Just when you thought it was all over, another assistant coach has left the Badgers. This time it's DeMontie Cross, who spent a year as the Badgers' special teams coordinator and safeties coach. Cross is leaving to join Charlie Weiss' staff at Kansas as the Jayhawks' linebackers coach, his natural position and the role he had for four years with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.
Cross' departure isn't likely to have the same kind of impact as losing Paul Chryst, Bob Bostad, or Joe Rudolph, as the Badgers' special teams were inconsistent at best last season. The Badgers ranked 81st in the nation in kickoff coverage, allowing their opponents just over 22 yards per return. They also allowed 7.67 yards on punt returns, which was tied for 59th in the country. After just a year on the Badgers' staff, it's not a stretch to assume Cross might not have been retained anyway.
This would seem like a good opportunity for the Badgers to bring in an experienced special teams coach, but according to Jeff Potrykus the Badgers are planning on splitting the special teams responsibilities in 2012. The Badgers are apparently planning on hiring just a safeties coach to replace Cross.
Cross' departure means Bret Bielema has another coaching position to fill, after five other assistants left for various reasons following the 2011 season. After hiring Matt Canada and Zach Azzanni to coach the quarterbacks and wide receivers, the Badgers are still looking for coaches for the offensive line, tight ends, and safeties. Rumors are swirling that Nevada defensive coordinator Andy Buh will come on to coach the linebackers, but an announcement isn't expected until February.