Wisconsin QB Jack Coan to see foot specialist, Graham Mertz takes over first-team reps

Wisconsin is likely to have a first-time starting quarterback against Illinois in a few weeks.

Coach Paul Chryst confirmed Monday morning that senior Jack Coan went down with a foot injury at practice Saturday and is out indefinitely.

“He’s going to see a specialist, so we’ll know more in the coming days,” Chryst said. “We’ll find out what all that means.”

Coan started all 14 games last year for the Badgers, throwing for 2,727 yards, 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions. His pass efficiency rating of 151.8 was the fourth-best in school history, trailing only Russell Wilson (2011), Scott Tolzien (2010) and Darrell Bevell (1993).

“He’s incredibly unselfish. He cares about this team and doesn’t want anything to affect the team in a negative way,” Chryst said. “Obviously, the last thing any guy wants is to not be able to participate. It’s not about him and feeling sorry for himself. He does focus on the guys and this team.”

Chryst said it was a non-contact injury and happened when Coan was dropping back to pass. Cohan’s absence left redshirt freshman Graham Mertz as the No. 1 quarterback.

“Graham has been our second quarterback with Jack as the starter and (now) Graham is taking all the reps with the ones and then we’ve got Chase (Wolf) and Danny (Vanden Boom) getting the rest of the work,” Chryst said.

While the Badgers have zero starting experience outside of Coan, Mertz arrived at Wisconsin in the spring of 2019 as the most-hyped recruit in school history. He saw playing time in two games last season, going 9 of 10 for 73 yards. Due to injuries that Coan played through last year, there were weeks in which Mertz got significant reps with the first-team offense.

Wolf and Mertz battled for the backup job in fall camp last season. The redshirt sophomore ended up playing in the three games but threw just one pass.

Vanden Boom saw mop up duty in 2018, playing in three games and throwing one touchdown.