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Tag:Bret Bielema
Posted on: March 8, 2012 1:17 pm
 

Badgers interest in O'Brien likely to increase

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In 2011 accepting a transfer quarterback from the ACC worked out well for Wisconsin when Russell Wilson helped lead the team to its second consecutive Rose Bowl and a victory in the first Big Ten Championship Game. Now it looks like the Badgers may be looking to take that route once again in 2012.

Former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien has said already that he'd consider Wisconsin when he transfers.

What is likely to increase Wisconsin's interest in O'Brien, aside from his ability, is that quarterback Jon Budmayr suffered a setback in his recovery from an elbow issue that has been bothering him last summer. An issue that puts Budmayr's future as a quarterback in serious doubt, and leaves the Badgers without a lot of depth at the quarterback position right now.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:
The situation is desperate enough that the Badgers are expected to make a strong push to land O’Brien, who announced he is transferring after the spring semester and has expressed interest in UW.

A UW source indicated the Badgers would like to get O’Brien, but Bielema declined comment when asked about the chance of bringing in an outside quarterback.
O'Brien graduates from Maryland this spring, so just like Russell Wilson, he won't have to sit out a year before being able to suit up with the Badgers. Which is important for Wisconsin as adding O'Brien would make them the clear favorite in the Big Ten's Leaders Division as Ohio State isn't eligible for postseason play in 2012.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:53 pm
 

Ohio St.'s Gee to Bielema: 'Get a life'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

From calling mid-majors the "Little Sisters of the Poor" to asking Jim Tressel not to fire himOhio State president Gordon Gee has not exactly been one to keep his mouth out of the headlines over the past 12 months. And he may not be for the next 12 months, either, judging by this interview with OSU student newspaper The Lanternin which he tells Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema to "get a life."

Bielema infamously accused new Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer of using "illegal" recruiting "tactics" and asked Badger athletic director Barry Alvarez to voice his complaints to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany on his behalf. Gee emphatically stood up for Meyer in the Lantern interview, calling him the "finest in the country" and "the greatest affirmation of the quality of this institution."

When asked directly about Bielema's comments, Gee was every bit as emphatic.

"We hired the best coach and we went out and got the best kids so get a life," Gee said.

Ah, Signing Day: that magical time of the college football calendar that can lead the president of the third-largest university in the country to publicly call out a coach within his own conference using an insult from a 36-year-old Saturday Night Live sketch.

Gee also referred to the NCAA investigation into Tressel and the Buckeye football program that resulted in its 2012 bowl ban as a "yearlong colonoscopy."

We now fervently await Gee's next pledge to cease discussing matters related to football.

HT: MGoBlog. 

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 12:04 pm
 

Barry Alvarez: Recruiting is 'open season'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It doesn't sound like Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is as concerned about Urban Meyer's recruiting tactics the way his own head coach and others in the Big Ten seem to be.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, along with Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, made it clear that they were not fans of the way Urban Meyer had conducted himself during his first recruiting season with Ohio State. Specifically the way Meyer recruited players that had previously given commitments to other Big Ten schools, including Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Bielema also said on Thursday Barry Alvarez would be talking to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany about Meyer when the two met. While that conversation may still happen, if you listen to what Alvarez told ESPN's Joe Schad on Friday, it doesn't sound like he's going to be asking Delany to make Meyer change his habits.

"Urban was very aggressive but there is no pact within the conference not to continue to recruit," Alvarez told Schad in regards to the supposed "gentleman's agreement" amongst Big Ten coaches. "Open season." 

Which makes it sound like if Bielema doesn't want Meyer coming around his recruits, he's just going to have to work even harder to make sure those recruits come to play at Wisconsin, not Ohio State.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 10:33 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 3:28 pm
 

Urban Meyer responds to fellow coaches' criticism

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer heard the complaints from fellow Big Ten coaches Bret Bielema and Mark Dantonio about his recruiting tactics on Thursday, and not surprisingly, he doesn't care.

According to Buckeye fansite the OZone, Meyer fired back while at the Ohio High School coaches clinic on Friday morning.

"You're pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got 9 guys who better go do it again," said Meyer. "Do it a little harder next time."

Meyer also released a statement on Friday afternoon.

