When University of Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen attended the Big Ten Conference football media days in Chicago in July, he talked about coming out for the first play of the opening game against UMass with two quarterbacks on the field at the same time “and see what happens from there.”
It sounded like Andersen was joking, but he might not have been.
After the scrimmage on Monday, Andersen reiterated even more strongly than before that he would like to develop a package for junior college transfer Tanner McEvoy.
And then Andersen casually dropped the news he would like to also use McEvoy as a wide receiver — the position he played, with great success, until his senior year of high school.
“Another man you look at and say, where is Tanner going to fit in this whole piece?” Andersen said. “Tanner’s a great athlete. He’ll fit somewhere on the offense at some point as far as being involved, maybe as a package as a quarterback (and) getting out there at wide receiver. We’re going to use the best kids.”
Andersen said he thought McEvoy would be open to playing wide receiver.
“I’m sure he would be,” Andersen said. “In fact, he’s brought it up a couple times. I’m not going to sit here and say he wants to jump in the wide receiver meeting full time. I don’t think that’s in the cards.
“As an athlete, to get him out on the field and give him an opportunity. It would be tough to defend. All of a sudden, you’ve got a couple quarterbacks running around and one of them is a great athlete, so we’ll see.”
McEvoy had fake ID
McEvoy, 20, was intoxicated and in possession of fake identification when he was robbed of his iPhone, watch, credit card and wallet on July 21 in downtown Madison, according to a police report obtained by WKOW-TV/Ch. 27.
The report said McEvoy told officers his wallet contained a fake South Carolina ID, according to a story on the WKOW website. McEvoy spent a redshirt season in 2011 at South Carolina, where he had another incident involving alcohol.
McEvoy was charged with speeding and driving after consuming alcohol as a minor, shortly before leaving the Gamecocks and transferring last season to Arizona Western College.
According to the police report, McEvoy told officers he had been at the Kollege Klub in downtown Madison prior to the robbery. He said the next thing he remembered was “feeling really drunk and sitting down on the curb at an intersection.”
“It’s the first I heard of that,” Andersen said when asked if McEvoy had been disciplined by the team for having a fake ID. “I haven’t heard one word about that in the police report or anything that’s out there, so I’d be speaking out of turn if I even said anything.”
Praise for Jacobs
True freshman outside linebacker Leon Jacobs continued to make plays all over the field and will get a chance to play right away, Andersen said.
“Leon is the perfect freshman scenario,” Andersen said. “You come in and he looks great, runs good and does a great job in the summer. He appears to mentally be able to handle the transition from high school, which he has.
“The waters are calming for him. He’s able to go play and react he’s a tremendous athlete. It looks like right now he won’t redshirt.”
Caputo leads at safety
Andersen said sophomore Michael Caputo has edged in front of redshirt freshman Leo Musso as the No. 1 free safety.
After Caputo missed the spring due to neck surgery, Andersen didn’t know what to expect in fall camp.
“Other than I knew how bad he wanted to play football,” Andersen said. “That young man, to go through what he went through and to get himself back, the rehab he did and how hard he fought to get back onto the football field in the fall, showed me his toughness and his true want-to.
“He’s a good athlete and he’s picked up a defense that’s very complicated on the back end and done a nice job.”
The inconsistency of junior kicker Kyle French has left a door open for sophomore Jack Russell in the field-goal kicking battle. French missed two kicks and after being wide right and short from 45 yards, Russell stepped in and made his attempt from the same distance. For the next attempt, Russell went first and made a 30-yarder.
“I tell the kids, this is preseason game No. 2,” Andersen said of the second scrimmage. “So this is as close as we get to game day. We missed a couple. Jack came in and drilled them. It’s definitely a battle.
“It’s not based on one day, but there has to be more put on when you’re playing real football, so it was disappointing.”
• Senior outside linebacker Ethan Armstrong, who had been out with a leg injury, returned for the morning practice and took his place with the No. 1 defense.
• Andersen was excited about a crowd estimated at just less than 1,300 for the 3:30 p.m. start.
“It’s awesome for these kids. They talk about it every single day, the people who come out and watch during camp,” Andersen said. “It definitely gives them more juice, energy and excitement.”