Badger Bits: Off the deep end

Wisconsin's offensive line struggled mightily Saturday, as the Badgers gained just 35 yards on the ground. Line coach Mike Markuson was fired Sunday after just two days on the job.

Wisconsin let go of offensive line coach Mike Markuson on Sunday after just two--TWO--games on the job. He brought what seemed like a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position having spent 14 years at Ole Miss and Arkansas having real success developing offensive linemen. Now he's out the door and the reason seems clear. The Badgers managed just 35 yards rushing against what was, and perhaps still is expected to be a woeful Oregon State defense.

Whether anything else precipitated the move--a post-game spat between Bret Bielema and Markuson, Markuson and players, Markuson and a brick wall--is unclear. Normally coaches, even the very worst of them, are given a chance to finish out their first season unless there are extenuating circumstances. Then again, Wisconsin's proud offensive line tradition has been besmirched in ways I would have thought impossible. Bielema will speak at his scheduled press conference today. He will say nothing.

Bart Miller is now ostensibly in charge of the unit after a brief stint as the offense's quality control coordinator. He is sort of a Bob Bostad disciple, having played under Wisconsin's former O-line coach at New Mexico. Miller is scant on coaching experience, however. He spent last year as a graduate assistant at UNM. The year before he was in the Chicago Blackhawks front office doing something.

If an incident happened that meant that Markuson NEEDED to go, then that's fine. If this is purely performance based, then color me worried. Not that I'll be sad to see the man leave after the line's performance the past two weeks, but if this a sign of internal conflict amongst the staff and the players then Wisconsin faces an even more difficult task righting the ship.

This is bad. Bad bad bad.

Unhappy Links:

Jeff Potrykus calls the decision to fire Markuson the biggest in Bielema's career.

Wisconsin drops down to the Gator Bowl in the Big Ten Blog's bowl projections.

They would probably be lower in most years, but the Big Ten is pretty awful.

Jeff Potrykus post-game notes from the 10-7 loss.

Badgers Roundtable breaks down the ugliness.

Shelton Johnsons is out "indefinitely" with a broken arm. No word yet on Jared Abbrederis.

Danny O'Brien blames himself for a large part of the Badgers' offensive struggles.

Wide receivers do little with Abbrederis out.

Matt Hinton points out just how far Wisconsin has fallen compared to their last two seasons.

Paul Myerberg called the game "the day's worst loss."

Wisconsin's stock is somehow holding in OTE's weekly stock-trading thought exercise.

At least funny tweets are still funny.

Texas A&M finds two more national titles and two more conference titles just laying around somewhere.

Russell Wilson looked solid, but fell just short on the Seahawks' comeback drive Sunday. Also, Bill Simmons heaps a ridiculous amount of praise on Russ.

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