“I was pleased to take part in a productive, regularly scheduled meeting of the Big Ten Conference coaches today in Chicago," said Meyers in the release. "We had an opportunity to discuss a number of issues with each other and conference staff, including those that have arisen this week. It should be noted that my coaching staff is in full compliance with our recruiting efforts, and no one on this staff did anything illegal or unethical. We will continue to comply with NCAA rules and recruit with relentless effort, especially the great state of Ohio.
 
“I want to thank Commissioner Delany for his insight and leadership, and at this point we all look forward to moving past this week and getting ready for the start of spring football.”

This all started when Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio publicly criticized Meyer's recruiting tactics. Of the ten players that committed to Ohio State after Meyer became head coach, eight had previously committed to other schools. That includes offensive tackle Kyle Dodson (Wisconsin) and defensive end Se'Von Pittman (Michigan State).

Bielema also said on Thursday night that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez was going to be talking to Jim Delany about Meyer's recruiting tactics. All because of a supposed "gentleman's agreement" -- an agreement that even Alvarez himself denied exists on Friday -- within the Big Ten that says coaches aren't supposed to go after another coach's commits while recruiting.

Which wasn't the way Meyer, or any coach, did things in the SEC, and it doesn't look like Urban is willing to adapt.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:08 pm
 

Barry Alvarez to talk to Delany about Meyer

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier on Thursday we went over the first stage of lost recruit grief when writing about how Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio were upset with Urban Meyer and his recruiting tactics.

Well, we've now reached the second stage: run to the principal's office.

Apparently airing his grievances wasn't enough for Bielema, as the Sporting News' Matt Hayes wrote on Thursday night that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez would be talking to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany about Meyer on Friday in Chicago.

“We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC -- in any way, shape or form," Bielema told Hayes.

The jokes are just too easy with that remark, even if Bielema was only referring to recruiting.

Honestly, though, what else can you do but laugh at all of this? These are supposed to be grown men, yet they're acting more immaturely than the high school kids they're fighting over to begin with.

You don't want Urban Meyer or any other coach coming in to "steal" your recruits, then recruit the kid harder. Sell him on your program so hard that when Meyer does come around that kid will tell him "no thanks." Don't go running to your conference commissioner and hope he'll force Meyer to stop so it makes your job easier.

Either that or just take your ball and go home. None of the other kids are going to want to play with you anyway.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 8:36 pm
 

Big Ten head coaches already upset with Meyer

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It appears that the grace period for new coaches in the Big Ten lasts for 65 days or only one National Signing Day. That's how long it took for fellow Big Ten coaches to publicly speak about being upset with new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.

Not surprisingly, the complaints from Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio are related to Meyer's recruiting tactics. Particularly the part where he just shows up, swoops in and then causes recruits to suddenly change their minds and flock to Columbus.

“There are a few things that happened early on that I made people aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league, that I had seen take place in other leagues,” said Bielema on Wednesday. “Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal. 

“I was very up front and was very pointed to the fact, actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him. The situation got rectified.”

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio was a bit more to the point.

"(Ohio State has) a new coach, and it's different," Dantonio told the Detroit News. "I would say it's pretty unethical, in the end." 

It seems that Bielema and Dantonio aren't used to the recruiting tactics Meyer has brought along from his days in the SEC, where the gentlemanly rules of the Big Ten do not exist. It seems SEC coaches know that no commitment means anything until a letter of intent is signed, so the race for any recruit they might want doesn't end before February.

Question the morality of it all you want, but you'll notice the SEC has won the last six national championships while the Big Ten has been rather uninspiring.

Meyer's first class at Ohio State was good enough to finish ranked third in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25. In that class of 24, 10 of the commits didn't come on board until after Meyer became head coach at Ohio State. Of those 10 players, eight had previously given commitments to other school.

Including offensive lineman Kyle Dodson (Wisconsin) and defensive end Se'Von Pittman (Michigan State). Hence the reactions of Bielema and Dantonio. Still, of the other six, four had been committed to Penn State and two to Notre Dame. You don't hear Bill O'Brien or Brian Kelly crying foul about it today.

