Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 4/21/12
MADISON, Wis. A No. 1 quarterback appears to have emerged at the University of Wisconsin for the spring, at least.Redshirt freshman Joel Stave worked out during spring practice Saturday with the first-team offense and performed with the kind of poise that Badgers coach Bret Bielema has been seeking out of his returning signal callers.Bielema wasn't ready to officially declare Stave ahead of fellow quarterback Joe Brennan, but he sounded pleased with Stave's progress during spring practice."I don't know if I would classify it as moving ahead, but we just thought (Stave) gave a little bit more continuity to the ones,' Bielema said. "I also want to stress to Joey to keep moving forward, and he's got to be consistent in his play and his throws, his reads, his reactions. He's got a nice arm. It's just he's got to be more consistent.'While Stave and Brennan battle for spots on the depth chart, both realistically are fighting for the backup quarterback position. Former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien, an Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year in 2010, will enroll at Wisconsin in June and presumably will become the Badgers' starting quarterback in the fall. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining after graduating from Maryland.Still, Stave and Brennan have said coaches assured them of an opportunity to compete for the starting spot. And both are attempting to take advantage of the extra repetitions in spring practice. During a scrimmage situation on Saturday, Stave led the No. 1 offense on a five-play, 98-yard touchdown drive against the No. 1 defense. Stave threw just one pass, but it was a four-yard touchdown strike to fullback Sherard Cadogan despite a player in Stave's face. Running back Melvin Gordon gained 48 yards on his first two runs of the drive, and Kyle Zuleger added a 44-yard run to the 6-yard line."Obviously the o-line did a nice job,' Bielema said. "I thought we did a lot better job at the point of attack. We're kind of putting (the defense) at a disadvantage. We don't allow cut tackles, which some of those bigger players, I think if the guys were flying in and cutting them at the heels, they'd be down. But we just don't want to do that against our guys.'Brennan, meanwhile, struggled with some snap exchanges while working with the No. 2 offense, though Bielema partially attributed the botches to the inexperience of freshman-to-be Dan Voltz, who was playing center."I think it's a little bit of a conversation that we're having with Dan and Joey,' Bielema said. "Joey's got to sit in there a little bit longer. It looked like a mixed bag whether it was the snap or the exchange.'Stave, who took a redshirt season in 2011, was a first-team all-state player as a high school senior from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association. He threw for 5,094 yards and 41 touchdowns in high school, and his size makes him appealing at the college level. Stave is listed at 6-foot-5 and 223 pounds. Brennan is 6-3 and 213 pounds. Bielema said he wasn't surprised Stave had established command of the huddle in such a short time period. Stave has been with the program one season less than Brennan, who actually appeared in six games in 2011 as a backup to Russell Wilson."Really the only advantage Joey had was the fall because Joel came in during the winter, and I think just Stave has impressed me from day one,' Bielema said. "Just his composure, his presence, and he's got that little bit of it' to him and does a nice job of just taking the big picture.'Wisconsin will plays its spring game at 4 p.m. on April 28.Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
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