Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:18 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Normally the coaches convention is a time where head coaches can let lose the top button, smooze a little bit and pick up a new wrinkle or two in terms of X's and O's. Legendary former Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews told several younger assistant coaches that the one thing you had to do every convention is just learn one thing.
For Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, he would love to be able to relax a little bit and pick up just one thing from the nearly 1,000 coaches in town. Instead of going to clinics or chatting up others however, he's one of the busiest around. With the departure of Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to become head coach at Pittsburgh, Bielema has a rather big hire to make in the next week or two and with Signing Day approaching, things have been even more hectic than usual for the seventh year head coach.
"This is a fun time," Bielema said. "We got done with the bowl the game on Monday, flew back on Tuesday. I interviewed an OC on Tuesday and Wednesday, had a recruiting visit Wednesday night, went to San Francisco Thursday, Seattle on Friday then took a red-eye back to Madison. I got in at 9 a.m. and flew here at 4:30."
In addition to finding a replacement for Chryst, Bielema also is looking to replace run game coordinator Bob Bostad and tight ends coach Joe Rudolph and linebackers coach Dave Huxtable. While it may seem like a lot, it's nothing for Bielema.
"My first year, I came out here and interviewed almost 25 guys, he said. "In three days, I talked to 22. I just held up in my room and talked and talked and basically ended up making three of my nine hires from down here."
Staff continuity has been something few coaches have had but generally Wisconsin has been about average when it comes to losing coaches. The opening this year are just part of the process that top programs have to go through after the season is over.
"Last year I hired three new guys," Bielema said. "When I hire these guys out, it will be my 21st hire in six years. We have had continuity and the ability to keep some guys there but mainly it's being able to get the right kind of guys because we've been so successful."
When hiring an offensive coordinator at some point in the next week or two, the fiery Badgers head coach also has a pretty good bargaining chip that others hiring do not with running back and Heisman finalist Montee Ball returning for another year and another run for the roses.
"That's huge," Bielema said. "A, he's a great kid. B, I think it's the right thing for him. He clearly made a big jump this year and has a chance to grow and continue to move forward. I know he's got a great relationship with coach (Tom) Hammock so that's something that is going to be working moving forward."
Just as Bielema has to do this week with his staff.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:09 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 7:11 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The annual American Football Coaches Association convention is going on in Texas this week and usually coincides with the BCS National Championship game. Normally the weekend offers a chance to hang out with other coaches, make a few hires, exchange a few cards and knock back a beer at the bar after a long, long season.
Such is the case again this year, with plenty of head coaches, assistants, graduate assistants and high school coaches gathering along the Riverwalk. Usually there's a buzz about the only game left, the sport's ultimate prize, but with two SEC teams in the game there's a noticable lack of interest from some coaches. Things picked up a little on Monday as kickoff drew near but there's wasn't a lot of breaking down the game over lunch as there normally was at the convention. That doesn't mean we let some of the coaches off the hook so CBSSports.com asked a few people their thoughts about the game between Alabama and LSU.
"The last two years the BCS games have been great and I can't imagine the championship game this year," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, fresh off of a Rose Bowl appearance, said. "I don't have a tie to either one of those schools but it will definitely be a good football game. Hopefully I'll get to watch some."
One SEC assistant, who played LSU this season and asked not to be identified, felt the game would come down to whoever controlled the line of scrimmage.
"The secondaries for both teams are so fast and so good, if the quarterbacks don't have time to throw it will be 9-6 or whatever again," he said. "Both sides will try and establish the run game first and take their chances with some big plays."
New Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has yet to play in the SEC so he gave quite the diplomatic answer when asked about the matchup.
"I'm the new guy in the league, I can't give any predictions," Sumlin said with a laugh. "We play these guys next year so I'm not giving any predictions.
"This game could go either way. It was 9-6 and Alabama missed four field goals, you could be talking about a whole different ball game. I think you're going to see a more wide open football game. The quarterbacks have had more practice and coaches, with a lot of time, become more creative. That game was played pretty close to the vest in the middle of the year and I think tonight you're going to see a more wide open style of offense, from both teams."
The general consensus? It's going be a good, close game between two heavyweight SEC squads.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 11:04 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 11:06 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
PASADENA, Calif. -- Been there, done that.
It's a saying as common as a Wisconsin fan jumping around before the 4th quarter. The Badgers ended their second consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl under head coach Bret Bielema much the same as they did their first - on the losing end.
