If I were Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, I'd probably be putting the full court press on former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien right now.
Not only did the Badgers have great success with an ACC transfer last year in Russell Wilson, but their search to find Wilson's successor has taken another troubling turn.
Bielema told reporters attending Wisconsin's pro day on Wednesday that sophomore Jon Budmayr has suffered another setback with the nerve in his throwing arm and will likely miss all of spring practice. Budmayr was set to be the Badgers starter last year before Wilson transferred in, but he wound up missing all of last season because of a nerve problem in the arm that required surgery. Budmayr was expected to come back and compete for the No. 1 job this spring, and Bielema had recently said his recovery was going well.
You can't help but feel bad for Budmayr and this latest bad break. At the same time, you can't help but wonder whether he'll ever be healthy enough to play quarterback for the Badgers.
The Budmayr news comes one day after it was revealed that highly-touted incoming freshman quarterback Bart Houston would need surgery on his throwing arm. Bielema said on Wednesday that Houston's surgery would involve removing a cyst from a previous injury. That procedure could cause Houston to miss at least part of fall camp, making it unlikely that he could compete for the starting quarterback job early on.
That means Wisconsin's quarterback options are dwindling. Joe Brennan, who backed up Wilson last year, is probably the leader at the position in the spring, but hasn't played in any significant situations. Curt Phillips is trying to come back from two ACL tears. Walk-on Joel Stave will get some reps, too.
The quarterback picture doesn't look too promising for a team that will most likely be favored to repeat as Leaders Division favorites. So if I were Bielema, I'd make sure O'Brien knew just how much the Badgers needed him.