Wisconsin starting quarterback Jack Coan suffered a non-contact injury to his right foot in practice Saturday and will be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on Tuesday, the program announced. Coan, a senior, threw for 2,727 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions last season while leading the Badgers to a 10-4 record.
If Coan is not ready for Wisconin's opener against Illinois on Oct. 24, the Badgers would likely turn to redshirt freshman Graham Mertz. A former four-star prospect, Mertz completed nine of 10 passes in reserve duty last season. The Badgers are ranked No. 16 in the AP Top 25 and considered the favorite to win the Big Ten West this season.
Coan took over the starting job late in the 2018 season as a sophomore after playing sparingly in a reserve role as a freshman. He started every game as a junior last year, and his 236 completions last season were the most-ever by a Wisconsin quarterback.
But more could be asked of Wisconsin's quarterback in 2020 as the program replaces two-time Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor at running back. The Badgers still figure to be a run-heavy team much as they've throughout the years, but it's unlikely that a single back will be able to replace the production of Taylor, who amassed over 6,000 yards in his three seasons.
After opening with Illinois, Wisconsin plays at Nebraska and hosts Purdue before playing at Michigan on Nov. 14 in a critical conference game. The Badgers avoided drawing Ohio State or Penn State out of the Big Ten East.