When transitioning from a man who's been coaching since 1983, to a 27-year old graduate assistant beginning his first coaching gig, you expect some serious struggles. But during the first practice with new offensive line coach Bart Miller, the Badgers claim they had one of their best practices of the year.
The articles by Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal both touch on the players' excitement surrounding the coaching change and how they're ready to redeem themselves on the field. I understand it's just one practice, but no players stood up for Mike Markuson or said they were upset over the coaching change. Instead, they are excited for Miller to step in and to revert back to the "Wisconsin way" of playing offensive line.
"I asked the [offensive linemen] about the change and about what [Miller] said," Montee Ball said. "They said they love it. And whatever they love, I love."
"If it brings their energy level up, I'm comfortable with it."
Offensive lineman Ricky Wagner spoke about Miller's first words to the unit as its new coach:
"The first couple things [Miller] said, he explained the situation," Wagner said. "He wanted to get through to us, we’re going to be the O-line of the past couple years here. We still have all of the skills, we have the same personnel, we’ve just got to show it."
As Tom Mulhern pointed out, Tuesday's great practice may have been a result of the Badgers' eagerness to avenge last week's ugly loss rather than the coaching change, but it's still a good sign.
Look out for Utah State this weekend. The Aggies are 2-0, coming off a huge win over archrival Utah.
BTN's predictions for every B1G game this weekend. They see Bucky in a close battle with Utah State.
Unfortunately, it looks like it'll be another tough year on the national scene for the Big Ten.
A Big Ten poll says Wisconsin is the Big Ten team that should be panicking the most at this point.