For a team just two Hail Mary losses away from playing for the national title, this was supposed to be it. A hotshot transfer quarterback and a Heisman Trophy finalist running back playing behind him against a team that saw defense as outscoring their opponent. They held the lead early, held it late but ultimately didn't hold it when it mattered.
"This team never flinched, never wavered," said offensive lineman Peter Konz. "Against Michigan State we kept going, against Ohio State we kept going. It came down to winning all our last games, and we did that. We got here and we never gave up. In that reflection, it's unbelievable. As a man you can look back and go, 'I did all I could do.'"
"I'm kind of tired of tears of sadness," Bielema said. "I wanted to come out here and experience tears of joy at some point."
For a time, it looked as though Wisconsin was going to be great. Russell Wilson hit Jared Abbrederis for a 38-yard strike to cap off a 77-yard drive to open the game. Oregon answered.
Wilson responded with a 74-yard scoring drive. The Ducks took three plays to find the end zone. Back-and-forth they went on the perfectly cut grass of the Rose Bowl Stadium until Wisconsin was finally being tripped up. So close, once again, to a win but for one final time coming up just short.
"The game was basically 0-0 the whole game," Wilson said. "No matter if the score was 35-35 or 7-7, it's a 0-0 game. That's the way I look at it. There at the end it was 7-0, and we thought we could come back and score."
Success is a fleeting term for those who have tasted it because it is so easily lost. In the record books, this season will be looked at as a success. A win in the first ever Big Ten Championship Game, two candidates for the Heisman, scores of NCAA records to tell recruits about. Yet, the stinging feeling the players wearing red and white had walking off the field was not exactly the way they wanted to start the new year off.
"We'll rebound from this. I wouldn't trade in anything, anyplace in the world for that locker room that I have right now and the way that they continue to persevere," Bielema said. "I'm not going to apologize for a group that want to lead the division title, won a Big Ten title, and earned a chance to come out here and play a quality football team, and unfortunately came up a little bit short."
Bielema has built this program using size, strength and home-grown talent. He took a chance by luring Wilson to Madison and it paid off, not just with the titles but by the leadership he showed on and off the field. Ball ran himself into the record books, tying Barry Sanders' FBS-record.
But, in the final five minutes of the biggest game of the year, Abbrederis fumbled inches from going out of bounds and essentially gave away any chance the Badgers had of winning.
Heartbreak, it seemed, was the only thing that could stop Wisconsin this year.
"Well, it's never easy," the head coach said. "I'm not saying I'd rather lose by 40 points though. I mean, it just make it's that much more gut wrenching. But on the same account, you can hold your head high knowing the perseverance, and the challenge and response that our guys showed was truly amazing and a great credit to their character."
Abbrederis still finished with 346 all-purpose yards, good enough for a school bowl record. He caught a touchdown pass to give the team three players with at least eight on the season for the first time. Wilson edged out Heisman winner Robert Griffin III to set an NCAA pass efficiency record with 191.78 and extended his own record with a touchdown pass in his 38th-straight game.
"They're a great bunch of guys that have the determination," said Wilson. "We lost three games, basically, with a total of maybe within 40 seconds. It's pretty wild."
"What I brought from last year to this year is you have to capitalize on every play and every opportunity that is shown. Obviously, we fell short once again," said Ball. "We're going to approach this just like we did last year after the loss. Obviously, a little better, prepared a lot better, but the only way we can go with it is forward."
Wisconsin turned last year's heartbreak into another successful season. As the Badgers rebuild with Wilson and, likely, Ball moving on, perhaps they can do the same in 2012.
"That's neither here or there, what happens, happens," said Konz, reflecting about the game. "It's just too bad it had to end on another last-second drive.
"We left it all on the field, and to do that, there's very little to be sad about.”
Posted on: January 2, 2012 6:55 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 7:31 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
PASADENA, Calif. -- Granddaddy of them all? Try granddaddy of all the offense.
Oregon and Wisconsin traded touchdowns so quickly at the Rose Bowl Monday afternoon that even Baylor and Washington were a little impressed, setting a host of bowl records in the first half.
