Coach Paul Chryst hasn't settled on Wisconsin QB starter
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Alex Hornibrook had two big throws. Bart Houston has the experience.
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst hasn't settled on a starting quarterback and probably won't make a decision until sometime during or after preseason camp this summer.
So for Hornibrook and Houston, the scrimmage on Saturday to wrap up spring practice was about making final impressions before the offseason. The payoff is a chance to run a system this fall with a potentially potent running attack, overseen by an offensive-minded head coach.
''I told them the other day we're not where we want to be, but I don't think they're behind schedule,'' Chyrst said.
Hornibrook had more production, going 4 of 8 for 138 yards and two scores. He connected on two long touchdowns to receiver George Rushing, a promising development in itself for a passing attack seeking depth at receiver.
''It was fun. We were doing the same thing that we did all spring and practice, but it was fun being in front of the fans,'' said the left-handed Hornibrook, a freshman who redshirted in the 2015 season.
Hornibrook displayed touch on deep balls. On the first score, Rushing had a step on his defender, then slowed briefly as he crossed the goal line and adjusted to catch Hornibrook's 46-yard pass.
There's a huge caveat with any impressive plays on Saturday: it was a glorified practice in front of more than 9,100 fans. Instead of tackling, it was more like a game of two-hand touch in the park with buddies, with shoving allowed.
Chryst liked what he saw from both quarterbacks this spring. He's also wary about placing too much stock into one afternoon.
Hornibrook ''hasn't played a game yet. This wasn't a game,'' Chyrst said.
He liked Hornibrook's poise, as well as accuracy on deep throws.
''He gives us a nice chance to make a play, so I think he had some good plays today, certainly, but this is one of 15 (practices), and it's April,'' Chryst said.
A fifth-year senior this fall, the strong-armed Houston has more experience, though as a backup. He was the second-string quarterback behind longtime starter Joel Stave last season.
But with Stave out of eligibility, Houston will have a shot to win the starting job. Houston started the first series with the first-string offense, and finished 7 of 14 for 73 yards.
''It's going to be a competition from the spring, in the summer, in the fall. You want to be better each and every day,'' Houston said.
Chryst during spring drills wanted the quarterbacks to focus on individual development instead of the competition for the starting job. Whoever gets the nod will be able to hand the ball off to rejuvenated tailback Corey Clement, who looked determined on Saturday to prove that he's over the injury and off-field woes that hampered him in 2015.
The running back position is deep, and a young offensive line figures to benefit from last season's growing pains.
''I think they're in a good spot,'' Chyrst said about his quarterbacks, ''but we've got a ways to go.''
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