Could Wisconsin enter the start of the Big Ten season without Jack Coan?
Badgers coach Paul Chryst confirmed Monday that Coan suffered a foot injury at practice on Saturday. Chryst told reporters that Coan while “dropping back” and without contact. Coan will see a specialist in the coming days.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Coan will be out “at least several weeks.” Chryst said the prognosis is currently unclear, but they should know more in the next few days.
If Coan can’t open the season as No. 19 Wisconsin’s starter, the Badgers will go with Graham Mertz. Mertz, a sophomore, was Coan’s backup in 2019 and threw just 10 passes all season. Mertz, who has been taking reps with the first team offense in Coan’s absence, was a four-star recruit in the class of 2019 and rated as the No. 2 pro-style QB by Rivals.
Coan was one of six returning starters for the Badgers in 2020. He was 236-of-339 passing for 2,727 yards and 18 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He was an extremely efficient passer who played well off Jonathan Taylor and the powerful Wisconsin rushing attack.
But now Wisconsin is facing the prospect of starting the season without Coan, Taylor, wide receiver Quintez Cephus — the team’s leading receiver in 2019 — and three starters on the offensive line. That’s a lot to replace for a team that’s projected to be the favorite in the Big Ten West.
Wisconsin does open the season with a relatively easy schedule, beginning Oct. 24. The Badgers play Illinois, Nebraska and Purdue before facing their first ranked opponent in Michigan on Nov. 14. The schedule could give the offense time to adapt, though it’s worth pointing out that Illinois was the team that knocked the Badgers from the ranks of the unbeaten in 2019.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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