Amid the pageantry and picturesque setting you expect in Pasadena at the start of a new year, Wisconsin won the toss and made the unusual move to take the ball to open the game. The Badgers had a gashing first drive, with Montee Ball close to breaking several long runs. Quarterback Russell Wilson effectively used the play action to roll out and hit a streaking Abbrederis for a 38-yard touchdown on an impressive opening drive.
Oregon answered right back, as Darron Thomas, with a Badger defender in his face, threw off his back foot to hit Lavasier Tuieni for a big gain to the one-yard line on the Ducks' opening drive. LaMichael James punched it in for a touchdown up the middle on the next play and it was away… we… go...
A big run by Ball was the answer for Wisconsin on their next drive, capped by a spin move that netted him a few extra yards that moved the Badgers into scoring position. Wilson did the rest near the goal line, running in a touchdown unopposed off of a bootleg to get Wisconsin a 14-7 lead with over five minutes left in the 1st quarter.
Electrifying freshman De'Anthony Thomas ended the 1st quarter on a high note, taking an inside handoff 91-yards for a touchdown by showing off his speed and pulling away from the Wisconsin defense. It was a Rose Bowl record run, breaking the 88-yarder Michigan's Tyrone Wheatley had in 1993. It also gave the two teams a new record for combined points in the 1st quarter of the bowl.
That wasn't the only record to fall in Pasadena on a hot Southern California day (the 82 degrees at kickoff was the sixth-highest in the game's history). Ball took a handoff off to the left side for a three-yard touchdown run to tie Barry Sanders' FBS-record for touchdowns in a season with 39.
Sanders immediately congratulated Ball on Twitter right after the play, "Congrats @M_Ball28 - I love that it was a go-ahead TD."
De'Anthony Thomas took the kickoff back to midfield and, on the very next play, Darron Thomas found Kenjon Barner on a wheel route for a 54-yard touchdown pass to tie things up again at 21. At that point, Oregon was averaging over 14 yards per play.
Wisconsin took over and Ball was stuffed for no gain on a 3rd and short at the 17. Head coach Bret Bielema opted to keep the offense on the field to go for it and Wilson dropped back off a play-action fake but pressure forced him to be flushed from the pocket before Kiko Alonso ultimately sacked him near the sideline for one of the few early defensive plays of the game.
The Wisconsin defense stepped up on the next series though. On third down, Darron Thomas was sacked and fumbled the ball, which Louis Nzegwu scooped and scored a 33-yard touchdown to put the Badgers ahead 28-21.
Thomas and the Ducks responded with an impressive drive that featured several sharp pass plays to get into the red zone. Then the signal-caller faked a short run on third and goal following a timeout and found Tuinei in the end zone for a three-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds left in the half.
The 56 combined points was a new Rose Bowl record and the two teams had 631 yards of total offense - good for 8.8 yards per play.
Like I said, granddaddy of all the offense.
Posted on: December 30, 2011 5:08 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
A look at the key matchup that could decide the Rose Bowl.
Chip Kelly vs. time to prepare
In addition to being a great matchup on the field, the Rose Bowl this season pits two head coaches who have experienced plenty of success early on in their careers as the men calling the shots. Both Bret Bielema and Chip Kelly have taken over for their respective mentors and taken their programs to new heights. Wisconsin is making a return trip to the granddaddy of them all while this is Kelly's third straight BCS game with an appearance in the national championship game to boot.
For Kelly though, this game presents yet another challenge to rise to the occasion and finally put Oregon over the top. He's lost just six games in three years running the team but, outside of a loss to USC this year, has found success fleeting against teams with weeks to prepare for the fast-paced offense that he signals in from the sidelines and is the biggest reason why they've been dominating Pac-12 conference play. Last season, Oregon was averaging 49 points per game but against Auburn's bend-but-don't-break defense they rushed for less than 100 yards and managed just 22 points. Boise State, Ohio State, LSU, the story seems to be a constant one. As much success as Kelly has had, it just hasn't come against teams with time to prepare.
When asked about that after the Pac-12 Championship game, Kelly noted that they were all pretty good teams Oregon faced. So is Wisconsin, with Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball and a top 10 defense. The Badgers won a down Big Ten this year but still will be a stiff test for the Ducks in Pasadena. They're big and physical and though it seems like the speed of the Oregon offense should be effective, history suggests that's no sure thing.
