Quarterback Danny O’Brien, who was benched at Maryland one season after winning ACC Rookie of the Year honors, will start Wisconsin’s Sept. 1 season opener against Northern Iowa.
O’Brien was one of 12 players to leave the Terrapins after their abysmal 2-10 season in Randy Edsall’s first year as coach.
In two seasons in College Park, O’Brien threw for 4,086 yards and 29 touchdowns in 17 starts. But he started only seven games last season and was benched in favor of C.J. Brown.
Badgers coach Bret Bielema announced his decision to start O’Brien over senior Curt Phillips and redshirt freshman Joel Stave on Sunday night on his Twitter feed.
Also had so many questions about our QB situation that want everyone to know we are going to start Danny O'Brien in our opener against UNI.— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) August 20, 2012
Both Curt and Joel had great camps as well, we are very fortunate that we have 3 QB's that can play winning football for us. On Wisconsin!— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) August 20, 2012
O’Brien could be expected to shoulder more of the offensive load early with star running back Montee Ball still on the mend after he was attacked by five men earlier this month. Ball suffered a concussion in the melee and told reporters at the team’s Aug. 13 media day that while he feels he is back to full health, he plans to gradually work his way back up to speed..
This will be the second straight year in which Wisconsin turns to a graduate transfer from the ACC to start under center. Last season North Carolina State transfer Russell Wilson led the Badgers to an 11-3 record and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors.
O’Brien’s transfer left the Terrapins short-handed at quarterback, and then Brown tore his ACL last week, leaving new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley without a single quarterback on the roster with in-game experience at the collegiate level. Freshman Perry Hillis is the presumptive starter for Maryland’s Sept. 1 season opener against William & Mary, but fellow freshman Caleb Rowe could also see time this season.