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Bret Bielema needs to change his approach to recruiting quarterbacks

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
As CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman confirmed on Wednesday, Danny O'Brien will be transferring to Wisconsin to play quarterback for the Badgers this season. It's the second straight year that Wisconsin will have a transfer from the ACC under center, following Russell Wilson in 2011.

The Wilson transfer worked out well for Wisconsin, and the Danny O'Brien transfer may work out just as well. Still, this is not a formula for continued success that Bret Bielema is currently using at Madison.

Wisconsin needs O'Brien this season thanks to injuries to Curt Phillips and Jon Budmayr, and the inexperience of Joe Brennan and Joel Stave behind them. However, this is a problem that could possibly be avoided if Bielema made an adjustment to his recruiting strategy.

In every recruiting class Bielema has brought in to Wisconsin since taking over the program in 2006, none have had more than one quarterback. In the 2011 class, there weren't any. It's understandable given Wisconsin's offensive scheme of "run over you, run over you some more, keep running over you, run again and BAM, play-action pass" but it also leads to the type of problems Wisconsin currently has at the position.

The problems that have caused Wisconsin to hit the "free agent" market for quarterbacks the last two springs.

When you bring in only one quarterback per class, you can find yourself in some trouble when that quarterback gets hurt or just plain doesn't work out like you'd planned. While it's impossible to avoid injuries or misses altogether, if Wisconsin looked to bring in two quarterbacks per class, it would give the Badgers more options at the position.

It would also lead to even more competition on the roster, which in turn could lead to better quarterback performance.

Even though a cannon-armed quarterback may not be as important in Wisconsin's offense as it is in others, the fact remains that quarterback is the most important position in football, both on the college level and the professional level. So Bielema would be doing himself and his football team a big favor if the Badgers put a larger focus on finding quarterbacks in each recruiting class.

After all, there isn't going to be a Russell Wilson or a Danny O'Brien on the market and ready to play instantly every season. And even if there is, there's no guarantee they're going to choose Wisconsin.

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