Wisconsin head football coach Gary Andersen said Tuesday that backup quarterback Joel Stave was out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Later that day, Andersen rowed it back, saying Stave's shoulder wasn't hurt; he's just working his way through a severe case of the yips.
Stave's struggles might've been the reason Andersen gave redshirt junior Tanner McEvoy the starting quarterback job to open the season. According to the coach, Stave's decline has been noticeable since an Aug. 18 scrimmage.
Stave still isn't sure how to explain what's wrong with him. Via Fox Sports Wisconsin:
"I've thrown how many thousands of balls in my life?" Stave said. "I know when it hurts and when it doesn't. I don't know what it is. It just isn't right, I guess."
What, specifically, isn't right? It was a question Stave had a difficult time addressing but one, he said, that seemed to boil down to this basic concept: He is inside his own head, a perfectionist who begins to overthink one bad throw, which leads to more bad throws. Before he knows it, he can't complete simple tosses that he has spent years perfecting.
"I've just been good at throwing things since I've been young. It's not a lack of confidence. It's not a lack of preparation or anything like that. It's just a matter of getting back to feeling comfortable and feeling like the ball's coming out the way it should."
Is there anything more demoralizing than a guy finding himself Knoblauching balls that he'd spent years throwing cleanly? The yips are brutal.