It seems like it’s been way too long since the Badgers haven’t had a question mark at the quarterback position heading into the beginning of a season. Anxious memories of Tanner McEvoy going against Joel Stave or even more fresh memories of Bart Houston against Alex Hornibrook, flood the minds of Badger fans.
This summer is different though. Alex Hornibrook is undoubtly the starter for this year’s Badgers squad ever since the 2016 team walked off the field at the Cotton Bowl in January. So following suit, Hornibrook is the best quarterback on the Badgers roster in 2017.
Last season, Hornibrook was a part of the quarterback tandem emerged in 2016. His counterpart was Bart Houston who graduated and is now on the Pittsburgh Steelers. While, stats wise, Houston looked like the better passer, Hornibrook was merely in his first season ever at the college level and showed signs of being a lot better.
Over the course of spring practices, Hornibrook showed more zip on his already accurate long balls. This is crucial as in games last season, he lofted deep balls sometimes floated for too long. The lack of zip was a major factor in his seven interceptions.
The signs were there though that he had a high ceiling. Hornibrook led the team last season with nine passing touchdowns and 1,262 passing yards.
While no one could ever have as much fun as Houston playing the game, Hornibrook will prove to be the better quarterback and that will show in his sophomore season.
This is partly due to the fact he does not have to be consistently looking over his shoulder. At any moment last year, head coach Paul Chryst could have switched in Houston. It happened all throughout the season. Now though, the coaching staff has complete confidence in the sophomore and Hornibrook has that pressure off of his shoulders.
Not having to answer constant questions about the two-quarterback system will be a huge positive for Hornibrook.
The only competition at quarterback this offseason is who will be Hornibrook’s backup. Making up that competition are freshman Jack Coan and sophomore Karé Lyles. Neither have taken college in game snaps, and that showed in the spring practices as both struggled to find receivers in scrimmages.
Barring injury though, Hornibrook will shine in his sophomore season as he adds tools to his belt and himself and those around him gain confidence.