Finding His Comfort Zone

Joel Stave (Badger Nation Photo)

He's learning his second college offense in two years, but redshirt freshman quarterback Joel Stave has shown teammates, onlookers and coaches that he's well ahead of the learning curve.

MADISON - He was lightly recruited out of Whitnall HS, but Joel Stave is out to prove that schools made a mistake in overlooking him.

After finishing his senior season with 2,635 passing yards and 22 touchdowns in 10 games, earning WFCA First Team All-State honors, Stave turned down a full scholarship offer to Western Michigan to walk-on for the chance to compete with the Big Ten champions.

Thus far, the Wisconsin coaching staff has been pleased with its recruiting steal. Although he has yet to see the field, Stave has nearly completed his second stint of spring practices, and tells Badger Nation that he's gaining confidence even though he's learning a new college offense for the second straight season.

After going through your second scrimmage last Saturday, is it nice to get that kind of experience under your belt?

Stave: Yeah. Oh, definitely. You always want to get momentum rolling, I guess. The first scrimmage didn't go so hot, so it was nice to get things moving.

With only two healthy quarterbacks, has it been nice getting added reps and getting ready for spring game?

Stave: Hopefully, I'll feel better than I did last year. I know last year when I played I was pretty nervous. It's a learning process and you want to continue to grow, but you want to look at it as not putting too much emphasis on it. It's just kind of another scrimmage for us, but you always want to play well.

Did you get more reps this spring compared to last year with Joe Brennan and Jon Budmayr?

Stave: Yeah, I did. This year it has to do with the numbers. We're low on guys, so, someone's got to take them.

Do you think things are settling in?

Stave: Yeah. It's a process and we're getting there. It's not going to come overnight, but we've got to keep working at it. Definitely working and learning over the summer will help, so by the time fall camp gets here – we'll hit the ground running. We'll know everything.

What do you need to work on most? What are expectations for yourself?

Stave: As a quarterback, you can get better at just about every aspect. Arm strength and accuracy – my feet can always get better. But, I'm going to continue to progress in all aspects of the game.

Is it tough for you to ignore or do you pay attention to some of the press? Not necessarily Danny O'Brien coming up, but who is No. 1 and who is No. 2?

Stave: I don't hear or see a ton of it. I try not to go and research stuff like that on the Internet. When I have free time I like to lay around and not do much of anything. With school and everything, that keeps me busy, so I don't really hear a whole lot of it or try to let it bother me.

How important is it in spring to play each play and not take one off?

Stave: At every position you want to be consistent but at quarterback, you've got to be the same guy on every play. You can't have touchdowns and then stupid interceptions and fumbled balls. Things like that. You've got to be the same guy on every play and be consistent with what you're doing.

Since you have come here, have you turned into a film junkie and how has that helped you develop?

Stave: I try and get in there and watch what I'm doing and learn from what the defense does. Stuff like that. As you watch the offense and see what the defense is doing on every play – you can watch it back to back like that - you can learn what where you're going with the ball against what coverage.

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