Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bielema Trades In His Cardinal and White for.... Cardinal and White?

I would just like to take a moment to thank everyone who is going to be reading this. This is my first blog, and I hope you all have as much fun reading as I did writing it. Now without further adieu...

By now we all know that Bret Bielema has left Wisconsin to become the head coach of Arkansas. I think many of us still don't really know how to feel about it. The facts that Bielema never seemed to be on Arkansas radar, and that Bielema had one of the more secure jobs in the country, made the move feel like a punch in the gut. Bielema drew a lot of criticism for his clock management, some of his in game tactics, and his inability to win the big game. There is not doubt however, that Bret Bielema was a very successful head coach and I think he will be missed. The Badgers had a regular season of 68-24 (including 37-19 in the conference), including four 10-win seasons. His teams established Camp Randall as a place that's very hard for opposing teams to come and play. And this season he led his team to its third straight Big 10 title, second straight (and second overall) Big 10 Championship Game victory, and third straight Rose Bowl appearance. His inability to win those Rose Bowls and overall 2-4 bowl record left a lot to be desired, but there is no denying his success. Good luck in the SEC Bret, you'll need it.

So, what's next for Bucky?

This is the question I would much rather focus on. For the immediate future, I love the fact that Barry Alvarez is going to coach the Rose Bowl for a few reason. In terms of the game itself, it allows the coordinators and position coached to focus on their game plans and getting their players ready. Barry will handle the media and be a motivating presence on the field. That, and I get to watch Barry Alvarez coach again, who doesn't want that?

The long term future of the Wisconsin football program is what becomes a little tricky to figure out. I'm sure nobody at Wisconsin was thinking about how they would have to find a new head coach in the middle of this successful run they have been on. Now we have to hope the coaching change doesn't have an ill effect on recruiting or the continuity of the program. The good news is that for the most part,our current recruits still seem committed to Wisconsin, some even saying Alvarez is a bigger influence than Bielema. As for who the next head coach should be, I think there are two trains a thought that can
be used.

The first is to target a "big name", established, successful head coach, such has Boise States Chris Peterson, or former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. The "big name" coach would come with a lot of positives to the program. They could keep the fan base excited, be a recognizable name in the recruiting front, and would be more likely to have successful assistants to bring with them. The only real downside to bringing in the "big name" is that sometimes it takes awhile for that coaches style to mesh with the programs. This could lead to clashes between leadership and take the focus off the field. If this were to happen, there could be a few tough years when expectations are high which is never a good thing.

The second way the program could go in finding their next head coach, is to look for a "prospect" head coach. It's could be a guy that has little experience coaching at the Division 1 level, a hot coordinator from another school, a successful small school coach, or a fan favorite "home town" guy, such as Paul Chryst, Darrel Bevell, or Dave Doeren. This would be someone who you think is going to be a successful head coach and who you want to groom into the face of your schools program. The draw back to the "prospect" coach is that it may take a few seasons for him to get established, with the fan base, in the recruiting front or to even get his feet under him.

Wisconsin, in my opinion, is in a position to continue being competitive right now and for the future. To me, this means that the better option would be to find that "big name" head coach that can come in and continue the successful run that this programs on, maybe even elevate this team. As for who specifically I want as the next head coach of Wisconsin? I'll wait to see what names pop up on the radar after watching Barry coach the Rose Bowl.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Ryan Garcia (@ryan_937)

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