Freshman Joel Stave wasn't afraid to set lofty goals for senior Joel Stave.
"My freshman year I actually put a little sticky note that sits on something on my desk at home of just most wins, most passing yards and most touchdowns," Stave said. "Looking at it now, they’re all pretty much within reach."
For the first time in what seems like forever, the keys to the Badger buggie are Stave's. Previous years saw competitors like Tanner McEvoy trying to rip the starting job away from Stave, who has played meaningful snaps since his freshman year. But new coach Paul Chryst immediately tabbed Stave as the starter in the spring, giving the senior a sense of ease heading into the fall.
"I’m really excited for camp this year. Just kind of knowing that you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder, you’re not seeing how someone else is doing on their drive or how this guy is throwing the ball or whatever. It’s about me doing everything I can to get the most out of every day."
Junior running back Corey Clement has noticed the changes in his quarterback heading into 2015. Clement says play time is over for Stave as he's now a leader of the team.
"He’s the captain to this team," Clement said. "You got to look up to him regardless. Everybody is showing more respect towards him. He has a ton of experience under his belt so what more could you ask for out of a quarterback or him."
Bringing in new coaches can sometimes create a period of time where everyone is getting on the same page. Fortunately for the Badgers, Stave and Chryst, the two have a history together dating back to Chryst's last tenure in Madison, which has helped jumpstart all the offseason conversations they've had.
"We got down to some of the core topics pretty quick," Chryst said. "And I have appreciated the way that he's approached the whole transition. And Joel is -- he's played in a lot of football games and won a lot of games. And yet he's got that desire to continue to grow and -- he wants to be the best quarterback he can be. And he wants to be a leader on this team. All the things you want your players, your seniors, your senior quarterback to be."
Stave might not be the sexiest quarterback in the Big Ten or Wisconsin history but sometimes the record book doesn't care how you do it. The Badgers senior quarterback is in line to potentially become the winningest signal caller in school history. He's only nine wins away from tying Brooks Bollinger for most all-time quarterback wins at 30. His win percentage (.750) is currently third best, behind Scott Tolzein (.808) and John Stocco (.806), and he's seventh in school history in passing yards with 4,948 yards, while Darrell Bevell sits at the top with 7,686 yards. He also trails Bevell in total touchdown passes by 22. While some of these records may seem a little out of reach, getting there is all part of the plan for Stave.
"I would need to have a good season," Stave said. "Luckily I’m planning on having a good season."