QB Alex Hornibrook works under pressure during the Spring Football Game. (Rebecca Haas, sconniesportstalk.com)

Who’s the Badgers’ next starting quarterback?

Though Wisconsin spring football has come to an end, there is still no decision on who will be the starting quarterback for the 2016-2017 football season. According to head coach Paul Chryst, that was to be expected.

“I think they [Bart Houston and Alex Hornibrook] took advantage of the practices and the meeting times, and I think that—I told them the other day, we’re not where we want to be, but I don’t they’re behind schedule,” Chryst said after Saturday’s spring scrimmage.

Of the two quarterbacks competing for the starting position, Houston has more game time experience. He has the only game time experience of the two. Houston played in the Illinois game on October 14th, 2015 after starting quarterback Joel Stave went down with an injury. He completed 22 for 33 passes (66.7%) for two touchdowns and two interceptions. Following the game, many believed Houston’s performance merited consideration to replace Stave as starting quarterback.

Bart Houston, a fifth year senior, was a four-star recruit out of high school. He attended De La Salle High School in California, where during his senior year he threw for 1,999 yards on 99 of 171 passes and 16 touchdowns. ESPN ranked him as the #12 quarterback in the country at the time.

Redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook was a three-star recruit from Malvern Prep High School in Pennsylvania. In his senior year of high school, Hornibrook broke school records throwing for 2,156 yards and 26 touchdowns. Though he hasn’t seen playing time as a Badger, he proved he can throw the long ball Saturday during the spring scrimmage.

Hornibrook completed 4 of 8 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns during the scrimmage. He and wide receiver George Rushing showed great chemistry on the field with the two touchdowns for 46 and 43 yards.

“I thought Alex did some good things today, and I think he’s done some good things in most of the practices we’ve had, every practice,” Chryst said during the post-game press conference. “I thought he had poise, and the one thing that Alex does is he’s an accurate deep ball passer.”

Chryst seemed pleased with Hornibrook’s performance Saturday, but he did stress Hornibrook’s lack of real game time experience. Though his performance was solid, the scrimmage was not near the same atmosphere as a regular season game.

Houston had a solid performance Saturday afternoon as well, completing 7 of 13 passes for 73 yards. Houston also showed off his mobility, running for 9 yards and stepping outside the pocket to make throws.

“It’s a great competition and it’s going to be continuing throughout the summer,” Houston said following the scrimmage Saturday. “I feel like the spring was a good spot to start for the summer.”

Houston has been picked by most as the top option for the upcoming experience, with game experience and a satisfactory performance preparing for the upcoming season, both myself and Luke Schaetzel, Sconnie Sports Talk’s football beat writers, like Hornibrook’s ability to play and make throws. Houston is a safer choice for starting quarterback, but to win games, taking the safest option is not necessarily the best option. I would rather see Hornibrook starting this season at this point, simply for his beautifully thrown balls and his ability to read the Badgers playbook and make plays downfield. That being said, 130 days remain until the Badgers head to Lambeau Field to play the LSU Tigers in the season opener.

“We’ve got to have a great summer and be ready to go,” Chryst said Saturday post scrimmage. “We’ve truly got to take advantage of fall camp and those 29 practice opportunities before we open up, but I think both Alex and Bart did do a lot this spring, and with that I think they’ve grown.”

Coach Chryst does not plan on making any announcement on the starting quarterback position any time soon.

“I think they’re in a good spot, but we’ve got a ways to go.”

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