Badger Bits: New assistant coaches bring plenty of coordinating experience

Bret Bielema's new-look coaching staff is full of assistants with coordinating experience.

Bret Bielema had an unprecedented amount of staff turnover this offseason with six assistants leaving to take their coaching talents elsewhere. With news of the hire of Eddie Faulkner as tight ends coach coming yesterday, Bielema's new staff is complete.

It's clear coordinating experience was one of the main criteria Bielema was looking for during the hiring process, as five of the six new coaches have at least one season of coordinating experience on their resumes. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada has seven (at Butler, Northern Illinois and Indiana), linebackers coach Andy Buh has four (Stanford, Nevada), offensive line coach Mike Markuson has three (Alabama A&M, Boise State, Ole Miss), Faulkner has two (Ball State) and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni has one (Western Kentucky). Only safeties coach

With a total of 17 years of coordinating experience entering the fold, Bielema's new staff is full of seasoned coaching veterans. It's tough to argue with his reasoning: when there are a lot of new faces around, it seems prudent that they have the experience and patience to deal with what will undoubtedly be a more-chaotic-than-usual offseason. Bielema also said that he looked for coaches that have a desire to move up in the ranks. Who better to do so than a group of guys that have already tasted what it's like at the second-highest level of coaching in college football?

Bielema was given a real test this offseason. Filling six assistant coaching vacancies is no small task, but he did an admirable job finding guys that matched a smart, specific criteria. We won't be sure how successful the new staff is for at least several months, but the initial results look good.

Football Links

SI's Andy Staples re-ranked the recruiting class of 2009, with the Badgers coming in at No. 10 thanks largely to Montee Ball and Chris Borland.

Three new Badgers are included in Phil Steele's rankings of the top 250 incoming freshman.

Tom Oates says barring any scandal, the Big Ten's traditional powers are back.

The Badgers came in second in the ESPN Big Ten duo's ranking of the conference's top receiving corps.

Hoops Links

Wisconsin slipped from No. 19 to No. 21 in the latest AP poll. Here's how individual voters ranked the Badgers.

The Badgers' only game this week is on the road, on which they're 7-2, against Minnesota.

Say what you will about Jordan Taylor (I know I have), but Bo Ryan says he's handling his numbers dropping off very well.

Ryan knows his team "can't survive on (being) average" for the rest of the team. Highly recommended.

The Badgers are at the top of Joe Lunardi's list of teams with head-scratching NCAA tournament resumes. (Insider subscription required)

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