Editorial

Should Graham Mertz Start At Quarterback Over Jack Coan For The Wisconsin Badgers In 2020?

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David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief
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The Wisconsin Badgers have a major quarterback decision to make for next season between Graham Mertz and Jack Coan.

As soon as we got robbed in the Rose Bowl against Oregon, my phone started blowing up with people debating whether or not it was time for Paul Chryst to pull the trigger on a QB change in 2020.

I hate to burst the bubble of everybody praying for Mertz, who will be a redshirt freshman next season, to start in 2020, but it’s not likely to happen Week 1. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)

I’ve been critical of Coan at times this past season. In fact, I’ve been incredibly critical of our passing game at times.

 

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However, Coan is not a bad quarterback by any metric or measurement. Is he limited in some aspects of his game?

Yes, but let’s not pretend like Coan can’t play football. He threw for 18 touchdowns, more than 2,700 yards, only had five interceptions and tacked on four rushing touchdowns for a 10-win Badgers team, and he did it while playing part of the season hurt. Those are very solid stats.

Coan would start on probably at least 10 other Big 10 teams right now. Does he have an elite arm? No. Can he make all the throws we’d like to see? No.

Is he a very competent B1G quarterback? Yes.

 

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Now, as for Mertz, nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to see what the young star can do more than I do. I was his biggest supporter entering spring practice in 2019.

The kid has a huge arm, he’s got all the potential in the world and he’s 100% the future of the program. He’s going to likely be a three-year starter.

 

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However, we all know Paul Chryst likes to ride with the guy with the most experience. That means Coan will almost certainly start 2020 as the guy under center.

Will a switch be made if Coan, who will be a senior next season, struggles? Hell yes.

I’m not saying Mertz isn’t more talented than Coan. That’s not what I’m saying at all. He very likely is, but that doesn’t mean Chryst will start him Week 1 in 2020.

Again, Chryst is all about experience and Coan has proven he can win in the B1G. Our four losses this season were to Ohio State twice, Oregon and Illinois.

Outside of the last one, those are tough games, and Coan played well against Illinois, minus one late interception.

My official prediction on Jan. 3rd for the 2020 season is that Coan starts Week 1, unless Mertz just boat races him in spring practice.

I fully expect Mertz to get way more playing time next season, but Coan will be the starting quarterback as long as we’re winning. The young phenom will get more experience and snaps where he can.

 

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After that, it’ll be the Graham Mertz show for three years.