Stocco’s recovery status uncertain

By U-Wire

By Adam Hodge

The Daily Cardinal (U. Wisconsin)(U-WIRE) MADISON, Wis. – UW football head coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Monday, discussing a number of issues facing his team as the Badgers (9-1, 6-1) prepare for their last conference game of the season.

The biggest question this week is the health of senior quarterback John Stocco, who left in the fourth quarter of UW’s 13-3 win over Penn State Saturday with a right shoulder injury.

His status for the upcoming game at Iowa is uncertain, but Bielema was optimistic Monday.

“The signs coming (from) the doctor yesterday were very encouraging for us,” Bielema said.

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“We don’t practice on Mondays … so whether or not he’ll be available Tuesday will be determined as we go,” he said.

Stocco’s shoulder was originally hurt late in the third quarter of Saturday’s game, but the coaches felt he was healthy enough to stay in the game.

The senior was then taken out for the rest of the game after suffering a hit in which he fumbled the ball with about 10 minutes remaining.

“(The coaches) made an evaluation on the sidelines at the time of his ability to function as a quarterback,” Bielema said. “John felt comfortable, and everybody did. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have put him back out on the field.”

Junior backup quarterback Tyler Donovan finished the game and will start Saturday against Iowa if Stocco cannot play. Bielema talked about the confidence he has in Donovan if the junior must start.

“We asked Tyler on the sideline what he felt comfortable with, and, you know, what he was able to do, and we knew he needed to go out and seal a victory for us as a football program, and he was able to do that,” Bielema said.

Donovan took most of the first team snaps in the weeks leading up to the team’s first game of the season against Bowling Green after Stocco had knee surgery in August.

“(Stocco’s injury in camp) put Tyler in the No. 1 position for really about two weeks going into the Bowling Green game as a starting quarterback. He handled that very well,” Bielema said.

Stocco’s status before Bowling Green was uncertain until almost game time, and a similar situation could play out this week.

Iowa Homecoming

No one will forget this coming weekend that Bielema played and coached at Iowa and even has a Hawkeye tattooed on his ankle.

With a 9-1 record in his rookie season, however, there are no questions over where the head coach’s allegiances lie.

Bielema even said on Monday that anyone he gave tickets to will be wearing Cardinal and White on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes have had the Badgers’ number lately, including stealing Wisconsin’s Rose Bowl berth two seasons ago and beating the Badgers last season in former head coach Barry Alvarez’s last home game. The seniors on this team have never beaten Iowa.

“They definitely have been on the receiving end of things the last few years, and I’m sure it’s going to provide an extra little motivation,” Bielema said.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 11 a.m. in Iowa City, Iowa.