Not that complaining will do anything to deter Meyer. He's a head coach that realizes in order to build a successful program, not only do you need to have a good coaching staff, but you have to have good players. Players that are found through recruiting.

So whine about how he does all you want, he's seen the fruits of his efforts and has a couple rings to show for it. Nothing anybody can say will change that.

Other Big Ten coaches can either get on board, or run the risk of being left behind.

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 4:53 pm
 

The Big Ten responds to Joe Paterno's death

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Legendary former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno died early Sunday morning at the age of 85, leaving behind a football legacy that is simply unmatched. Here are some reactions from coaches and other notable figures in the Big Ten, which Penn State joined 19 years ago.

Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien: "It is with great sadness that I am compelled to deliver this message of condolence and tribute to a great man, husband, father and someone who is more than just a coach, Joe Paterno. First, on behalf of Penn State Football, we offer our sincerest condolences to the Paterno family for their loss. We also offer our condolences to the Penn State community and, in particular, to those who wore the Penn State colors, our Nittany Lion football players and alumni. Today they lost a great man, coach, mentor and, in many cases, a father figure, and we extend our deepest sympathies. The Penn State Football program is one of college football's iconic programs because it was led by an icon in the coaching profession in Joe Paterno. There are no words to express my respect for him as a man and as a coach. To be following in his footsteps at Penn State is an honor. Our families, our football program, our university and all of college football have suffered a great loss, and we will be eternally grateful for Coach Paterno's immeasurable contributions." 

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joe Paterno. His passing marks a tremendous loss for Penn State, college football and for countless fans, coaches and student-athletes. Our condolences go out to the Paterno family and to the entire Penn State community."

Nebraska athletic director and former head coach Tom Osborne: "I am saddened to hear the news of Joe Paterno's passing. Joe was a genuinely good person. Whenever you recruited or played against Joe you knew how he operated and that he always stood for the right things. Of course, his longevity over time and his impact on college football is remarkable. Anybody who knew Joe feels badly about the circumstances. I suspect the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks might have played into it. We offer our condolences to his family and wish them the very best." 

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer: "I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Coach Joe Paterno. He was a man who I have deep respect for as a human being, as a husband and father, as a leader and as a football coach. I was very fortunate to have been able to develop a personal relationship with him, especially over the course of the last several years, and it is something that I will always cherish.

"My prayers and thoughts go out to his wife, Sue, and to their family, and also to the family he had at Penn State University. We have lost a remarkable person and someone who affected the lives of so many people in so many positive ways. His presence will be dearly missed. His legacy as a coach, as a winner and as a champion will carry on forever."

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke: "I am certainly saddened by the news today of Coach Paterno's passing. College football has lost one of its greatest, a coaching icon. Even though I was just an assistant when our teams faced one another, I feel honored to have shared the field with Joe. His players' love for him, it shows how he touched their lives and it tells who he was as a man. He will be missed. His mark on Penn State and college football will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe's family and friends and the entire Penn State community."

Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill: "I got home last night from recruiting and my oldest daughter said she had just heard. Fifteen minutes later, my youngest daughter at Murray State called. That's two girls from a coach's family reacting to it. That really sums up his impact. It hits home. He coached for 60 years with more than 100 players per year. Think about how many lives he touched, how many good things he has done.

"From my family to the Paterno family, our prayers go out to them. It's a sad day for football, but a good day for the man upstairs.

"I would tell people not to forget what that guy has done. To coach for 60 years in one place, that just won't ever happen again. I didn't get to coach against him. But I got to coach in the Big Ten, sit next to him at a meeting and have my picture taken with him. That's something I will never forget."

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald: "The legacy of Joe Paterno will be long lasting — not only as a football coach and mentor, but as a family man. For 62 years, Coach Paterno poured his heart and soul into a football program and university, helping countless young men reach their dreams and goals on the football field before moving on to successful careers and lives as adults. It's hard to fathom the impact that Coach Paterno has had on college football and at Penn State. His insight and wisdom will be missed. We at Northwestern send our condolences to Sue and the Paterno family." 

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio: "On behalf of my immediate family and the Michigan State football family, we express our deepest sympathy to Joe Paterno’s wife Sue, his five children and 17 grandchildren, as well as his extended family, the Penn State football family and the entire State College community.

