Wisconsin has its No. 2 quarterback

MADISON — Following Wisconsin’s scrimmage last Friday, coach Paul Chryst said it was too early to name a No. 2 quarterback. Six days later, Chryst has made a decision.

During a Thursday night appearance on 100.5 FM in Madison, the third-year coach said true freshman Jack Coan would serve as Alex Hornibrook’s backup in 2017. Coan beat out redshirt freshman Kare Lyles for the job.


A 3-star recruit, the Sayville, N.Y. native enrolled early after setting Long Island career records by throwing for 9,787 yards and 128 touchdowns. He added another 2,551 yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground.

During spring practice and fall camp, Coan flashed the attributes that allowed him to be so prolific as a prep, though his lack of experience was evident in terms of his inconsistency.

It remains unclear how Chryst will choose to use his backup quarterbacks. Most coaches wouldn’t want to burn a true freshman’s redshirt year just for some mop-up duty, but Chryst also has to make sure Coan is ready if Hornibrook were to miss any significant time.

If Coan does play, he’ll have done something few others at Wisconsin have in the last 30 years. Using a true freshman at quarterback in Madison is almost unheard of, with the last one to start a game being Lionel Crawford in 1988.

Wisconsin will open its season Sept. 1 against Utah State at Camp Randall Stadium.