Head coach Paul Chryst addressed the media Monday afternoon following Wisconsin’s close win against Georgia State Saturday at Camp Randall.
After reports on Sunday night that redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook would be the starting quarterback against Michigan State this weekend, fifth year senior Bart Houston was listed as the starter in Wisconsin’s official depth chart.
Chryst gave no confirmation on who the starting quarterback would be Saturday on the road against Michigan State.
“Both have to be ready. I’m positive of that,” Chryst said.
In Saturday’s 23-17 win against Georgia State, Hornibrook went in for Houston in the second half after the offense wasn’t able to get the ball moving efficiently in the first half.
“We needed a spark,” Chryst said of the decision to put Hornibrook in. Whether it was the quarterback adjustment or a shift in the offense’s mentality, the second half gave Wisconsin the spark needed to win against Georgia State.
Houston finished the game completing 10 of 18 throws for 91 yards. Hornibrook finished the game with 122 yards, one touchdown and one interception and, most importantly, a win for Wisconsin. He completed 8 of 12 throws on Saturday.
Chryst said having the two quarterbacks gives Wisconsin the advantage in this weekend’s game against Michigan State. Both can make plays, he has stated throughout fall camp and into the season.
“For us to be as good as we can, we’re going to need both those guys,” Chryst said.
Offensive players spoke highly of both quarterbacks on Monday.
“Both guys are good quarterbacks, and regardless of who it is he’s going to hand me the ball, throw me the ball, and I’m going to block for him, ” senior running back Dare Ogunbowale said.
“It was a close race,” wide receiver Robert Wheelwright said of the starting quarterback competition. “It was not like someone stood out from anyone.”
Wheelwright said Hornibrook’s confidence and poise are vital elements of his overall playing ability.
“He knows he could be out there,” Wheelwright said. “The guys know it, and the guys know whoever will be out there can make plays.”
Hornibrook’s poise was referenced by both offensive players and Coach Chryst. Of the young quarterback Chryst said, “I like the way he works at being the best he can be. He’s got poise, and he has enough of the natural abilities.”
A decision will be made sometime during the week about who will start against Michigan State. As with previous weeks, both quarterbacks will be ready to play come Saturday.