Badger Bits: Bret Bielema Doubles Down

Sept. 8, 2012; Corvallis, OR, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bert Bielema leads the Badgers into Reser Stadium to play against the Oregon State Beavers. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-US PRESSWIRE

Coaches don't usually get fired just two weeks into a season unless booze or an escapade with another man's spouse is involved, but after hunting for rumors I have been unable to find any dirt on Mike Markuson. The man is seemingly squeaky clean, and even gave a rather polite exit interview with Sirius XM for a man newly out of a job. Instead, Bret Bielema made a cold calculation: His team was better right now with Markuson somewhere other than the sideline.

The decision will prove to be an indictment of something, either Markuson's coaching ability or Bielema's decision-making.

This weekend may be the most highly scrutinized offensive line performance in history. The swift removal suggests that Markuson's teaching methods and the techniques he taught were a direct detriment to the unit. If that's the case, we could and perhaps should see significantly improved play against Utah State. And we may. Players certainly seem pleased with the changeover to Bart Miller.

I'm skeptical, and for no other reason than it seems unlikely that any position group can make wholesale improvement in a week's time. It's purely a gut thing, because I sure as hell don't know anything about playing or teaching offensive line, and I'm about one-third the size of the Badgers' beefiest road graders. But I have to imagine that playing the position is part being bigger, badder and stronger on top of technique. If we didn't see a push against Northern Iowa and Oregon State, can we reasonably expect to bowl over Utah State because a more hands-on coach is in charge?

I've always felt that coaches had it rough, because what happened on the field didn't necessarily reflect on them. To be a coach you have to be ready to accept blame for every bad bounce, bad call and/or less-talented group of players under your command. This Saturday we'll have the rare chance to empirically see, up close, the effect a coach has on his troops. It'd be kind of exciting if I wasn't nauseous.

Thursday's Links

Matthew Hinton equates firing an offensive line coach to letting go a new regional branch manager. I still feel sick.

Here's some hate from Jesse Collins at OTE.

Matt Canada isn't giving Mike Markuson a second thought.

More optimism from players about Bart Miller and Tuesday's reportedly hard-hitting practice.

If you're willing to scroll down a bit, there's some good stuff here on the differences in technique between Makuson and Bostad. Here's a YouTube clip to remind you what we're going back to.

Brendan Kelly hopes to play this weekend coming off his hamstring injury.

Wisconsin really, REALLY, needs to stop playing plucky underdogs.

New 2013 commitment! Troy Fumagalli is a two-star tight end who earned interest around the Big Ten but didn't receive an offer until Wisconsin came knocking. But he's 6'6, 225 pounds and will probably be great.

Dave Heller's weekly run/pass breakdown.

Wisconsin is a dumpster fire.

So is the rest of Big Ten.

A.J. Jordan has a bright future if he really takes every dropped pass this seriously.

Land-Grant Holy-Land responds the right way to Notre Dame joining the ACC.

Wrapping up: Read 'This Week In Schadenfreude' and take your lumps.

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