After Dave Doeren abandoned his post as Wisconsin's defensive coordinator to become head coach at Northern Illinois about a year ago, the Badgers faced a dilemma: hire someone from outside the program with defensive coordinator experience to replace him or promote an assistant coach from within. The Badgers chose the latter, promoting former Doeren subordinates Chris Ash and Charlie Partridge to co-defensive coordinator. The results thus far have been good for the most part. Despite some mental mistakes and tackling issues in games against Michigan State and Ohio State, the Badgers ranked third in the Big Ten and eighth in the nation in total defense and second and fifth respectively in scoring defense.
Now, with the departure of offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, Wisconsin faces a similar decision, and all reports indicate Bret Bielema will once again stay in-house in filling the position.. Chryst's tenure at Wisconsin has been overwhelmingly successful, so expectations for whomever is selected to replace him will be very high. Two names that have been mentioned in regard to such a promotion are tight ends coach Joe Rudolph and offensive line coach and running game coordinator Bob Bostad.
To me, Bostad is the obvious choice. Under his watch, the Badgers have turned out 11 all-Big Ten offensive linemen in just five seasons. The running game, always a strength for the Badgers, has never been better than it is now. Wisconsin centers its gameplans around being able to successfully run the ball, so its important that Bostad is accountable week in and week out. The results during Bostad's time here, especially during the last two seasons, have been overwhelmingly positive.
Bostad has a long track record of success. Before coming to Wisconsin, he coached very successful offensive lines at New Mexico and San Jose State from 1997 to 2005. He also acted as offensive coordinator at San Jose State in 1998. That, combined with his long track record of success as a position coach, leads me to believe experience shouldn't be an issue. Bostad is ready for this job, and it looks like Chryst might try to lure him to Pittsburgh and give him the offensive coordinator job there. This shouldn't be a tough decision for Barry Alvarez and Bret Bielema.
As expected, Chryst said he wants to stay with Wisconsin to coach the Rose Bowl.
He was introduced at Pittsburgh yesterday.
For what it's worth, this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer believes Chryst is a good fit at Pittsburgh.
Highly regarded quarterback prospect Bart Houston chose Wisconsin in part because of Chryst. He's still a Badger.
The mayor of Eugene, Ore., and Madison mayor Paul Soglin have a personal bet on the Rose Bowl.
In cased you missed it yesterday, here's a look at what the Badgers might be wearing Jan. 2.
In hoops news, the Badgers take on Mississippi State in a final non-conference tune-up before the Big Ten season begins.
Check out Chuck's mid-season WCHA awards here.