Badger Bits: Wisconsin's new offensive coordinator comes highly recommended

I'm so sorry this isn't about basketball. We're now 17 days post-football and I haven't been able to let go of the season just yet, which is too bad because the Badgers finally shot the lights out of the gym, and it has been awfully fun to watch them troll Ken Pomeroy's rankings. KenPom is one of the more neat things about college basketball, but even I blush seeing Wisconsin ranked that high.

I want to talk more about Canada, whose announcement as the Badgers' new offensive coordinator was met with tepid enthusiasm at best. His offenses at Indiana were middling, and it is difficult to weigh his effect on NIU's 11th-ranked offense considering he was there only one season. Still, you can't say there is anything particularly bad on his resume either. So-so record + no big programs = "eh" gut reaction.

What he does have, and what has increased my general optimism for a guy who couldn't get away from Indiana for six years, is well-vetted approval. Thomas Hammock played under him as a running backs at NIU 12 years ago. Dave Doeren was no doubt consulted, and gave his approval publicly along with NIU's head coach from 1996 to 2007 Joe Novak. Chandler Harnish, Canada's quarterback at NIU this season, had nothing but exemplary things to say before the Huskies' bowl game:

"He has taken me to the next level. He has helped me read coverages, lead a team ... both on and off the field and just bring it every day. He has taught me a lot of nuances and small intricacies of the game that I would have never learned elsewhere."

For those keeping score, that's two generations of former players and former bosses who are willing to go to bat for Canada (I'm admittedly putting words in Hammock's mouth), not to mention Bret Bielema's own litmus test. From a more visceral standpoint, he's one windbreaker away from being Bielema. Suddenly a move that seemed so out of the blue makes sense.

Thursday's Links

If it is possible to be too close to a situation, and outside perception truly is everything, then Pre Snap Read lets us know that we should have nothing to worry about.

But Wisconsin should be patient, because Canada really is the best Wisconsin could do in this situation. He's no Chryst, but few are; he's also been a spread guy in the past, run-heavy with the Huskies and pass-heavy at Indiana. Canada has still been through the ringer, has Big Ten experience and a solid relationship with Bielema, not to mention the backing of those Wisconsin's head coach truly trusts. And he's passed Bielema's own eyeball test, which might matter most of all.

Basketball recap via the Journal Sentinel. The Badgers went 12-for-23 behind the arc at the Kohl Center last night.

There is no plan to raise ticket prices for the three major sports programs, though the athletic department's operating budget is still being hashed out.

Zach Azzanni holds a soft spot in his heart for Jared Abbrederis. "Azzy and Abby" should be a TV show starting tomorrow.

More from Jeff Potrykus on the Badgers' two new offensive coaches.

More on Andy Buh, who is reportedly set to become the Badger's new linebackers coach though nothing has been formally announced as of yet. Buh spent the last two years as defensive coordinator at his alma mater Nevada, and three seasons before that as co-defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. If anything, his hire indicates most of all the wide net Bielema was willing to cast.

Jon Budmayr is throwing once again following his setback, and is at roughly 85-90 percent according to Bielema.

Andy Baggot rails against the Big Ten's plan to have the hockey regular season champion host the conference tournament on two weeks notices

Women's hockey moves back to No. 1 after Minnesota split with Minnesota-Duluth this past weekend..

A friendly reminder of who's set to participate in All-Star bowls in the coming days and weeks: Aaron Henry will take part in the East-West Shrine Game coming up on Jan. 21, Patrick Butrym will appear in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on the same day, while Russell Wilson, Nick Toon, Kevin Zeitler, Bradie Ewing, Brad Nortman and Kyle Wojta take over the Jan. 28 Senior Bowl.

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