m just happy if we’re moving the ball and scoring touchdowns. It was great to see JT and the line going, and it was just awesome to see them go.”

Entering the final three games of the season, including a challenging road test at Penn State Saturday, Wisconsin finds itself in the middle of a quarterback controversy. Head coach Paul Chryst will certainly play Hornibrook, his three-year starter who is now 26-5 as a starting quarterback, if he’s healthy, but Coan provides an interesting foil.

He’s more mobile than Hornibrook and has shown the ability to extend plays, even though the Badgers haven’t really tapped into the potential of bootlegs and designed runs. More importantly, Coan hasn’t made careless throws in two weeks on the job.

Hornibrook was sharp early Saturday and completed 6 of 9 passes for 87 yards, including three third-down conversions, but was marred with two interceptions. One was underthrown into tight coverage with three receivers in the area, likely a breakdown in route running but a pass that shouldn’t have been attempted. His second interception was telegraphed on an out route, made worse by the fact the throw was late. Before being knocked out of the game, Hornibrook was just 1 of 7 for five yards.

A new NCAA rule allows Coan to four games this season without losing a season of eligibility. With Hornibrook suffering his second concussion in 15 days, there certainly is a concern of the quarterback’s short-term and long-term health. While Coan originally was for redshirting this season, he said Saturday he’ll trust whatever the coaches want him to do.

“We’ll find out where (Alex is) at and see on it,” Chryst said. “And that’s what’s good about the procedures that are put in place. And certainly we’re poised and ready to do whatever we need to for this team and Jack is too. But hopefully, we can get Alex back.”

With two games under his belt and growing, adapting to the speed of the game to feel more comfortable, seeing Coan under center instead of Hornibrook doesn’t draw panic among his teammates.

“Ton of confidence in him,” right tackle David Edwards said. “He’s a great kid. Alex and him share the same approach when it comes to preparation, the way they practice, and their presence in the huddle is really felt, and I have tons of confidence in what Jack can do.”

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