Joel Stave started all 13 games for the Wisconsin Badgers in 2013, throwing for nearly 2,500 yards and 22 touchdowns.
So it was a bit of a surprise when Stave sat out the team’s 2014 opener, a 28-24 loss to LSU. A few days later, Badgers head coach Gary Anderson appeared to have the answer, revealing that Stave would be shut down indefinitely because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.
On Tuesday, though, Anderson backtracked.
“Is he injured?” Andersen said. “No. Is he ready to play right now? No. I used the word injury, so maybe bad choice of words.”
As it turns out, Stave just had the yips.
For those not familiar with the term, the “yips” occur when an athlete suddenly becomes very bad at performing a very simple task that he or she is normally very good at. Think Chuck Knoblauch with the New York Yankees.
Basically, the Badgers quarterback just forgot how to throw the football.
“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.”
It’s a pretty bizarre and unfortunate development for Stave, who has ceded the starting job to redshirt junior Tanner McEvoy.
“Maybe on some level,” Stave said when asked if he would use the yips to define his struggles. “I’ve heard of that, too. The yips, a golfer who can’t hit it straight and stuff like that.
” I know I can throw the ball. … 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.”
Get well soon, Joel.
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