Kelly has plenty of weapons to use this game, with running backs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner able to score from anywhere on the field and freshman De'Anthony Thomas a dynamic playmaker in space. Darron Thomas has had to throw it more than Kelly probably likes but he can get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. For some reason, the head coach hasn't been able to figure out the adjustments opponents have made against what he does game-in and game-out. There's been plenty of success and big games with this program and it's up to Kelly to finally get them over the hump, regardless what Bielema and the Wisconsin defense throws at him.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 12:12 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist was recently granted a release from his scholarship in South Bend, and the highly-touted high school star is reportedly considering Wisconsin for his final year of eligibility.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing sources familiar with both Notre Dame and Wisconsin, report " Crist is high on Wisconsin." The former Irish signal-caller is set to graduate from Notre Dame later this month, making him eligible for the "free agent"-style transfer recently exhibited by current Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson. For Crist to use his final year of eligibility at an FBS school in 2012, he would need to enroll in a graduate program not offered at Notre Dame.
Crist won a quarterback battle with Tommy Rees before the start of the 2011 season, but was benched after Notre Dame's 23-20 loss to South Florida in the first week of the season. Over the course of the season he eventually dropped to No. 3 on the Irish depth chart behind sophomore Andrew Hendrix, and his decision to leave came as no surprise to most.
Wilson's success in Paul Chyst's pro-style offense has been well publicized throughout the season. While head coach Bret Bielema cannot comment on potential transfers due to NCAA rules, he has acknowledged that there has been a heightened interest in transferring to Madison.
“Because of the success of Russell Wilson,” Bielema said, “I’ve been contacted by almost 10 players who want to talk about the opportunity to transfer in to the University of Wisconsin.”
Jon Budmayr, the starting quarterback at the end of Wisconsin's spring practice in 2011, fell from the quarterback race in the fall with nerve problems in his right elbow. Redshirt freshman Joe Brennan and freshman Joel Stave are both prepared to compete for the starting job after Wilson's departure. When healthy, Crist threw for over 2,000 yards and completed 59.2 percent of his passes over nine games in 2010. But even that season was ended when he suffered a torn patella tendon in his right knee, the second season ending injury in the same knee.
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Tags: Bart Houston, Big Ten, Bret Bielema, Brian Kelly, Chip Patterson, College Football Free Agents, Curt Phillips, Dayne Crist, Dayne Crist Leaving, Dayne Crist Notre Dame, Dayne Crist Rumors, Dayne Crist Transfer, Dayne Crist Transfer Rumors, Dayne Crist Wisconsin, Free Agents, Joe Brennan, Joel Stave, Jon Budmayr, Non-BCS, Paul Chryst, Russell Wilson
Posted on: November 27, 2011 3:47 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 6:19 am
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
The two heart-breaking losses Wisconsin absorbed in the middle of what was supposed to be a special season have never really let the Badgers go. Oh, the Badgers got over them, to be sure; they won their next four Big Ten games by an average score of 44-14, and of those only the 28-17 win over Illinois was even halfway competitive. And yet, Wisconsin has struggled in vain to so much as crack the Top 15 of the polls, as its only win against a ranked opponent all year was a 48-17 dismantling of then-No. 8 Nebraska in Week 5. That's it.
Ron Zook's Illinois squad just put the finishing touches on a 6-6 campaign, one that would probably be a little more palatable if it hadn't finished in six straight losses where a formerly formidable offense just plain cratered. The last effort that'll likely be on Ron Zook's resume is a 27-7 throttling at the hands of a Minnesota program that hadn't beaten a Big Ten opponent by that many points since it beat Indiana 63-26... in 2006, when Glen Mason was still at the helm. We'll have more on the Gopher revival in a bit, but suffice it to say that Zook is going to be fired very, very soon.
There's no up side for this Illinois team's collapse. Nathan Scheelhaase has gone from a future first-team All-Big Ten quarterback to a potential second-team quarterback for the Illini in 2012. A.J. Jenkins scored zero touchdowns in the last six games after a scintillating first half of the season. The Illinois rush defense -- ranked second in the Big Ten -- ceded 248 yards to Minnesota, which was a season high for the Gophers. Whitney Mercilus was a terror all year long, racking up 9.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles, but now there's almost no chance he'll be back in 2012. So what is there to look forward to with this team in 2012 regardless of who's coach? And the fact that such a question is being asked in a coach's seventh year in a program probably means he won't be around for an eighth.
