Joel Stave knows what it takes to be a Wisconsin quarterback because he had ample time to figure it out. Something like 10 years, as Badgers coach Paul Chryst often jokes.
It was really only five, including a redshirt freshman year, but it sure felt like 10.
While the former Badgers player battled through training camp with the Minnesota Vikings, Wisconsin hosted a duel of its own to fill his vacancy. It concluded last Thursday when the team announced Bart Houston had beaten Alex Hornibrook for the spot.
Stave voiced his support of the selection in a Q&A with Land of 10:
Q. Looking back on your time with Bart at UW, what did he say or do that showed he is ready to lead this team?
Stave: I think he’s a really talented player and the guys trust him and respect him. He works hard and prepares well and that’s really what you need in a starting quarterback, someone that plays smart, that plays hard and will be a leader. I think that’s something that Bart has really grown at.
He has been in the program for a long time now. He knows the scheme, he knows the guys and he knows the area. He’s ready to get his opportunity to get out and start some games.
Q. We have been told he isn’t as quiet as he may seem. Was that your experience with him?
Stave: He definitely has some personality to him, just like anybody on the team. It’s different when you’re in an interview and stuff like that, but in the locker room he is a very well-liked guy. He gets along with everyone on the team really well.
That’s one way to really earn the respect of your teammates, to be the same guy every day, and he is. He is that same consistent personality in the locker room.
Q. Badgers coach Paul Chryst talked about the team taking on an identity based on its leaders. What do you think the personality of the team will be like with Bart at the helm?
Stave: I haven’t been around the team for spring ball or camp and that’s really when the personality develops, when the attitude and mindset develops. I know coach Chryst is going to have them ready, have them physical — a hard-working team, a hard-nosed team who competes really well. I would assume the personality will be something like that.
Q. Bart Houston talks about learning a lot from you and from playing alongside you. Did it work the other way, too? What did you learn from him during your time at Wisconsin?
Stave: Bart was such a good guy to be around. He was a guy I bounced ideas off of, a fun guy to talk to. We’d be coming off field and he was always there to say, “Hey, I think I saw this, and I think this is working.” He was always a really positive guy. When things weren’t going so well, everyone knew he was there to slap you on the shoulder and say, “Just keep working at it, we’ll get it.”
Q. How big is it for Bart and the team to be able to start the season with LSU, a high-profile opponent?
Stave: It’s a really good test for them. The past couple of years, we have been able to start with some really good opponents. Last year Alabama, two years ago it was LSU. It’s just a great opportunity to go out and compete against someone who you know is going to give you a test and who you know you’re really going to have to play well, if you’re going to beat them.
Q. How was the feeling or atmosphere of that game different than others that 2014 season?
Stave: It is different knowing that it’s not a conference game, it’s not a bowl game or anything like that, it’s just a regular season non-conference game. But with that being said, you know it’s a good opponent, someone you’re really going to have to prepare for.
And it’s something in the offseason that I think is a great way to give guys something to look forward to, give guys some motivation knowing that right away when Week 1 comes, you’re hitting the ground running with a really quality opponent.
Q. What should Bart’s mentality be like for a successful season opener?
Stave: It would be a great way to start the season, but as much hype that goes into this game, it’s just one game. It’s just a start to a 12-game season. Obviously, getting a win is a great way get momentum and get going, but it is just one game.