"Joe dedicated his life to Penn State and college football. He had unparalleled success during his 46 seasons as the head coach at Penn State. Joe was a major player who helped revolutionize the game of college football. In his six-plus decades at Penn State, he influenced and impacted countless numbers of players and people at a championship level.

"Over the past five years, my wife and I have had the privilege of spending time with both Joe and his wife Sue. We appreciated and enjoyed the time spent at our various functions together and will forever remember him as a steward of our profession."

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema: "Coach Paterno obviously did so many wonderful things for a number of years, not only with the success of his teams on the field but the number of lives he shaped. I hope people remember his lifetime achievements. From day one, when I joined the head coaching ranks and was fortunate enough to cross paths with him at coaches meetings and various functions, he was always very engaging and complimentary of the way we did things at Wisconsin and how we played. I enjoyed competing with him at every level. Our Badger football family sends our condolences and deepest sympathies to the Penn State community and the Paterno family."

Wisconsin athletic director and former head coach Barry Alvarez: "Today is a sad day. Joe made a difference. He impacted a lot of people. He made a difference in a community, in a college and in college football. He was truly special and an icon. For someone to continue to do what he did through different generations and for such a long period of time and be effective was amazing. I’ve considered Joe a friend and a mentor. This is sad day for college football and the Penn State community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and the Paterno family."

For more reaction from State College, follow CBSSports.com's Penn State RapidReports.
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:30 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Wisconsin's new OC: Northern Ill. OC Matt Canada

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Wisconsin continues to shore up its coaching losses from the departure of Paul Chryst to Pittsburgh and various other hirings, and on Tuesday the Badgers announced that Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Matt Canada had agreed to become Wisconsin's offensive coordinator.

"Matt has a terrific history as an offensive coordinator and has excelled at developing quarterbacks throughout his career," Bielema said in a statement. "I know he is very excited about running a pro-style offense and handling a game the way we typically have at Wisconsin. I think this is a great hire for us and I can't wait for him to get to work with our coaches and players." 

Canada was only one year into his second stint as NIU's offensive coordinator; he had been rising through the ranks at Indiana from 2004-2010, starting as quarterbacks coach and finishing as offensive coordinator, before Kevin Wilson came to Bloomington and cleaned house. Canada coached Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell at quarterback for the Hoosiers, and both were highly productive in their times under center: Lewis was a first-team All-Big Ten QB before his career derailed, and Chappell holds Indiana single-season records in every major passing category.

Fortunately for Northern Illinois, Canada was able to put together a dynamite offense in his first year back, as the Huskies went 11-3, won the MAC Championship, won the GoDaddy.com Bowl 38-20 over Arkansas State, and scored over 42 points per game in the process. NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the MAC offensive MVP in 2011, and his numbers backed it up: he threw for 2,942 yards, 26 TDs, and only five interceptions on 219-348 passing (good enough for the 15th-best passing efficiency in the nation), and he rushed for 1,382 yards and 11 TDs on 185 carries (leading all FBS quarterbacks) to back it up.

That kind of overall quarterback production doesn't come out of a pro-style offense, of course (but don't start hyperventilating just yet, Badger fans). Check out this video of the different ways Harnish used his quarterback, and how many different formations NIU used in the process. There's even a John Moxon Oop-De-Oop formation in there.



That's some serious offensive creativity, and completely outside the bounds of how Wisconsin has made hay for the last 15+ years as a rushing powerhouse. But fear not: as Bielema mentioned in his statement, Wisconsin will stay with a pro-style offense. Bielema's no fool. Really, he's not.

It'll be interesting to see, then, what details of Canada's style of offense survives the assimilation into the Bucky Borg. Surely Bielema wouldn't have hired an offensive coordinator he's coached against in eight games in one way or another (twice when Canada was at NIU, six times with him at Indiana) if he wasn't interested in that coach's offensive acumen in some significant respect. Until we find out what that entails, though, opposing defensive coordinators may feel free to peruse the offensive performances of Canada offenses, and if the color starts draining from the DCs' faces in the process, well, that's to be expected.

For more up-to-the-minute Badger news, subscribe to CBSSports.com's Wisconsin RapidReports by Tammy Madsen.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com