WINNER: Michigan Men (even when they're not)
Much was made about Brady Hoke's ties to the Michigan program when he was hired after the 2010 season, with the phrase "Michigan Man" bandied about liberally. And to be sure, that's exactly what Hoke is -- right down to his insistence on calling Ohio State "Ohio" and never wearing red.
But when it came to hiring coordinators, Hoke wasn't dumb enough to limit himself to fellow Michigan Men. Offensive coordinator Al Borges is, if anything, a "Chico State Man," graduating from there in 1981 and spending the next 30 years bouncing around various schools as offensive coordinator (usually on the west coast, and never at Michigan). Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison spent five years at Michigan back in the '90s, sure, but he also spent more time than that at Notre Dame. -- and did so more recently than his first Michigan stint. Is Mattison a Michigan Man? A Notre Dame Man? Both? He couldn't be both, could he? Anyway, all told, only three of Hoke's nine assistants have any prior ties to the program.
And yet, the difference in quality between last year's team and this year's is inestimable. The Michigan defense has gone from putrid to passable in just one season, and while it's not a championship-caliber unit just yet, it is good enough to get the Wolverines to 10-2 in the regular season and in immediate division contention -- back where the Big Ten figured Michigan would be when these division lines were drawn in the first place. And oh yes, there is that 40-34 victory over Ohio State that the Wolverines clawed for this year, their first over OSU in almost a decade.
LOSER: Will Hagerup
Welp, guess I'm just gonna punt this here ball away, just gonna do my job as punteWHAT AWWW HAMBURGERS OHHHHH NOOOOO
WINNER: Montee Ball's Heisman campaign
Montee Ball's probably not going to win the Heisman this year. That honor will probably go to someone in the trio of Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, or Trent Richardson. But at the very least, Ball probably bought* himself a ticket today with a 156-yard, four touchdown effort that pushed his season numbers to 248 carries, 1622 yards, 29 rushing touchdowns, 17 catches, 248 receiving yards, and five more receiving touchdowns. He also threw a 25-yard touchdown to Russell Wilson against Indiana (which doesn't count for Ball in total touchdowns, only Wilson), a sure sign that offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was very bored that day.
So that makes 34 total touchdowns on the season for Ball, a mark that only Barry Sanders has bested with his other-worldly 39 scores in 1988 (which doesn't even count his five touchdowns in the Holiday Bowl, as bowl games weren't counted in official statistics back then). And Ball isn't just pushing scores in from a yard out, either; nine of his 25 rushing touchdowns have come from more than five yards out, and his 6.75-yard rushing average was fourth in the FBS among 1000-yard rushers coming into Saturday's action. Ball isn't a touchdown machine, he's an everything machine, and now that it's been him front and center in Wisconsin's push to Indianapolis, voters are likely to take notice.
*Metaphorically speaking, NCAA! We never meant to imply that Ball or anybody around him has ever so much has handled a dollar bill. We understand that the sanctity of this game can only be achieved if everybody involved is dead broke and rejects capitalism outright, and we assure you that Ball has not been tainted by the immoral slime of legal tender. They're student-athletes, not money-recipient-athletes. We get it.
LOSER: The "Heroes Game"
What seemed like an intriguing new rivalry -- Iowa vs. Nebraska, every year, with the Missouri River set to be the most hotly contested border waterway since the Rhine. Whereas the French had the mighty but tragically immobile Maginot Line to protect themselves, though, Iowa's line just plain couldn't stop anyone coming right up the middle, either on Saturday or all year long. Rex Burkhead set a Nebraska record with 38 carries, and his 160 yards and a touchdown wore down the Iowa defense to the point of surrender. 20-7 was the final, and it really wasn't that close.
Next year's game might be more competitive simply because it's in Iowa City, but the 2012 Hawkeyes probably won't be any better than this year's iteration, and if this rivalry starts off lopsided it'll be hard to get the fanbases worked into the lather necessary for a lasting rivalry. Nebraska's never going to get tired of 13-point wins that are more one-sided than the final score indicates, of course, but the Huskers aren't really going to care about beating Iowa until they can't take it for granted anymore.
WINNER: Jerry Kill, eh?
