Tanner McEvoy, who played safety last season, beat out projected starter Joel Stave for the Wisconsin starting job. The Badgers announced Stave was out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. But, the coaching staff later clarified Stave is not hurt, despite suffering a shoulder injury in the Capital One Bowl. They described a condition similar to the “yips” suffered by Rick Ankiel, Chuck Knoblauch and others.
He is inside his own head, a perfectionist who begins to overthink one bad throw, which leads to more bad throws. Before he knows it, he can’t complete simple tosses that he has spent years perfecting.
If the story sounds familiar, it is one shared by athletes even on the biggest stage of sports. In baseball, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Steve Blass, Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Steve Sax, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel and New York Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch all at one time famously experienced what is known as the yips — a sudden, unexplained loss of basic skills.
That’s awful for Stave. For Wisconsin, it could prove significant. McEvoy offers much more of a running threat (6 carries, 40 yards) than Stave. But, he also had a brutal game throwing the ball against LSU, completing just 8/24 for 50 yards and 2 INT. To be fair, much of that may have been LSU’s decided athletic advantage in the secondary.
Fortunately, the Badgers have time to get Stave right or McEvoy settled. The toughest game on their schedule before facing Nebraska on Nov. 15 is a road trip to Rutgers. Wisconsin also ran for 6.9 yards/carry against LSU, without a credible passing game. That projects pretty well against the bottom half of the B1G.