The rumors surfaced last night, and Bret Bielema confirmed them late Tuesday afternoon: offensive line coach Bob Bostad will leave Wisconsin's coaching staff for a position at Pittsburgh with Paul Chryst. It was widely expected that Chryst would try to bring some fellow assistants with him as he takes over a Panthers program that was recently jilted by new Arizona State head coach Todd Graham, and he succeeded in bringing his good friend Bostad aboard.
"Bob Bostad will be joining Paul at Pitt," Bielema said in a press release. "I wish them both the best and I am sure they will be successful, as they are both tremendous people and coaches."
In addition, Bielema announced that tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Joe Rudolph would take over the offensive line for Bostad, and that no other promotions or hirings would be announced until after the Rose Bowl.
"Obviously there will be transition on our staff, as Paul and Joe have been an important part of our success," Bielema said. "Joe Rudolph will move from coaching tight ends to coaching the offensive line. All other staff changes and hiring will be announced after the Rose Bowl."
It's an interesting move, as many expected Rudolph to fill Chryst's shoes as the Badgers' offensive coordinator, if Rudolph stayed at Wisconsin and Bostad left for Pitt with Chryst. The press release did not rule out Rudolph as a possibility for the open coordinator spot, but it might show that Bielema wants to take his time filling the position. Running backs coach Thomas Hammock is also an option for the job, given his experience as an interim coordinator, and Bielema might want to take more time after the bowl game to do a proper interview process. It could also mean that Bielema is thinking of hiring someone from the outside to be his new coordinator, but he's previously stated his preference to hire from within.
For right now, Rudolph's move to the offensive line coaching position makes sense. Bostad made the same move from tight ends coach to offensive line coach a few years ago, and it's safe to say that worked out well for the Badgers. We'll see if Rudolph keeps his job as the recruiting coordinator even with an expanded role, but it's doubtful he would keep the title if he does indeed succeed Chryst as the offensive coordinator.
As far as recruiting goes, Chryst and Bostad's departures might not have much impact. Neither of the two are regarded as excellent recruiters, but the absence of Bostad could give someone like four-star offensive line commit Kyle Dodson an extra reason to switch his commitment. Newly appointed Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has reportedly not given up on Dodson, a native of Cleveland, Ohio. Keeping Rudolph is a big plus in this sense, as he is regarded as one of the Big Ten's best recruiters.
One thing is for sure, though - it's all about football from now until Jan. 2, when the Badgers will take on the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl. Bret Bielema and the Badgers can worry about who will take what position when the time is right, but for now those thoughts will be put on hold.
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