It looks like everything Jerry Kill's been telling his team since he inherited it last December might yet be sinking in. After a 1-6 (0-3) start to the season where none of the Gophers' conference losses were even competitive, Minnesota turned the boat around in a big way with a 22-21 comeback win over Iowa. After that, Minnesota looked like a different team, hanging tough with Michigan State and Northwestern in losses and at the very least losing to Wisconsin by a smaller margin than Penn State just did. And now, the Gophers have closed the season out with the aforementioned 27-7 drubbing of listless Illinois. MarQueis Gray rushed for 167 yards, threw for 85 more, and accounted for all three of the Gopher's touchdowns in the victory without turning the ball over.
This Gopher team has a long way to go in order to start hanging with its Legends Division rivals on a weekly basis. The lines are a mess, there's a dearth of experience on both sides of the ball, and Kill isn't drawing high-quality recruits yet. He's got a complete overhaul on his hands, and those don't happen in a year at a school like Minnesota. But there's two ways to overhaul a program: spend four years recruiting "your" players into the system, or change the program's culture so substantially that the old coach's players buy in and become "your" players. Kill seems to be on that path, and that bodes well. Doesn't seem like something we thought we'd be saying just a couple months ago, when Kill was talking about needing to "babysit" his players and losing every game by 30 or so, but here we are.
LOSER: Michigan's classless fans
Look at them, rushing the field and celebrating after Michigan beats a 6-6 team. Act like you've been there, guys, right? The nerve of it all!
We're kidding, of course, because the cathartic value of a win like that, erasing eight years of misery and futility hard-wired into to Michigan's identity as a football program, would be off the charts even if Ohio State were coming into the game 0-11. But we're still talking about a bowl team here in OSU, and one that gave Michigan all sorts of fits over the course of the game. You have our full blessing on this field-storming, Michigan. And if anyone says otherwise, well, haters gonna hate. Feels nice to have haters again, doesn't it?
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Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Adam Jacobi, Al Borges, Andrew Luck, Barry Sanders, Big Ten, Big Ten Winners And Losers, Brady Hoke, Bret Bielema, Glen Mason, Greg Mattison, Heroes Game, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Jerry Kill, Keith Nichol, Kirk Cousins, MarQueis Gray, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Montee Ball, Nathan Scheelhaase, Nebraska, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Paul Chryst, Penn State, Rex Burkhead, Robert Griffin III, Ron Zook, Russell Wilson, Trent Richardson, Week 13, Week 13 Winners and Losers, What I Learned, Whitney Mercilus, Will Hagerup, Will Hagerup GIF, Winners and Losers, Winners and Losers Week 13, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 14, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 5:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
No one any younger than Joe Paterno (and not even JoePa himself) will be surprised to learn that the student sections at major college football stadiums are not the place to be if one wants to hear clean, polite, sportsmanlike King's English. But the language at Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium has now become so foul that no less an authority than Badger head coach Bret Bielema himself has stepped in to try and clean it up.
Bielema and Badger athletic director Barry Alvarez co-signed a letter sent to student ticket holders Thursday "asking you to end the vulgar chants at our home football games." While praising the students for helping create the loud, intimidating atmosphere that contributed to the Badgers' 48-17 throttling of Nebraska, the letter -- available in its entirety here -- also shares a number of written complaints (from both Badger and Husker fans) sent to the Wisconsin athletics office:
"During the course of the game, the student body was led in a very obscene cheer consisting of echoing 'Eat [bleep]' and '[bleep] you'. I was pretty appalled considering that not all the spectators were 18 years or older. It was not the sort of thing children should be hearing."Bielema discussed the problems further at his Thursday meeting with reporters, saying that visiting recruits and their families have been moved away from the student section in order to distance them from the stream of profanities.
“If you come into the stadium for the first time and you've never heard it, it's kind of shocking,” Bielema said, adding that "the ones that get me are when it's a parent who has a small child that now has to explain what's being said or try not to explain what's being said."
Nebraska legend (and athletic director) Tom Osborne also weighed in on the Wisconsin students on his radio call-in show this week, saying they fell short of being "decent." And by way of explanation, Osborne sent a not-so-subtle shot across the bow at the Badgers' historical fortunes vis a vis his Huskers' (emphasis added):
But of course, those Wisconsin students aren't going to give the first [bleep] what Osborne thinks. Could it be different with Bielema? Will hearing directly from the man who -- after a Rose Bowl season and dominating 5-0 start -- is likely now more hero than coach in that Camp Randall student section actually bring about change?
Knowing these are 18-22 year-old college students we're talking about here: [bleep] no.